The Dave Falla MBE Award is presented to the person who has contributed greatly to volleyball for the season.
The recipient of the award this year is a long standing member of the volleyball community, who has surprisingly never been recognised for their commitment and contribution over the years.
They started playing way back in the late 70s when volleyball was first being introduced.
They played as part of the Barracudas team, who were formed initially from a group of mates, just to have a bit of fun. However, it soon turned a little bit more competitive.
In the early years of volleyball this player was one of only four who passed as a preliminary and club coach. They would use these skills later on in their career during the 1990s when they coached a successful ladies’ second division team, as well as the Freesias by Post Men’s team.
In the early stages of their career, they were key in forming the Barracudas Mixed team. The league records from the time the team played are a bit sketchy, but it would appear that this team never won the league. Instead it was a case of ‘Always the bridesmaid, never the bride’, and they were always one that had the capability of causing an upset in the league, but could just never find the consistency to do it themselves. During their time with the Mixed team, they instigated the Barracuda Mixed social trip with Jersey team “Beeches Old Boys”. This was always a successful trip, where they were trusted with an honesty bar and the top shelf free from the resident landlady at the hotel where they stayed each year! When the mighty Barracudas Mixed team folded, this player moved to the RB Coquelin Mixed team, who had for a while been Barracuda’s second team. It was a wise move going from one team full of laughs to another, as by now, the knees had really started to play up!
As a player in the Men’s league, from Barracudas a stint at Capelles ensued, and also Wallabies 2 where he was part of the winning Men’s second division team. He then went on to coach Freesias by Post, and then became a player coach of that team. He finally moved to Nashcopy Club in the mid 90s where he has remained, both playing, coaching and specialising as libero.
He has also represented his Island at Inter Insular level on many many occasions, in the mid 80s, and early 90s. More recently, just a few short years ago, at a ripe old age, he returned to the Island Men’s B side. Rumour also has it, that many years ago, he was a middle hitter, but that may just be an old wives tale!
This player has also contributed in the administration of the sport. For a number of years in the late 80s and early 90s, he held the position of both Treasurer and Chairman of the Association, and guided them through busy times.
He is famous and is remembered fondly amongst his old friends and players for his interesting and colourful wardrobe of short shorts, which could often be seen spinning and rolling around the court after defending a particularly hard spike.
We cannot finish off without talking about ‘THAT’ watering can. Teams from the UK still talk about the Moscow Mule, and how that was one of their highlights of watching the finals at the Guernsey Open tournament. He holds a recipe that is more secret than Coca Cola’s, and without fail, would be seen walking the courts and balcony at the finals offering his ‘secret’ ‘it’s not that alcoholic’ beverage out to everyone. It was one of those things that everyone remembers.
Throughout his long volleyball career, whether he was playing or not, he could always be seen cheering and coaching from the side-lines or balcony and encouraging others to play our beloved sport. It is great that his son Declan is following in his footsteps, and we hope he will continue with the Martel name in the sport.
He has certainly been a stalwart of Guernsey Volleyball, and we are thrilled to present this year’s award to a worthy winner, Brian Martel.