Volleyball players back in action

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Volleyball Southland umpires (from left) Kloe Milne, Alissa Light, Amaia Cooper and Donna Milne.

VOLLEYBALL became the first community sport in Southland to get under way after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

ILT Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt said it was great to have the energy provided by the volleyball community back in the Stadium.

“The planning and collaboration between volleyball and my team meant that social volleyball could start last Wednesday night. (Volleyball Southland) are a well-oiled machine and have shown great leadership and initiative in getting people back to playing and having fun.”

Sport NZ and the Government eased restrictions for community sport and Volleyball NZ (VNZ) approved start dates from Monday, June 2, subject to compliance with health and safety rules.

Volleyball Southland (VS) board chairwoman Donna Milne said planning for a resumption was ongoing during the lockdown period.

“The VS board and our manager spent the entire lockdown preparing scenarios to innovate, recover, collaborate, restart, and sustain,” she said.

“Sport Southland chief executive Brendon McDermott assisted us with financial forecasting and facilitating collaboration meetings with other RSOs (Regional Sports Organisations), which was invaluable to all sport in Southland. High on our list was our collaboration and planning with Nigel and the Stadium team, including discussing court space with other RSOs. Communications with other associations facilitated by VNZ helped ensure we could safely offer volleyball to our communities.”

VS had also shared resources, including health and safety plans, with other Southland sporting codes.

Seeing the game back up and running on Wednesday made all the hard work worthwhile, Milne said.

“If we can help people have fun, see their mates, have some sense of normality, try a new sport, and have an avenue for stress release during what has been some extremely unprecedented times, then that is a win in our books.”

VS regional development manager Alissa Light said there were 12 teams in action on Wednesday night, and entries were still open.

“We have beginners through to competitive – something for everyone, even some school mates have come together and formed social teams as they missed volleyball so much.”

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