Volleyballers still determined to have fun

By Jared Smith

Whanganui's Ray Eru looks to block Stratford's Jen Busby at Jubilee Stadium yesterday.
Whanganui's Ray Eru looks to block Stratford's Jen Busby at Jubilee Stadium yesterday.

Limitation has invited adaptation at Jubilee Stadium as the New Zealand Masters Games's indoor volleyball module got underway yesterday.

Like many team sports across the NZMG landscape, numbers have noticeably trickled down, with volleyball co-ordinator Miles Johnson expressing his sympathy for the organisers as it seemed other interests, both locally and nationally, had diverted attentions from the event.

He had arranged the draw around 15 teams, who will be split into three grades - A to C - for mixed teamas as there were not enough to separate divisions, especially women.

"We've only had one team come up from Wellington," Johnson said.

"[But] I only know of one team that's not coming because of the World Masters."

Mainstays like Black Out - multiple medal winners in the past - are absent this time around.

However, Johnson said they had decided to keep the format of three days of competition, with the round robin concluding today and the playoffs tomorrow.

This was because the regular teams who attend the Masters still liked to play for three days, and so they had increased the time limit of matches to 60 minutes and included a 10 minute warmup period on court - decisions which were not possible in previous years with more squads and games to get through.

"We've done the draw based on three days because we've got enough teams to do it."

Like most of the sports based at Jubilee and Springvale - which was the traditional site of the 'tent village' headquarters until the move to War Memorial Centre this year - there was a notable lack of vibrancy from the past where competitors could go hang out in between games with a beverage and other activities to watch.

"Obviously there's a bit of a disappointment from some of the punters with the atmosphere we used to have over here," said Johnson.

"But we're quite happy making our own."

One team eager to get into the swing of things was defending A Grade champions, Sparta Masters, who had made the trip up from Wellington to maintain their crown.

The last final is expected to begin at 3.20pm tomorrow.

Volleyball grades
A Grade: Sparta Masters, CHI, Low Jumpers

B Grade: Just the Tip, Mad Frogs, We Take Ugly, Stratford Scrappers, Iron Alley, Bullets, John Hall Jnrs, Ol' Doggs.

C Grade: Lots of Fun, Manvillains, Misters and Mrs, The Unexplained.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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