A quartet of young volleyball players are jumping for joy after being selected to represent the South West in a prestigious regional tournament this bank holiday weekend.
The four Ridgway School pupils will be lining up in various South West squads against teams from each region in the UK and Ireland, after excelling on a volleyball coaching course run by Swindon Borough Council.
Harry Longmore, George Longmore, Alastair Moxham and Amy Connaghan wil be at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering for the Inter Regional Volleyball tournament.
All four have been honing their volleyball skills after receiving expert coaching from Level 3 volleyball coach and ex-GB player Kelly Jones over the last few years.
Kelly, who is one of Swindon Council’s community sports coaches, has been coaching the youngsters since their primary school days in Wroughton Junior School and is thrilled to see their talent being recognised on a national stage.
“They have progressed massively,” said Kelly. “George is now playing for England and they all come down to Devizes every weekend to do extra coaching, they probably train for about five hours a week.
“It is a fantastic achievement to have four representatives at regional level and just shows how much talent we have in Swindon.”
Year 12 student Harry took up volleyball after his younger brother George and is delighted to be lining up alongside him in the Under 17 South West team. “It (Volleyball) is completely different to any other sport,” explained the 17-year-old. “In volleyball everybody in the team needs to be aware of where everybody is and it is a very technical sport.”
George, 15, started playing volleyball as part of an after-school club at Wroughton Junior School and has represented England at Under 17 level. “I love volleyball and I want to go as high as I can and that would mean playing for Great Britain. You can play professionally in most other countries, apart from here, which is a shame.”
George is one of only 12 players who have been selected to be part of the England Beach Training Squad that will be competing in international events abroad this summer. He is also part of the England indoor volleyball programme.
Sixteen-year-old Amy has been selected for the Under 16 girls’ team, while Alastair will represent the Under 15 age group. All four players have earned their places following eight months’ of training with the South West squad.
Such has been the success of Kelly’s volleyball sessions at Ridgeway, the school is now looking to introduce it to earlier age groups.
“In Swindon there are more boys playing than girls, but we’re hoping that will even out,” said Kelly, whose post is part-funded by the Community Initiative Fund from Swindon Town Football Club. “I do coaching at quite a few schools and it’s great that the Ridgeway players have received this recognition as it will hopefully inspire some of our younger players.”
To find out more about volleyball coaching in Swindon contact Kelly at: email@example.com
Pictured above, from left to right: Kelly Jones, Amy Connaghan, George Longmore, Alastair Moxham and Harry Longmore