10 Jun 2024

UKBT Club Championships review

UKBT Club Championships review

Deep Dish Bournemouth (women) and Fireball North Devon (men) headline a sunny weekend of beach action at the UKBT Club Championships with Deep Dish Crystal Palace claiming the overall title.

For the second year, UKBT hosted the Club Championships in partnership with Deep Dish Bournemouth at Sandbanks Beach in Poole. With teams in with a chance to play in the CEV Beach European Cup 2024 if successful. 


 The weekend saw over 100 teams taking part in a continental sylte tournament where two pairs would go up against another team of two pairs with a best of three format. 

If teams dew in the first two matches there would be a golden set decider (the same as Nations Cup) meaning the chance of some upsets and thrilling games were always on the cards. 

Last year’s winners Deep Dish Crystal Palace were looking to repeat their success in both the men’s and women’s competitions as well as the mixed pairs on Sunday. 

They started off well topping their group in the men’s pool with the female team finishing narrowly behind Fireball North Devon in second place. 

North Devon started on a good run with the men’s team of Dunbavin/Morgan and Brett/Hebard with their first matches against Everton. 

They followed this with a tough battle against Oxford which required a Golden set to decide the winner and with a score line of 15-4 North Devon kept their record going. 

Deep Dish Crystal Palace were also keeping their hopes alive for back to back championship titles and the chance to play in the CEV European Club Competition with victories over Edinburgh, Skyball and Invicta in the pool stages. 

Their south coast team mates from Deep Dish Bournemouth were also in contention with a clinical pairing of Lycett /Gleed and Hunter/Topalov seeing them win all three of their pool matches with neither pair dropping a set. 

The quarter-finals for the men’s competition saw Fireball North Devon start the morning off against Richmond. 

The first match between Dunbavin and Morgan from Fireball and Harsum and Maghur from Richmond was a strong showing from the South west side but were then pushed back in the second match between Brett/Hebard and Sanders/Stambolliu with a golden set needed to decide who went through to the next round. 

Richmond dug deep but just missed out with the golden set going against them finishing 15-11. 

Fireball would then go onto face Edinburgh in the semi-final after the Scotish side took their tie 2-1 after a Golden set against Cardiff. 

Another Golden set was needed with the Scotland team missing out in the first match but then battling back in the second but just falling short with a 15-12 scoreline putting Fireaball into the men’s final. 

Photo - Jon Cornish

On another court Deep Dish Bournemouth had to take on their own challenge of their Lodnon rivals from Crystal Palace in a vital golden set to decide the final after both teams made it to the semi-fials after winning in their quarter-finals. 

Crystal Palace were successful against Fireball London and Bournemouth progressed after a strong performance against the Brighton side of Yellowave. 

With very little between the two teams, the first game went to Bournemouth (21-16, 21-19) but Crystal Palace hit back in the second match (21-18, 21-18). 

The golden set was spectacular with it neck and neck but Bournemouth were just able to edge out the London team 15-12. 

This meant that the two teams would face each other for the second time in the weekend with Bournemouth looking for revenge after they lost out in a golden set in the pool phases. 

The first game between Dunbavin/Morgan and Lycett /Gleed saw both teams push hard with Fireball coming from 1-0 down to take the match in three sets 2-1.

Photo - Jon Cornish

The more experienced pair of Hunter/Topalov from Bournemouth took the second match more comfortably meaning another golden set was required to crown the champions of the men’s competition. 

But it was the team from Devon who were able to snatch victory and claim the men’s title and vital points for the overall standings. 

The women’s competition was running alongside the men’s and was even more spectacular with 6 pool games needing deciding golden sets to split teams. 

Fireball North Devon had some great caliber on their team with two England internationals pairing up both at different stages of their volleyball career. 

Molly Quinn who aged just 14 will represent England at the U18 NEVZA competition in Bridlington at the end of the month played alongside Anaya Evans, who represented England at the Nations Cup last month alongside her partner Katie Keefe in Madrid for Fireball North Devon. 

Katie represented Richond over the weekend and Kirsty Star, after coming off the back of a silver medal for Bournemouth University in BUCS on Friday paired up with Victoria Palmer for Deep Dish Bournemouth so the caliber of players on show was nothing to be ignored. 

North Devon started well with a victory over Cardiff in their first pool match which they then followed with a convincing win over their South West Rivals of Fireball South West, with both pairs of Quinn/Evans and Morgan/Webb-Porto not conceding more than 16 points in any of their sets. 

They rounded out their day with another strong performance over Deep Dish Crystal Palace showcasing their speed and strong shot selection to finish day one unbeaten and not needing any golden sets to take them into the quarter finals. 

Their capital counterparts Fireball London were also cooking up a storm with victories over Invicta, Yellowave, but narrowly missed out on a flawless Saturday with a loss to Richmond which required all sets to decide a winner. 

This meant that if both Fireball teams won their quarter final it would set up a all Fireball semi-final. 

Photo - Jon Cornish

Saturday also saw a flawless performance for Deep Dish Bournemouth, with success over Deep Dish St Albans (fielding their first team at the Club Championships), Skyball and Everton. 

This put them into a quarter-final against Cardiff who had only lost one match to Crystal Palace. 

However, the skill of Bournemouth saw them progress into the semi-final where they would face Richmond. 

Despite an injury to Kirsty Star in the third set of their match Bournemouth were able to scrape through in a vital golden set which broke Richmond's hearts with the score finishing 15-13. 

Fireball London and North Devon had been successful in their quarter-final meaning they met in the semi-final which was another thrilling match. 

Starting strong the London pair of Tussis/Berstautaite took the first set off North Devon however, they fought back in the second and third set taking it 21-15 in the second and 15-12 in the third. 

This meant the pressure was on Morgan/Webb-Porto to win to avoid a deciding race to 15 set. 

This pressure did not affect the North Devon pair and took the second match comfortably with a 21-17, 21-6 scoreline. 

The final was now set with Fireball North Devon looking to repeat the men but Deep Dish Bournemouth looking to claim the title on home sand. 

The match started strong with Palmer/Star taking the first match convincingly with their experience paying off with a 21-19, 21-11 scoreline. 

Morgan and Webb-Porto did all they could to try and take the match to a golden set but they fell just short of the line with a 21-17 21-14 scoreline going against them and handing the title to Deep Dish Bournemouth. 

Deep Dish Bournemouth - Photo by Jon Cornish

Both teams that won the men’s and women’s championships will now have the opportunity to compete in the CEV Beach Volley European Cup in 2024 after the UKBT Club Championships has been sanctioned as an official qualifier for the prestigious club competition by European Volleyball's governing body. More information can be found here

With multiple other tournaments taking place as well across the weekend all teams were competing for the accolade of best overall club in the UK with each team gaining points depending on their results in trophy tournaments and mixed pairs. 

Once all the points from each team had been calculated the over all winner of the UKBT Club Championships was Deep Dish Crystal Palace with Deep Dish Bournemouth finishing second and Cardiff third. 

Full results from the weekend can be viewed here

The NEVZA Youth Beach Championships are only two weeks away with 16 teams representing England. The tournament is being held at South Beach in Bridlington with competition starting on the 25th of June. 

It is free to attend and the week promises some great competition. More information about the competition can be found here.

With the beach season in full swing keep up to date with all the action across our social channels. InstagramFacebookTikTok and Twitter.