Day one of the second VEBT of 2012 started brightly both on and off the court. Playing host to the VEBT for the first time, Weston-super-Mare did not disappoint. Plenty of spectators throughout the day enjoyed a feast of high quality volleyball across 8 courts.
Thirka Sivapalan/Kirsty Meynell and Janka Janaskova/Katka Bednarova played out the first 3 setter of the day in the women’s event, with the latter taking the decider 15-8. Appleton/Gardent also sneaked through a tight 3 ender, beating Cunka/Okopny 15-12 in the 3rd. In the men’s first round, the pick of the games was between Atzeni/Raftopoulos and Constantinou/Bull, ending with a nip and tuck 3rd set that eventually went the way of Constantinou/Bull.
The weather took a turn for the worse late in the afternoon as the heavens opened, however the men’s top seeds Gregory/Sheaf comfortably negotiated all their games, making it safely through to the semi finals on the Sunday. They were joined by Grandolfo/Suklys, who didn’t concede more than 16 points per set all day. Denise Austin/Vicky Palmer upset the seedings in the 4th round, as they beat 1st seeds Lizzie Smith/Jess Grimson 16-14 in the 3rd end, securing a place in the semi finals in the process. Alexandra Vajdova/Katja Gless were the other team to secure a semi final place on day 2.
There was no hold up in the poor weather overnight and, as players began to arrive, the courts looked like the tide had only just gone out! It was all hands on deck as the staff and volunteers did an amazing job to get the centre court and some of the outer courts playable.
In the women’s event, Brown/Czinegeova and Smith/Grimson (who had a second shot in the quarters due to the competition format) made it through their respective quarter finals, with Brown/Czinegeova narrowly making it through after a 16-14 win in the third set. The first semi final saw top seed conquerers Palmer/Austin take on Brown/Czinegeova, with the latter taking it in straight sets, 21-15, 21-17. The second semi final was won by Alexandra Vajdova and Katja Gless, beating Lizzie Smith and Jess Grimson 21-10, 21-14. The final was played out in front of plenty of spectators, many of whom had stopped on their way past the beach front. It was Brown and Czinegeova who emerged victors, winning 21-16, 21-15.
Carl Butcher and Mark Garcia-Kidd were the first winners of the day in the men’s quarter finals, closely followed by Dyakiewicz/Morrison, both winning in straight sets. Butcher and Garcia-Kidd were up against top seeds Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf, but they couldn’t quite pull off an upset losing 16-21, 14-21. In the other semi final, Grandolfo/Suklys took on Dyakiewicz/Morrisson. A very close match ended with Grandolfo/Suklys winning a place in the final, 21-19, 21-18. The wind had eased off a little by the time the men’s final took place, and the sun had been out for a while so the conditions were much improved. The first set went point for point until Gregory/Sheaf opened up a narrow lead and took the set 21-18. Gregory began to dominate at the net in set 2, as he used all of his 6ft 10in frame to disrupt the opposition’s attack. They closed out the second set 21-14, and in doing so became the Weston-super-Mare 2012 VEBT Men’s Champions.
Sanjib Sahota, National Competition and Events Manager, said “Without the efforts of the staff and volunteers, the running of the event would have been near impossible with the poor weather conditions over the course of the weekend. It was great to have Weston-super-Mare as part of the VEBT for the first time, and we’re extremely grateful for the support from the council.”
Seafront and Events Operations Manager for North Somerset Council, Luci Hortop said “Despite the elements being against us, we have seen some great volleyball action from some amazing players. Hopefully this is just the beginning of beach volleyball in Weston-super-Mare. Thank you to Volleyball England and the Beach Tour team for bringing such an exciting, enjoyable and entertaining event to the sands of Weston-super-Mare.”
Weston-super-Mare also played host to the first Junior VEBT event of 2012, open to any pairs in the U17 age group. There were some impressive rallies played out, despite being on the outer courts and having to fight against the wind at times. The girl’s event was won by Catherine and Rebecca Laffan, while the boy’s was won by Cameron Rhodes and Richard James. Congratulations to both winners, and thank you to all those who came down to support and compete in the event.
Thank you to all the volunteers and staff for their hard work over the weekend, and to the players for continuing to play despite the difficult conditions.
A full list of results to date for the VEBT and Junior VEBT can be found here
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