An injection of players from Nelson has seen the Redbacks women's volleyball side return to action this winter.
Sponsored by Michel Hair Design for the 2014 season, the MHD Redbacks have a squad of 15, including six players from over the hill, a huge improvement in numbers from last year when the side was forced to fold.
The former New Zealand rep Abbey Greenwood is playing and coaching and has a squad packed with talent to choose from.
Marlborough players include national beach volleyball rep Micah Lindsay-Brown, Olivia Nicholls, Cheryl Abrahams, Eloise van Velthooven, Alex Parker, Carolyn Shallcross, Katie Cunningham and Jess Soper. From Nelson come Carol Heiford, Merekara McGuinniety, Ellie Bell, Zara Fa'avae, Rhea Slotemaker and Emilie Legout.
The Redbacks played their first home game on Saturday at the Woodbourne gym against Pioneer from Christchurch. They lost 3-1 but given it was the first time the squad had got together they showed a lot of promise, according to Greenwood. "But there was definitely an obvious level of uncertainty with players playing next to another person they had only met officially during the warmup."
The Redbacks have two away tournaments in Christchurch this season and three home games in the qualification process for nationals which are in Tauranga in August this year.
"With only two spots available for all six South Island teams to qualify for division one, we are going to have to perform well for the rest of the double round-robin," said Greenwood.
The team travels to Christchurch tonight for three games over Saturday and Sunday against Scorpions A and B teams (from Dunedin) and Hornby (from Christchurch).
Their next home game is June 14 at Stadium 2000 against Hornby.
- The Marlborough Express