The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Pushing ahead


Amajority endorsemen­t from regional affiliates has given Volleyball Horsham the confidence to push ahead and host the 51st Victorian Country Volleyball Championsh­ips next month.

At an online Zoom meeting with key administra­tors from the 11 affiliates, all bar one were keen to continue with their preparatio­ns for the time-honored event, pending COVID-19 circumstan­ces.

Volleyball Victoria president Sunraysia’s Paul Freckleton set the tone for the meeting when he said that his board would continue to support the event.

“While there is still a chance, no matter how small that chance may be, it is the view of the Volleyball Victoria board to support the event as much as possible,” he said.

The championsh­ips were originally scheduled for the June long weekend in Horsham, but the snap lockdown at that time meant the event could not proceed.

A meeting of the championsh­ip commission then fully endorsed the event to be on AFL grand final weekend, September 24-26, because it was important to have the event over a long weekend and maintain its integrity.

Affiliates were well into their preparatio­ns before last week’s snap lockdown for regional Victoria, with all having started their winter season and in full training mode.

But this latest lockdown has caused concerns, especially with division-one teams. A two-week forced break would only leave three weeks to prepare for what is normally a massive weekend of volleyball. Latrobe Valley long-time coach Aaron Magnusson was concerned there would not be enough time to prepare his players for the demands of a championsh­ip weekend.

“A three-day weekend full of five-set matches is going to cause injuries to players and the quality of matches. A creative draw or threeset matches and maybe five-set matches for the grand final would allow a stronger quality of performanc­e from players and less risk of injury,” he said.

South Gippsland’s Jess Sanders was more than happy for her associatio­n to continue with its preparatio­ns.

“The greatest appeal for associatio­ns to play in the country championsh­ips is the ability to play best-of-five-set matches,” she said.

Bairnsdale’s Rodney Jarvis was fully supportive of the event proceeding on AFL grand final weekend and did not want to entertain a change of date.

“It would be difficult for Bairnsdale to participat­e in a two-day weekend. A three-day event is much better for us from a travel perspectiv­e,” he said.

Volleyball Horsham has received great support for the event, both from a participan­t and community perspectiv­e, with seven teams ready to play and the financial security of the event achieved.

A hard-working and dedicated band of volunteers has poured in a great deal of time and effort to get to this point and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that the event will go ahead and not fall victim to the current COVID-19 conditions.

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