New Beach Tour launched for 2017
28th April 2017
A new-look, much-expanded Volleyball England Beach Tour (VEBT) may well be coming to a beach near you this summer, providing the chance for hundreds more players to pick up VEBT ranking points during the beach season.
Historically, the VEBT included only five of the summer’s top elite competitions but it is now expanding to include a whole host of smaller tournaments.
Tournaments will be given a star rating (from one star for the smallest tournaments up to five for the showcase events) with VEBT ranking points available to competitors at all events.
With the popularity of beach volleyball steadily growing across the country, the revamped Tour intends to provide a more accessible and inclusive competition framework, where players of all standards can compete for ranking points and prizes.
As part of this radical change, numerous tournament organisers have agreed to bring their events under the VEBT umbrella. In addition, applications for new tournaments from clubs and other interested parties are still being processed.
There are currently four 5-star events in the summer schedule, with negotiations still taking place over two more. In addition, there are enough 1-4 star tournaments already inked in to ensure that committed enthusiasts should be able to enter a competition somewhere in the country most weekends.
The Tour schedule is designed to finish with a Finals weekend and Awards night in Bournemouth on the August Bank Holiday weekend. This will also feature a Plate competition, allowing the lower ranked players to have their moment in the spotlight too.
Explaining the changes, Jake Sheaf, director of Deep Dish Beach Volleyball and one half of England’s #1 beach volleyball pair, alongside Chris Gregory, said: “We all know that volleyball in this country is going through some necessary changes but this is a great opportunity to take what was already a good product for elite players and turn it into something bigger, better and more accessible.”
“We’ve had to move really quickly to get things in place for this season but I’m delighted that we’ve got all of the big competition organisers onboard. It’s not just about Deep Dish or SideOut; we’ve also got Weymouth onboard and the organisers of the Yorkshire beach series. As well as the 5-star events which will attract the top players, we’ve also got smaller events, including eight 1 or 2-star events already. These are the events which may previously have appealed only to lower level players but they’re nevertheless really well supported and it’s only right that they should be part of our overall competition structure too.”
The star ranking system provides organisers with a strict set of criteria which will determine what ranking they are given – and how many ranking points players can therefore earn at their event. A single gender, one day tournament, featuring at least eight teams could qualify for a single star ranking. A similar event run across at least three courts and with a minimum of two 8 team draws could attract three stars, whereas a 5-star event would require show courts, branding, pool play and knock-out play across two days.
Sheaf continued: “It’s so encouraging to see new beach clubs being set up, allowing players to play the game for the first time. So why shouldn’t these people have the chance to play on the VEBT and gain national ranking points? That’s why I’m particularly excited about the Plate competition we’ll run on the final weekend of the programme. For the players who are regularly picking up points in some of the lower divisional classifications, that will be their chance to take centre stage.”
Even at this late stage, applications for new tournaments are still being taken – but only until May 5. Organisers who are interested in running a VEBT competition can find more information here as well as the event hosting application form here.
A full list of all events will be published imminently, once the event vetting process is concluded. Players wanting to enter these competitions will need to do so via the individual tournament websites, not via Volleyball England.