THIS year at the London Olympics, British teams will compete with the elite of volleyball for the first time as host nation.
The UK has never before been exposed to the highest level of this sport which is said that behind football, is the largest sport in the world.
But why is this relevant in the Motherwell Times or Bellshill Speaker?
Volleyball was totally unknown in Scotland before the sixties, until the late Jimmy Hogg, head of PE at Dalziel High School, saw the sport on a foreign trip and introduced it into his curriculum. The rest is history.
Ronnie Hamliton, formerly of Motherwell and Dalziel High School, became the best player in Scotland and when he moved south for a job and became the top player for the top English side of the day.
The late sixties brought forth a wealth of people who would not only play the sport but would be influential in its development in Scotland.
For example, from the Dalziel HS boys’ team who won the first ever Scottish Schools Cup in 1968, many went on to play at the highest level but also did as follows:
lJohn Lyle – full international player and then coach to ladies’ national team.
lRobert Stokes – coach to ladies’ national team.
lIan Dyett – National League player for 20 years, coach and the first international referee in the UK.
lDanny Stevenson – National League player and assistant coach to men’s national team.
lIan Maxwell – national team player and the most accomplished administrator in the sport.
The ladies were not to be outdone and under the guidance of the then PE teacher at Dalziel and Motherwell footballer Davie Whiteford, they dominated the schools’ game.
In a full senior international Scotland v England match at Bellahouston in the early seventies a unique situation arose. The Scotland starting first six were not only Dalziel FPs but they were all from within a one mile radius of each other;
Twins Ann and Alison Crawford, their younger sister Marion (the team captain) and Jess Holcombe were all from New Stevenston, whilst Pamela Harrison and Fiona Glenn were from Cleekhimin.
Kenny Anderson, ex Dalziel High and a current Motherwell resident, also played for Dalziel Volleyball Club, and DV81 as they became, and for Scotland 70 times and along with Ronnie Hamilton would be regarded as the most accomplished players of their generation.
Many others from Dalziel High and the Motherwell area have been influential in the sport’s development.
John French produced many schools and junior internationalists from Brannock High and is currently national ladies’ team coach, whilst a similar job was done by Stan Grant at Glasgow University, Jimmy Sinclair at Bishopbriggs High, Danny Stevenson in Renfrewshire and Bobby Ralston at Whitburn Academy.
Alison Freeland (nee Crawford) and Ian Dyett are on the organising committee for a reunion event on Saturday, May 19, which will bring together people from all over Scotland and beyond who were involved in the sport during the sixties, seventies and eighties.
This is unlikely ever to happen again and whilst they have tried to contact everyone they can think of they would love to hear from anyone they have missed.
lDetails of the event can be found on the Scottish Volleyball Association website - www.scottishvolleyball.org - or via Ian Dyett on 01698 252613.