There is a new format to national competition for juniors in England this season, which doubles the number of trophies and by allowing entrants to designate their teams' standard as 'Tier One' or 'Tier Two' should reduce the chances of one-sided matches. Moreover, pool results divide 'Tier One' teams into gold, silver and bronze standards. That this format is a success is clear from the number of entrants, with a good share coming from the nation's capital.
The opening games for the under 16-year-old players took place over the past weekend. Five teams entered-one of whom were London Giants. London Giants Boys' U16s featured in the Wessex pool, a long-standing centre of excellence for young volleyball players, where they had to compete against three other teams. In respect to some absence, they finished as runner-up, thus placing at the top of the silver pool for the next round.
London Giants Volleyball Club U16 and U18 Male Team coach, Mary said, “The London Giants’ Under 16s were very enthusiastic for this day. We have faced some challenges that we have been able to overcome, thanks to the flexibility and skills of our players that they have been able to demonstrate due to covering for injured and absent players.”
Many more girls’ teams had entered Tier Two than One. One of the pools in Tier Two featured London Giants, where they were competing against three other London-based teams. This Tier Two pool featured London Giants, Onyx Echo, Willesden Divas and London Lynx. While the first game was lost on the girls' side, their determination remained until the very end, where all games were very close. Despite losing the first game (1-2), London Giants Girls’ U16 Team won every other game they faced and finished their pool at the top.
Tier Two seems to have worked well and London Giants U16 and U18 Female coach Elisabetta Bottaro reported, “We started off the competition with a game that we lost very narrowly. However, we managed to get our head in the game and work together as a team and eventually managed to win every other game. I am extremely proud of the girls and look forward to further competitions.”