Wessex Under 18 Men’s team will play Richmond at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering for the National Under 18 Men’s Final this Sunday 28 April.
Bournemouth-based Wessex have battled through 1st, 2nd and Quarter-Final groups and then a Semi-Final against Midlands team, Black Country, including a win against 2018 Finalists, Greenhouse London.
This is the 66th appearance in a National Final since 1987 for a Wessex team, having won 35 Finals so far. Wessex players have also won many beach volleyball national titles.
Over 100 England internationals stem from Wessex in it’s 43 years of existence, including 2012 Olympians Zara Dampney, Lucy Wicks and Dan Hunter, and 2018 Commonwealth Games players Jess Grimson, Vicky Palmer and Jake Sheaf.
Within the Wessex Under 18 squad, captain Iraj Safaee is an England Junior international. The team also has a few family volleyball connections. Campbell Golding’s father, the television commentator, Simon Golding, coached Wessex to the Men’s National Cup in 2001, while Luke Honeybun’s father is an international volleyball referee and Jamie Harwood’s elder brother, Daniel, won the National Under 16’s title in 2014.
The commitment of the team is shown by Adam Adie, who travels at least once a week from Exeter to train and play, and Luke Honeybun who travels twice a week from Basingstoke.
Geoff Allen, the team’s coach, is now in his 48th year of coaching volleyball. He is assisted by former GB and England international, Anthony Roberts, who he first coached 47 years ago, as a 10-year-old.
The Squad (L to R in main image): Back row – Anthony Roberts, Ludwig Ettner, Campbell Golding, Iraj Safaee, Jamie Harwood, Gabriel Negara, Luke Honeybun, Tom Nicholas, Geoff Allen. Front row – Rowan Morgan, Rufus Morgan, James Scott, Adam Adie.