Varsity Volleyball team prepare for Tab challenge

first_imgWhat do you get when you achieve a perfect balance between aggression and control, between bluff and power, between swallow-dives to the floor and leaps to the net? Indoor volleyball, that’s what. On Saturday 9th February the Varsity Volleyball matches will be held. I could rhapsodise about the elegance of a quick attack, the satisfaction of setting up a stuff block, the exhilaration of seeing the defender fling themselves forward to pick up a ball, but why bother? Go and watch one of the most exciting sporting events of the year. The men’s dark blue side has a tough task ahead of them, having been beaten by Cambridge twice this year. However, it’s noticeable that when the Tabs are feeling threatened, they lose their nerve and roll easy shots into court. If Oxford can apply some early pressure, the blood will be in the water. According to captain Billy Hwang, “Sure, Cambridge have a good team, but they’re mentally weak. We can take them”. For the women, Oxford has one of the strongest teams we’ve ever seen. Their defence is rock-solid, led by Hannah Ruddick (playing for team GB) while their offence benefits from some highly experienced players. Watch out for waif-like captain Jana Orszaghova, who employs a vicious line-shot. Middle Rebekka Ott has been selected for English Unis, so keep an eye on her too. Volleyball may be a minority sport in the UK, but the Oxford club is doing its best to change that. They run a popular indoor league and a second team which is open to all students. Last year they won the Outreach club award and they’ve just received Clubmark accreditation. They’ve moved on from Deloitte as main sponsor and established ties with volleyball-mad Russia through sponsorship from Delight 2000. Recognising the massive over-crowding at Iffley, the club recently signed a contract with an Oxford school to supply coaching and equipment in return for hall rental. Finally, the club wants to build on a third-place finish at last year’s student beach cup, by working to build a beach volleyball court. If you’re going to come watch the game, here’s a few tips. A point can be won when either serving or receiving. To win, a team has to win three sets, but the fifth set is to 15 rather than 25 points. Every once in a while the referee will stop play and hold up his palm or two fingers. That means a player didn’t get a clean contact with the ball. They’ve either held and thrown it (open palm) or touched it twice (two fingers). The referee is helped by the second ref who checks for net-touches (any nettouch means a point to the opposition) and the line-judges (flag up if the ball went out, down if it went in). On both teams there’ll be one person with a different-coloured shirt. They’re the libero or defensive specialist (like Hannah), who replaces a tall gangly person good at hitting with a fast person who’s good at scooping up balls from all over the court. Each team is divided into three front-court and three back-court players, who rotate round when the team wins the service. If a player is back-court and they want to attack, they have to jump three metres away from the net. That doesn’t stop back-court specialist Darek Nehrebecki. You’ll see the middle attack run a bluff, trying to pull the blockers with him. Then, as the blockers return to earth, the ball goes out to Darek who’ll drill the ball through the resulting gap. Poetry in action. That’s what volleyball is all Paul Swiftlast_img read more

Walkers’ ray of sunshine

first_imgWalkers is aiming to boost the profile of its SunBites brand with a new flavour and on-pack promotion in the New Year.The Sun Ripened Sweet Chilli flavour has been picked in response to consumer trials and will be available in standard 28g packs. Launched in September 2007, the brand is now worth over £17m.Walkers is launching a ’Little Rays of Sunshine’ on-pack promotion, to be run across all packs including Sun Ripened Sweet Chilli. It offers consumers a one in five chance of winning one of a range of prizes, from manicures to weekends in Tuscany.Kirk Tanner, Walkers VP Impulse UK & Ireland, said: “Crisps, snacks and nuts are critical to the impulse trade and, as part of our continued commitment to supporting impulse retailers and growing the category, we have developed this exciting activity on one of our leading better-for-you brands.”A new 18-count single-serve SRP (shelf-ready packaging) case of the leading flavour, Sour Cream and Cracked Black Pepper has also been developed for impulse retailers.[]last_img read more