GALLERY: Suffolk Volleyball Association hosts sixth annual Suffolk Open tournament

The Suffolk Open volleyball tournament in Stowmarket.

The Suffolk Open volleyball tournament in Stowmarket. - Credit: Archant

The Suffolk Volleyball Association hosted its sixth annual Suffolk Open tournament recently.

Twenty-two teams from across the Eastern Region and beyond travelled to Stowmarket’s Chilton Fields which was basked in sunshine all day. The field included teams from Suffolk’s three new clubs: Bury Bobcats, Haverhill Hornets and Ipswich Ravens.

In Division One, the day started with Bury Bobcats Seniors taking on Ipswich VC’s Moles. Ipswich took the first set, before Bury got one back. Ipswich then claimed the decider.

Champions from 2011, GNG Bedford Grasshoppers then took the first set of their day against Stowmarket 1 who hadn’t won the tournament since its inaugural event in 2009.

Stowmarket came back to take the second and third sets. Bedford and Stowmarket went on to win their remaining pool matches to reach the final.

Ipswich claimed third place with a 2-0 victory over Bury in a repeat of the first match of the day. The first set of the final was close, with Stowmarket edging it 21-19 before a great Mark Ames hit found the grass to finish the second set 21-15.

Stowmarket claimed the title and made it a Suffolk indoor and outdoor double – only the second time in the tournament’s history that a club has achieved this.

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Eighteen teams competed in a ladder-style tournament for Division Two which included a ladies’ category. The ladies’ final was played between Ipswich Panthers and Cambridge’s Top Cats and was won 15-14, 15-11 by the latter.

After five rounds of play in the ladder, the overall Division Two third-place play-off was between Great Yarmouth & Gorleston and Darkstar Derbyshire & Kev.

GY&G stormed to a 15-3 win in the first set, before Darkstar edged the second 15-14. GY&G regained the upper hand in the decider, 11-8.

The Division Two final was played between Pegasus from Norfolk and Two and a Half Men of the US Air Force base at Lakenheath.

A 15-11, 15-10 win was earned by the Lakenheath team in what will be the final Suffolk Open for Lakenheath stalwart Ken Novak whose posting in the UK is due to come to an end.

Novak commented: “Had a blast with such a great team – winning was the icing on the cake because we had so much fun,” sentiments which were shared by many of the teams.

The teams now look forward to further tournaments in Brentwood, Lowestoft, Clacton and Cambridge over the course of the summer whilst there will be an opportunity to see the country’s best Beach Volleyball players in action at the Volleyball England Beach Tour event in Great Yarmouth on June 28 and 29.

Most of Suffolk’s clubs welcome new members at regular free outdoor sessions throughout the summer. Links to all of the Suffolk clubs’ websites can be found at