altOctober 4 - Volleyball’s innovative "Premier League" structure has got off to a flying start in Britain, with players welcoming the new set-up.

The men’s and women’s Super 8s was created by Volleyball England to improve the quality of matches, development and talent ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

Only the country’s best teams are competing - the top eight men’s and top eight women’s teams from last year’s Division One.

A player from Malory Eagles, last year’s Division One Men’s champions, said: "We are looking forward to the new season.

"It’s going to be very different.

"To be crowned inaugural Super 8 champions would be awesome but there is a long way to go!

"It’s great to be part of the start of something new and aspirational."

The new league structure was created partly as a response to the growing demand for volleyball in this country and the sport’s increasing profile called for a more attractive and marketable product in the build-up to London 2012, where Britain will be making their Olympic debut in the indoor tournament.

altThe Super 8 league involves new-look playoffs and finals as the country’s best players strive to create higher quality matches for spectators; improve development opportunities for players, coaches, officials and volunteers; and secure better links to regional and local leagues.

The men’s Super 8s league teams are: Malory Eagles (London), London Docklands, Team Northumbria, Sheffield, London Polonia, Coventry & Warwick Riga, London Lynx and Leeds Carnegie.

The women’s teams are: Tameside, Ashcombe Dorking, Wessex, Leeds, Swiss Cottage, Malory Eagles (London), Polonia IMKA London and University of Birmingham.

All teams will play home and away and results will go into a league table to decide the playoff positions.

Volleyball England President Richard Callicott said: "The Super 8s will be a vital part of the structure of volleyball in this country.

"We hope they will provide excellent volleyball for players, spectators and sponsors as well as developing players, coaches and referees in a competitive environment."

In the first weekend of the Super 8s there was a winning start in the men’s competition from last year’s champions Malory Eagles, who had a convincing 3-0 win over London Docklands, while in the women’s competition Ashcombe Dorking beat Leeds.