Two Top Ten Finishes for Beach Teams
13th September 2016
ENGLAND’s top beach volleyball pairings were in action this weekend at the North European Volleyball Zonal Association (NEVZA) Beach Volleyball Championship in Oslo, Norway.
Seasoned duo, Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf got off to a good start to the competition after a fortunate forfeit from the opposition in the first round. The England pairing beat Sweden’s Herrmann/Annerstedt 2-0 in the second round and top Swedish pair Boman/Appelgren 2-0 in the third round for a testing match against the top seeds.
Despite their efforts, the top-class Norwegian power proved too much for England, as Gregory/Sheaf lost the match 21-17, 21-17 (2-0). England still had chance in the quarterfinals, but fell behind 21-14 in the first set. The boys fought back in the second (21-17) but narrowly lost 15-13 in the deciding set to claim fifth place overall.
Just two places behind were England’s number two team, Issa Batrane and Phil Smith, who finished in seventh place overall, after successful play through the rounds.
They had a tough first match in round two, facing the ultimate bronze medallists, Sweden’s Boman/Appelgren, who took the win in two sets 2-0 (21-16, 21-17).
In round three they saw themselves up against compatriots, Matt Hunter and Hadyn Lawson. Ranked 10 places higher, it was Batrane and Smith who took the win 2-0 after a closely fought second set (21-16, 23-21).
Batrane/Smith then saw off Sweden’s Herrmann/Annerstedt 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) and Denmark’s Abell/Trans 2-0 (24-22, 21-17) to find themselves in the play off for seventh place.
Unfortunately, Denmark’s Overgaard/Jonassen were too strong for the English side, and Batrane/Smith went down 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) to finish a very respectable seventh place.
England’s other two men’s teams, Sam Dunbavin/ Mark Garcia-Kidd and Matt Hunter/Hadyn Lawson shared 17th place overall.
Hunter/Lawson were first up for England against Overgaard/Jonassen. A tough first round draw saw them lose 2-0 despite staying within touching distance of their rivals (21-16, 21-18).
A bye in the next round saw them face their teammates Batrane/Smith in their final match which was won by the latter.
Dunbavin/Garcia-Kidd faced Sørum/Hansen of Norway in their first match, which they narrowly lost 2-0 (21-19, 21-19).
A bye in the next round saw them up against Sweden’s Frantzich/Tholse, who were ranked below the English pair, were too strong for Dunbavin/Garcia-Kidd with a final score of 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) to the Swedes.
In the women’s competition, England Victoria Palmer and Jessica Grimson finished 13th place overall after a closely fought affair in round four.
The pair received a bye on round one before facing Norway’s Pedersen and Olimstad in round two, going down 1-2 (21-13, 11-21, 10-15) the eventual bronze medallists.
Another bye in round three saw the pair matched against Ogren/Wahlén of Sweden. Palmer/Grimson had a strong first set to take an early lead 21-15 before the Swedes found their form in the second. A marathon second set saw the match level at 1-1 with a set score of 31-29 in Swedish favour.
With all to play for in the decider, it was neck and neck between the teams but ultimately the Swedish team took their chances and won 2-1 (15-21, 31-29, 15-13) with Grimson/Palmer in 13th place overall.
On their Facebook page, Gimson/Palmer said: “After our third round game, two three-set matches, a 31-29 set and a final loss we are left feeling extremely disappointed.
“We had some good opportunities that we did not take. Valuable points and lessons learned out here in Norway and time to pick ourselves up and work hard in preparation for our final events of the season.
“We have a good few weeks down time to put some work in.”