Two Kinross boys, Mark Cathro and Mitchell Brown have been selected to play for the Scotland under 20s men’s team in Cyprus this coming Easter weekend. The boys who started their volleyball with Kinross Boys’ Brigade when they were 10 years old have progressed through the ranks of the Perth District League, East Regional League and finally in the Scottish National League with City of Edinburgh.
During the past 17 months the squad of 24 youngsters trained monthly for the first 14 months, then through two four day Christmas camps and into the start of 2016. At this point numbers were cut to 19 for the Power League phase of preparations, where two teams were created to compete with two senior men’s teams. The Power League fixtures were excellent in providing the opportunity for high level matches to the young athletes trying to book their place to the finals in Cyprus. The benefits of all those sessions with the coaching team were highlighted as the standard of performance was consistently excellent, with many close sets being played out.
After the final Power League fixture on 28th February, the names of the players in the final selection were announced. Making the final selection is always a difficult exercise for everyone involved with the programme, but it is also an unavoidable aspect of performance sport. There are congratulations due to those who have been successful, and commiserations to those who have missed out, but Scottish Volleyball is all the better for the efforts made by players and staff alike in the build-up programme, and in particular in the outstanding Power League.
The final twelve selected players will carry the responsibility of showcasing Scottish Volleyball in Cyprus and working to achieve the targets set by the whole squad at the Christmas Camp. The players who have been selected recognize this, and over the remaining practice sessions will continue to work hard to add the final polish before heading off to face the challenge of International Sport.
The Scotland team find themselves in pool B of the Small Nations’ Championships opening against San Marino and then playing Luxembourg, both on 1st April. Pool A features host nation Cyprus along with Northern Ireland and the Faroe Islands. There will be cross-pool play-offs on Saturday 2nd April with the semi-finals and final being played on Sunday 2nd April.