A new top quality Melton sports club is preparing for its first big game on Saturday.
Melton Lions Volleyball Club was formed from a merger between the old Melton VC and Loughborough Lions.
And the new men’s outfit has taken the place of the former Lions team in National Volleyball League Division 2 North.
Their opening fixture is on Saturday at home to Darkstar Derbyshire, at the new Brooksby Melton College sports hall, on the Brooksby campus.
Coach Gareth Thomas was part of the set up at the old Melton Lions club, which won the league in three of the last four seasons in the East Midlands Regional League.
He is confident about their prospects despite having to take on some of the UK’s best volleyball players and teams.
“The step up to the national league will be a good challenge for the club, and will mean high quality volleyball is accessible to people in Melton and the surrounding area,” said Gareth.
“We have some players from Melton but we’ve got a very international squad with some players from Italy, Germany and Poland.
“I think we will certainly compete to finish in the top four and we’ve got a reasonable chance of going up to Division 1.”
The ultimate aim for the club, which will play all of its home games at Brooksby, is to go all the way up to the Super 8 Division.
Melton Lions started their campaign with a 3-1 away National Cup victory over Wombourne VC, based in Dudley in the West Midlands.
Melton won the first set comfortably 25-17, before Wombourne showed great fighting spirit to fight back and claim a scrappy second set 25-23. Melton’s superior firepower in attack, boosted by four new players making their debuts helped the team to take a close and keenly contested third set 25-21.
Wombourne’s high level of commitment and excellent picking-up in defence made for another tight contest in set four. Melton eventually edged it 25-21 to secure overall victory. The result was a fair reflection of Melton’s superior attacking ability.
The reward for winning in the first round of the cup is a second round tie against one of the best teams in the country, Southampton-based Solent Volleyball Club, at home on October 15.
Spectators are welcome to attend the first league match on Saturday. Warm-ups begin at 2pm for a 2.30pm start.
Gareth added: “We would be delighted to see a good crowd at the weekend. We’re in a tough league and we really need their support.”
Further information about the Melton Lions is available by logging on to www.meltonlions.co.uk