Sports editor Mike Parsons goes behind the scenes in our latest club feature to learn more about the growing Warrington Wolves Volleyball Club

AS men and women of all ages and backgrounds paraded through a series of skills drills the enthusiasm was infectious.

And the willingness between agile athletes to help each other develop was another noted observation on a visit to Warrington Wolves Volleyball Club training night.

Warrington Guardian:

The determination on show in a friendly environment is paying off as this is a club on the rise.

Such is the progress, this weekend National League volleyball will be played in Warrington for the first time.

> More features in the Our Club series: Warrington Gymnastics Club, Phoenix Fire Boxing Club, Appleton Netball Club, Sport4Kids

The club, affiliated to the Warrington Wolves Foundation, also have teams leading the way in the Merseyside Volleyball League.

And tournament silverware was won and celebrated last month.

> Wolves win Merseyside Volleyball League's premier club tournament

Perhaps even more importantly, talent is starting to make a mark at senior level from the club’s junior sessions.

It is clear the club, first established in 2002, are getting their approach right with rising participation numbers meaning their current facilities are being outgrown.

Now the club are increasing their profile and raising further awareness of their existence to continue with the ascendancy.

“We’re quite a new club and we’re looking at developing volleyball across the area and the local league,” said Phil Knowles, 36, a teaching assistant who is captain of both the men’s National League side and A team as well as being club secretary.

Warrington Guardian:

“We’re developing a National League team, trying to improve ourselves and play at the highest level we can while also supporting the local league.

“At Warrington Wolves we’ve got four teams across all levels. We interact with each other across all teams and have good social events as well.

“I put quite a lot of hours into volleyball at the minute. It’s not just turning up for training every week, it’s all the admin and liaising with not just our teams but the teams we are playing also.

“I love playing volleyball, always have and always will do. And I will do whatever I can to support the club to make things happen.”

Warrington Guardian:

Equally committed, though a newer face on the scene at Warrington Wolves, is experienced coach Peter Guernari.

“Currently, what we have on a Tuesday evening at the Orford Jubilee Hub is training for all of the teams – that’s the women, the men’s teams from local league level up to National League level,” said Guernari.

“This is a starting point because I see this club growing. Of course, we need additional facilities and it would be useful to get some sponsorship support.

“We have a junior session at the Orford Jubilee Hub on a Sunday afternoon for boys and girls. That’s already started to feed through to the women’s team, and we hope that will feed through to the men too in the future.

“So, we want to build up the whole club. All abilities, all ages, are welcome to come to Warrington Wolves Volleyball Club and we’d hopefully have a spot for them to either train or play at the level they want to depending on their level of ability and commitment to develop.”

> Seating facilities will be available for supporters to watch history being made on Sunday when Warrington Wolves men play their first home National League fixtures against Lincoln Cannons and Manchester Marvels 2 at Orford Jubilee Hub.

Peter Guernari’s team will be seeking their first win of the season at this level too.

> Schedule, Sunday, Orford Jubilee Hub:

11.30am warm-up, noon start: Wolves v Cannons

1.30pm warm-up, 2pm start: Cannons v Marvels 2

3.30pm warm-up, 4pm start: Wolves v Marvels 2

> To learn more about Warrington Wolves Volleyball Club and training times, visit or

Further details are also available from club secretary Phil Knowles at or on 07968 871911; coach Peter Guernari at or on 07854 028677

Warrington Guardian:

Peter Guernari

Adding a National League men’s team to the ranks this year is making for exciting times at Warrington Wolves Volleyball Club.

Guernari, who has a long history in playing, coaching and developing the sport down south, spotted upon moving north an opportunity to develop a presence at the higher level.

So as well as heading up under 15s and 17s boys’ regional teams at Birchwood Leisure Centre together with looking after volleyball provision at the University of Liverpool, he is guiding Wolves’ bid for success in National League Division Three North – all as a volunteer.

And he sees an all-round benefit for Wolves in the long term.

“With having experience in volleyball coaching and development, I realised in the local area there was no pathway to a higher level from a local league up to the national league,” said the 65-year-old from Colchester, who made a major contribution to the sitting version of the sport in the six years leading up to and during the London 2012 Paralympics.

“There seemed to be some up-and-coming players around, not least in Warrington.

“After many conversations with different people, including the governing body, we decided as a group to form a National League team/squad based at Warrington.

“When I was looking at this National League set-up, this seemed like quite an established club.

“I could see that it had a good structure in terms of committee, a good funding situation and is just well organised.

Warrington Guardian:

“We merged what was a squad floundering for a home with the Warrington structure and it seems to be working well in these early days.

“We want success all through the leagues and not least the National League.

“And success this year is probably to establish ourselves and consolidate ourselves. And to invite and develop players, young and the more experienced.

“We’re attracting players coming from as far afield as Bolton, Oldham and Chester. So having the National League team is having an effect in drawing people in and helping the area.

“My interest is to help volleyball and grow the club, which is happening at quite a rapid extent.”

Guernari highlighted his liking for a challenge.

“I’m just a volleyball enthusiast and I try to achieve where nobody else has,” he said.

“I guess I’m just an old, wise, experienced coach.

“I have overseen about 20 different promotions in the National Leagues, and won most of the cup competitions with different teams at different times and created little bits of history.”

Warrington Guardian:

VOLLEYBALL is a sleeping giant in this area, says Guernari.

And he has identified a key area in attempting to awaken more people of all ages and abilities to a sport he has been involved in at a high level as a player or coach for the past 35 years.

“It is an age-old frustration when you’re a volleyball enthusiast, that the sport needs to be in the schools in order to bring the youngsters through – like it is abroad,” said Guernari, who feels a development officer would be a huge benefit in progressing the sport in this area.

“What we’d like to do as a club is to get into some schools locally and help the sport to develop.

“I think there’s a will within the schools, who are under pressure with other sports that are on the curriculum and mainstream sports such as football, hockey, rugby and netball.

“Volleyball is seen as needing a lot of space but you don’t because you can adapt the sport.

“The positive with volleyball is that it is quite a cheap sport to invest in with regards to equipment.

“You just need a net or a rope and a few balls, which don’t even have to be official, and then people can start playing the game.”

Wolves would welcome athletes from other sports to give volleyball a try.

“If people are interested, then I’ll work with them,” said Guernari.

“You tend to look at a taller person for volleyball but there is a role for a shorter and more nimble person in the sport too.

“You want players to be as agile as possible with good hand-eye coordination.

“I always say we’re looking for a similar athlete to a basketball player. The added challenge is having to play a low game as well because you have to stop the ball from hitting the floor.”