Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club

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Newcastle Staffs. VC
Newcastle (Staffs) VC logo
Full name Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club
Nickname(s) Castle, Staffs,
Founded 1980
Ground Keele University
Capacity 110 seated
Chair Will Roberts
League Men 1 - NVL1
Men 2 - NVL3North
Women - NVL2North

Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club is an English volleyball club based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England which is affiliated with Volleyball England, with teams competing at the national level for women, men, girls and boys in all three formats of the sport - Volleyball, Sitting Volleyball and Beach Volleyball. Formed in 1980, the club is best known for its tradition of junior development and has produced a number of England's leading talents in the sport.[1] The construction of Beach Volleyball courts at Keele University in 2016 provides the club with the opportunity to now continue its development through this form of the game - in an area about as far from the sea as is possible in England!

The club was formed following the amalgamation of two school teams in Newcastle-under-Lyme: Marshlands High School (now Wolstanton)] and Edward Orme High School (now Newcastle Community)]. The two schools had developed a strong cohort of predominantly-male volleyball players; as they grew older, the players needed to play at a higher level. The club was formed and its teams rose quickly through local and regional leagues to national-league status. When it reached the lower reaches of the National League promotion came quickly, until the top flight was reached during the mid-1980s. The women's team was formed during the late 1990s from two teams (Cheadle High School and Stone Alleynes High School), both of which had success at local level; however, until they combined they could not move to a higher level. The combined team entered the West Midlands Regional League; during the mid-2000s, it progressed to play in the National League.[2] From 2008–2010 the women's team underwent more changes, with a new generation of young players graduating from the club's junior ranks. During the 2010–2011 season, the women's team won the national under-18 championship, the NVL 2 North title and the National Shield.

Despite winning a number of national junior titles, the club has been less successful at the senior level.[3][4] In 2002 the club embarked on a programme of growth centred on Madeley High School, which has spread across all four school-sports partnerships in North Staffordshire, a Talented Athlete Programme (TAP) at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and links to three higher-education institutions (Keele University, Staffordshire University and Manchester Metropolitan University-Cheshire). September 2010 saw the opening of the Volleyball England National Academy, based in Loughborough; of the academy's first intake, six boys and two girls play for the club and are eligible for a formal daily training programme linked to the national squad as part of the England performance pathway. The 2010–2011 season saw three of the club's junior teams reaching the national finals, with the under-18 boys and girls both winning titles and the under-16 boys losing the final. Since then, no titles have been won, but teams have reached the final stages of competitions in every season - and in 2016 the men's 1st team lost 3-2 in a fantastic National Shield Final against Solent, after having missed out on promotion to the Super 8s (the elite league) the previous season in a play-off against London Lynx.

Twice winner of the Volleyball England Club of the Year Award since 2000, chair Colin Roberts and other members have received a number of awards for their work with the club. Roberts received the National Leadership Award by the Institute of Sport, Parks and Leisure (ISPAL) in summer 2009,[5] and was runner-up for the Service to Sport award at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Awards in early 2010[6] after receiving the Volleyball England "Volunteer of the Year" award in 2008 (12 months after fellow club member Rod Stockwell received the same honour). In 2016 the club completed the long process of becoming a charity, based on its focus on supporting the development of young people in the local community by raising aspirations.

In 2012, inspired by the London Olympic Games and a burst of additional interest in the sport, the club launched its social section which is thriving, and still growing four years later. This section of the club focuses on fun and participation in an active lifestyle through volleyball.

2014 saw the creation of a Sitting Volleyball section of the club, through the emergence of local players with an interest and enthusiasm for the Paralympic version of the sport, and the need of a number of leading players around England to have a team to play for. In their two seasons the team has finished 2nd in the leading national competition (Volleyball England Sitting Volleyball Grand Prix) twice, and lost in the National Cup final on one occasion.

In 2016 the England National Team returned to the court for the first time since it surrendered status to Great Britain for the 2012 Olympic Games - and competed in the CEV European Championships qualification round in Norway in May. Captaining the team was Newcastle Staffs. alumni Adam Bradbury (now playing professionally in Sweden for Vingakers), and along with fellow Staffs 'old boy' Sam Shenton (now playing for Team Northumbria) the team made great strides losing 3-1 versus Norway and Israel, but beating Hungary 3-2.


Newcastle has won a number of English national volleyball titles, predominantly in the junior age groups; a number of players have been recognised at the international level. In 2010 the national under-18 champion boys' team travelled to Castellana Grotte in southern Italy for the inaugural EuroVolley Cup 2010 (a European junior boys club competition supported by the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) and the Italian federation. The team won two of its nine matches, finishing in eighth place.

National competitions[edit]

Title Years won Years runner-up
NVL Men 1 1994/95, 1995/96, 1998/99
National Cup Men 1996/97, 2001/02
National Shield Men 2006/07 2015/16, 2003/04
National Shield Women 2010/11
NVL Men 2 1984/85
NVL Women 2 North 2010/11
National u20 Men 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94
National u19 Men 1982/83, 1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86 1979/80, 1980/81, 1981/82, 1982/83
National u18 Men 2009/10,[7] 2010/11 1990/91, 1995/96, 2011/12
National u18 Women 2010/11 2011/12
National u16 Boys 1979/80, 1981/82, 2008/09.[8] 1980/81, 1981/82, 1982/1983, 1989/90, 2005/06, 2010/11
National u16 Girls 2007/08, 2009/10
National u15 Boys 1978/79, 1980/81, 1982/83, 2004/05, 2007/08 1979/80, 1988/89
National u15 Girls 2007/08
National u14 Boys 2007/08, 2008/09
National u14 Girls 2007/08
Sitting Volleyball Grand Prix 2014/15, 2015/16
Sitting Volleyball National Cup 2014/15

International-level players[edit]

Player's highest honour only (i.e. if GB, England not recorded)

Great Britain England England senior development England juniors England cadets
Richard Dobell Anthony Viggars Will Roberts James Bannister Dave Lawton
Sam Bragg Tim Hollis Paige Nelmes (GB Junior Beach) Sam Allen Alex Liebeck
Megan Viggars Steve Fee Roman Neveykin James Goodwin Chris Ashton
Tom Stevens Rashad Ali George Wainwright Alex Hague
Neil Masters Rupert Scott Luke Davenport Rob Bellamy
Adam Bradbury Rosie Barley
Sam Shenton Stewart Ross
Patrick Cawthorn Iain McKellar
Alex Jenkins
Rich James


External links[edit]