Beattie leads valiant effort

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OLYMPIC preparations for the Great British women’s volleyball team took a hit when Algeria pulled out of a weekend double header.

The national side – led by former Mearns Castle pupil Lynne Beattie - were set to face off against the African champions on Friday and Saturday at the Kelvin Hall.

However, the visitors pulled out in the eleventh hour on account of red tape.

Not to be deterred, the ladies took on a men’s British select team and were encouraged by a valiant battle which ultimately ended in a loss.

The ladies went down in four sets (17-25 25-19 25-27 18-25) although took the second set in thrilling fashion with a superb spike from Savannah Leaf on set point, the GB girls had two set points in the third set before losing 25-27. The ladies battled well in the last set but the select team pulled away in the final stages. Beattie believes the two matches against the men gave the girls a useful workout ahead of the games. She said: “We had a bit more focus in the second match and the team gelled a bit better.

“We handled their serves which allowed us to run our offence and the speed of our offence caused them some problems in their block-defence. “That gave us some momentum and that’s the style we want to play against the Russians.

“They are big girls but they can’t move fast so we want to try and catch them off-guard. Hopefully, if we can work on that then we can cause them some problems. “It was a bit disappointing that Algeria didn’t come as we were looking forward to the challenge and it’s a team we are playing at the Olympics.

“If we had beaten them, it would have been a good psychological advantage going into the games but we have to take the positives from this weekend.

“Playing against the guys gave us other challenges that we wouldn’t have had if Algeria had come so you have to take what you can from every touch of the ball as we build towards the Olympics”. A pair of players now have to be cut from the squad prior to the Olympics themselves. Miss Beattie added:“It’s tough on the coaches and it’s really tough on the girls. We’ve been together since 2006 so to lose two at this late stage is going to be an absolute killer”.