Kent County Volleyball Association
The origins of structured volleyball in Kent can be traced to a man named Stan Hastie, who, at a meeting at Canterbury in June 1976, was instrumental in setting up the Kent and District Volleyball League (“KVL”).
Stan was an amiable Irishman who can properly be described as the father of Kentish volleyball, and was the first chairman of the KVL committee.
The Kent Volleyball Association, later to become the Kent County Volleyball Association (“KCVA”) was conceived at the AGM of the KVL held at Northfleet Sports Centre on 6 May 1979 and first saw the light of day two weeks later on 20 May 1979 when, at its inaugural AGM, Stan Hastie agreed to act as its first secretary and Jim Baker was appointed as chairman.
Sadly, Stan is no longer with us, but his memory is preserved in Kent Volleyball with the Mens KO Cup being named the Stan Hastie Cup.
Currently, KCVA offers Mens and Ladies divisions, with clubs spread across the county, and with teams from Dartford competing in the National Leagues.
We also have a Foundation League, which is intended to provide a competitive environment for new and fledgling clubs and players, who may be looking for a more social involvement before getting into a formal league structure. Many of the current KCVA clubs have a foundation team.
Volleyball saw an uplift in interest following the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, and many people have discovered what an exciting and active sport it is.
Once you have read this potted history, take a look around the KCVA website to find out a bit more about us, and contact details for your nearest club.
The inaugural KCVA comprised 7 clubs, none of which, surprisingly, has survived to the present day. During that year, for the first time, Kent entered men’s and ladies’ teams into the south-east inter-county tournament.
In the first season 19 teams participated in the league. Orpington were the first league champions.
As is often the case with many sports, individual clubs have dominated Kentish volleyball for periods of time. In the early years of the Kent League, Orpington and Folkestone tended to share the spoils. For a period of five years from 1988, with the exception of one season, Sheppey VC were Premier Division champions and knockout cup winners.
That period coincided with the domination of the Kent Ladies Division, for five out of six years, by Orpington Ladies VC.
Honours since the turn of the millennium have been spread more widely, with men’s honours having been shared mainly between Strood, University of Kent and Canterbury VCs, and with Dartford Ladies VC having taken the ladies’ division in 4 seasons out of 6.
It is probable, however, that no Kent club will ever come close to the success of Tonbridge VC which, over 8 seasons between 1993 and 2000, won each of the League’s Premier Division and the KCVA Knockout Cup on 7 occasions.
The strength and success of individual clubs have been reflected on a wider stage. Men’s and Ladies teams have achieved numerous honours at south-east regional tournaments, county cup competitions (Kent ladies on at least two occasions), and EVA Trophy competitions.
Tom Middleton’s extensive stint on the KCVA committee has by no means been unique. A remarkable feature of the committee’s life has been the length of service put in by several of its members. To this, in no small measure, can be attributed the many achievements of the KCVA over the past 30 years, and it is appropriate that the outstanding contribution of particular individuals should be acknowledged.
* Following his resignation as KVA secretary in 1980, Stan Hastie remained active in Kent volleyball for many years, as youth development officer and referees representative, prior to his untimely death. Stan was also responsible for putting together a team of youngsters from Kent playing under the name of Kent Colts, to give them the opportunity to play at National League level.
* The post of secretary was then filled by Folkestone’s Ian Parker until 1991, when Ian Ruddock (at first on a joint basis and subsequently alone) took on the responsibility. And he is still going strong, more than 30 years later! His contribution to the efficient and effective organisation of the KCVA’s affairs cannot be overstated.
* Even greater longevity of service can be claimed by Graham Goodwin who has now completed more than 35 unbroken years on the committee in the capacities of fixtures and results secretary, or registration secretary, or both.
* Dave Lockyer also completed 20 years as a committee member, most recently in the capacity of treasurer. The reins have now been picked up by Tim Bown, with Dave moving on to devote more of his time to National Hospital Radio – something he has been involved with even longer than volleyball!
* Nick Pain’s involvement with Kent volleyball dates back to the early 1970’s. In 1995 Nick received a Kent County Council Coach of the Year award, and has served on the KVA committee since 1986, most recently as coaching representative.
* It is also appropriate to recognise the steady hand that was the Association’s Chairman since its inception way back in 1979. Jim Baker stood at the helm through the very early growth period and the subsequent ups and downs. Jim’s wise judgement and good humour served the association well over the many years of his Chairmanship until he stood aside in 2019 after 40 years' service. Jim continues in a committee role as our Archivist. Jim also occupies the post of South East Volleyball Association Treasurer, just to give himself a bit of variety, of course……..
But the Association is keen to move forward, and is always keen to encourage new blood to join the KCVA committee, so they can help shape the future of the sport in Kent. There is a balance to be struck between the energy and enthusiasm of youth, and the experience which comes with ‘a certain age’ (we have plenty of the latter, and would dearly love some more of the former!).