Whitby’s Eva excels in UK School Games

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Caedmon College student and volleyball star Eva Elias returned to Whitby with the brightest of smiles after stealing the show at the 2014 UK School Games.

Eva had gone down with a sense of apprehension due to the change in the arrangements for the volleyball.

In what has proven to be yet another divisive move by the governing body of volleyball, EVA cut the regional programme - this is after already cutting the funding for the county teams.

Sadly this means that grass roots volleyball has been drastically scaled back.

The aim by the governing body is to use the majority of their funding to develop an elite tier of players.

Eva struck a blow for equal opportunities with her performance in Manchester in what turned out to be a bizarre tournament. The governing body sent the England Cadets and Juniors in place of the regional teams so in reality less school players actually got to experience what is a fantastic occasion.

They wanted to set up a confidence-boosting victory for the juniors before they play the likes of The Faroe Islands in an international tournament.

Anthopy Laffan of North Riding Eagles said: “To get selected for the junior programme, you have to now be a certain height and it also helps if you attend one of the academies they have set up.

“In reality, the best of these academies are private colleges charging thousands of pounds in tuition and accommodation fees.

“So the Cadets who have not yet reached the junior age and faced the current selection process went down, feeling they were merely there to act as cannon fodder for the England Junior team.

“What unfolded was what makes sport so enthralling - nobody told the Scots what the script was.”

The Scottish Volleyball Association maintained their regional programme and sent the same teams down as they always do to take part in the mini-Olympics that is The UK School Games.

So Scottish regional sides representing the East and West of the country came down to proudly play against the English national teams - and then the drama unfolded.

The England juniors lined up to face Scotland West towering over the Scottish girls who, while limited in experience compared to the juniors, did not lack for passion and had the bigger hearts in the match that was to unfold.

In the opening set, the English establishment were stunned as West Scotland won but by the second set it looked like the predicted script was being followed.

At 22-10 it seemed impossible for England to lose, but they did, 26-24.

Suddenly the games were alive and watching and taking note of the England juniors defeat Whitby’s Eva, an intelligent and skilful player.

“Eva is an honest, hard-working girl who has always been encouraged to do her best and battle on by her family, teachers and volleyball team North Riding Eagles,” said Anthony.

Eva took the fight to the England juniors and from her serving statistics it reads across the sets that she scored 26 consecutive points, which is stunning form.

“This is the equivalent in football to getting 26 free-kicks, putting in 26 Beckham-style quality deliveries into the box and watching as some go directly into the back of the net others are deflected in and the rest cause such chaos that the opposition score the bulk via own goals,” Anthony added.

“It is no wonder that Eva is still grinning.

“For a national side to get defeated, not only by a regional team but by a younger individual virtually on her own, raises a lot of questions.

“Thankfully for English supporters, the England Cadets were led to victory and first place by Eva Elias, while West Scotland came second.”