Academy of Beach Sport claim the Women’s U-18 Grand Prix

Academy of Beach Sport claim the Women's U-18 Grand Prix

The Academy of Beach Sports claimed the opening prize on day one of the Super 8s Finals Weekend as they triumphed 3-1 in the Women’s U-18 Grand Prix Final.

Having claimed the National Championships crown last month, the Academy of Beach Sports were looking for a double-up against Richmond.

And it was the Croyde-based side who started by far the stronger. From a Rebecca Fallow service ace on the opening point of the game through to a winning block which reinforced their set-long superiority at the net, the Academy were rarely troubled as they cruised to a 25-13 first set win. Shaky on serve receive and committing far too many hitting errors, Richmond never really looked at the races.

Cheered on by a noisy partisan crowd, Richmond – who would later contest the U-18 men’s final as well – started to find their form in the second set, even if they were still missing a bit of hitting fluency. But Beach Academy simply came back stronger again, at one point winning four in a row from 7-8 down to reassert their early dominance.

Back came Richmond again but Beach Academy repeated their four point trick from 15-17 down, a run which included a wonderful scrambling save from Anaya Evans, with court side advertising hoardings being demolished in the process. That proved to be a momentum changer as Beach Academy subsequently took the second set as Fallow again came up with the goods from the service line; consecutive serves proving too good for Richmond and sealing a 25-23 win.

Everything changed in the third set however. From nowhere, Richmond established a 16-7 lead at the second technical time-out; Beach Academy’s apparent befuddlement being made clear in being called for a rotational error to go further behind. From there, Richmond only needed to trade points to close out the set, which they duly did 25-14, courtesy of a second Academy rotational error and a booming back row winner from Martha Bullen.

Suitably stung into life, Beach Academy were in no mood to give their opponents any more room for further improvement. Where they were sloppy in the third, they were clinical in the fourth, going 8-1 and then 16-6 up en route to a comfortable 25-14 victory of their own, with MVP Helen Farr proving unstoppable at times.

There was a brief wobble when a series of Bullen serves brought Richmond within eight points but the revival was brought to an end at 22-14. A powerful hit from the outside by Daniella Webb, followed by an un-returnable serve from Nicole Short got the Beach Academy over the line as the double-winning celebrations began.

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