Castle Manor under 15s Volleyball team is celebrating finishing 5th in England at the weekend after a remarkable season culminating with the National finals at Kettering last Saturday. The squad of 12, only formed in September, only came 3rd in the Suffolk competition last December. Mr Rob Dovaston, head of PE and coach of the team saw enough potential in that competition to enter them in the National competition. After coming through rounds against teams from across the eastern region, they were pitted against London Lynx, EBC Greenhouse and Newcastle Staffs.

In the first game against EBC the boys held their own, with strong serving from Mikey Cozzi and a fine mixture of sets from Captain Kacper Wiligorski. The opposition however had too much fire power and the boys went down 25-18, 25-19. There was no time to rest on their laurels as they were on court immediately again versus London area champions, London Lynx, who fielded 2 England juniors. From the off the lads, well supported by a vocal army of parents, put their all into defending both at the net and in the back court. One block by Idriss Lebbie on their England middle hitter will long live in the memory of those present, the ball almost making a dent in the floor! Great float serving from Connor Wiseman, and clever hitting from Ethan Valente saw the lads record a 25-22, 25-23 victory. In the final group game, a victory would see them into the semi-finals, but the opponents Newcastle Staffs are an excellent outfit. In both sets CMA held the lead, and it was 12-12 in both sets, but the side fell unstuck to one particular server, who made the ball dart all over the place and at real pace. The defence, ably led by libero Toros Yagir scrapped until the last point, but it wasn’t to be, final score 25-18, 25-19. Based on points difference, 5th was the final ranking position. The boy’s season won’t finish there. They have another game in Frinton soon, and will continue to train towards not only the Suffolk crown, but also the chance to compete at national level again. Mr Dovaston said “A great outcome from the lad’s hard work, dedication [we trained on several Saturdays] and the desire to always get better and never give in. Many thanks to training kit sponsors, Dellar Sports Coaching, the tops allowed the boys to look really professional on the day.”