Volleyball: Scotland edge out England for triumph in Novotel Cup

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Scotland men’s volleyball team – with a strong City of Edinburgh influence – enjoyed one of their finest hours when they snatched the 25th Novotel Cup from under the noses of hosts Luxembourg last night.

Scotland, who beat Denmark in straight sets in their opening match, looked to have blown their big chance when they lost a five-set thriller with Luxembourg on Saturday 20-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 9-15 after fighting back from two sets down.

But, on a remarkable final day, the Scots beat England 25-17, 25-22, 25-27, 16-25, 15-13 after serving for the match at 2-0 and then finally winning on a disputed touch.

Even then, it looked to be too late with favourites Luxembourg to face unfancied Denmark in the final match of the tournament. But the Danes stunned the home crowd by pulling off an upset 25-23, 25-19, 18-25, 25-18 victory to hand Scotland the title for the first time on sets difference.

It was a major triumph for Simon Loftus’s side and promises much for the European Championships later this year.

Beach player Robin Miedzybrodzki, a former City of Edinburgh player, played a big part but Loftus also included current Edinburgh players Jamie McHardy, Niall Collin and Mike Penny in his squad along with another former player Gavin Watt, now playing with Cannes.

Scotland’s women’s team did not fare so well and lost all three of their matches, going down to eventual winner England 19-25, 12-25, 20-25 in their final match.