VEBT Finals Results
27th August 2013
After a summer packed full of beach volleyball action, the VEBT Finals provided a fitting high quality end to the Volleyball England Beach Tour. After a long season travelling around the country, the players gathered for the final time in Margate to provide a thrilling finale to the season.
The top 16 pairs from the tour were, for the first time this year, drawn into pools of 4 with the top 3 in each pool progressing to the knockout stages. In the women’s draw, Weymouth Division 2 winners Catherine and Gwen Thornton were unfortunate to lose their first game against one of the higher seeds in their group as they went down 21-19, 17-21, 15-13 to Elina Treija and Katarzyna Drozdziel, however they came back fighting in their second game, toppling first seeds Ferretti/Mierture in straight sets 21-16, 21-17. In what was one of the games of the day, second seeds Mel Coutts (playing with a heavily strapped knee) and Denise Austin beat Olympian Shauna Mullin and partner Alex Vajdova 21-15, 28-26. The win sent Coutts/Austin straight through to the quarters, while Mullin/Vajdova were left to battle their way through the first round of the knockouts. Treija/Drozdiel matched the Thornton’s win over the top seeds, with their reward being a place in the quarter finals. A two set win against Rogat/Sim Sim meant they made the semi finals for the first time this year. In the fading light of Saturday evening, Great Yarmouth winners Jurikova/Healy also made the semi finals beating Coutts/Austin in straight sets while Mullin/Vajdova beat Weymouth winners Laura Plonka and Gabi Medricka in three after sneaking the second set 23-21.
In the men’s event, top seeds Carl Butcher and Mark Garcia Kidd started with a win, although it wasn’t plain sailing after losing the first set to Jose Martinez and Ryan Turner. The latter did manage to register a win later in the day, beating Hartnoll/Lawson 21-19, 22-20, earning themselves a place in the knockout round. GB Olympian Dan Hunter, playing with Andy Clayton, won all 3 pool matches including one against younger brother Matt. A quarter final win against one of the most consistent pairs of the tour in Datler/Baechli booked their semi final spot against the GB pairing of Tom Lord and Phil Smith.
After a long days play, the VEBT Awards took place on Saturday evening where the players and Volleyball England Beach Volleyball Advisory Group voted for player’s of the year in various categories. A full list of the award winners can be found here.
The weather took a turn for the better on the Sunday, as the warm and sunny conditions attracted a big crowd, filling all 3 grandstands and the promenade surrounding centre court. First up were the women’s semi finals. Czinegeova/Gless proved too strong for Treija/Drozdziel winning comfortably in two set, while Mullin/Vajdova managed to win two very close sets against Jurikova/Healy 21-19, 22-20. In the men’s semi finals, top seeds Bucther/Garcia-Kidd went down to Gregory/Sheaf while Lord/Smith beat Hunter/Clayton to set up a mouth watering final between two of GB’s finest pairs.
The junior finals were next up on centre, with new comers Catarina Machado and Elisa Hill taking on Ellie Austin and Edith Waterman. Some fantastic rallies kept the crowds entertained as Machado/Hill took the title in 3 sets. In the boys final, Will Hartnoll and Haydn Lawson took on LeAF Academy players Sam Walrond and Vasilis Mandilaris in what was another 3 set thriller. The boys from LeAF took the opening set but the pair from PETROC, who have had some good results in the senior competition this season, hit back to take it to a decider. It could have gone either way, but Hartnoll and Lawson sealed the victory 18-16 in the third.
In the women’s final, Mullin/Vajdova took the first set 21-18 after the score swung back and forth in both team’s favour. Czinegeova/Gless upped their game in the second set, winning 21-16. A tense final set saw both teams edge closer and closer to the title, but it was Czinegeova and Gless who edged it 17-15. The men’s final was a show of big hitting coupled with superb defence as both pairs utilized all their skills in a bid to be crowned tour champions. Sheaf/Gregory won the first set 21-19 and never looked back as they closed out the second 21-16.
A huge thank you must go to Thanet District Council for their effort and support in hosting the VEBT Finals for the first time as well as the countless volunteers who contributed towards the smooth running of the event over the course of the weekend.
For the full list of results, please click here.
For further information on the tour, please click here.