|Blaze Pair Claim Victory in Home Event|
|Published: 9 Jun 2012|
Saturday 9th June saw Ballymoney Blaze host the largest senior beach volleyball event ever seen on these shores, with no fewer than 27 teams taking part, 16 men’s teams and 11 ladies.
Competition was fierce from the outset, with seedings based on last year’s results, some teams were out to show that they were better than their low position.
In the men’s section top seeds and blaze locals looked in top form as they easily made their way through the pack to the quarter finals, where they came up against Nick Wright & American import Anthony Spittle, in what proved to the be the closest pairing of the day as the deciding set ran to double the expected length with Wright & Spittle eventually coming out on top 31-29. However, the double elimination format threw the blaze pairing a lifeline as they went to the loser’s side of the bracket and after a scare against a very good Irish pairing in the semi-final, eventually made their way to the final where they once again came up against Spittle & Wright. The match again ran to 3 sets, this time the local pair were able to come through and claim the title for the second year running.
In the ladies section, top seeds and last year’s winners Irena Mihneva and Joanna Wiezowska found the early going tough as they came up against the American pairing of Erin Schreck & Erin Madden, who were seeded lowly after not playing in last year’s tour. The American pair became the first team to ever defeat Mihneva & Wiezowska on the Portrush beach. Again the double elimination format came to the saviour of the top seeds as Mihneva and Wiezowska made their way through the pack to once again meet the American pair in the final. Again, however, the Americans proved too strong and came away with a 2-0 victory to claim the Blaze Open Title.
Special Mention should go to Blaze pairing Kerry Kirkpatrick & Alice Harkness who battled against their lowly seeding to finish third in the event, proving that the local girls can compete on the sand too!
MVP’s for the event were: Anthony Spittle and Erin Madden
Organiser Johnny McClenaghan said after the event “It was great to see so many people turn out for the event. This is just the first event of the tour this year and I hope it can only get bigger and better from here, especially with this being Olympic year. It would be great to show the public the opportunities there are out there to play volleyball in this country, including our second beach event on Saturday 25th August.”
“I would like to thank Nick Wright and Wilson Greenlee from NIVA for their help with the event, Alan Templeton for lending us some of the equipment for the day, David Park & Jonny Workman for helping to run the event on the day and Tara Cunningham & Christine McKee from Coleraine Borough Council for all their help before the event.”
Anyone wishing to get more info on volleyball, or who is interested in joining the local club can contact Johnny on 07817061634 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Results from the event are as follows:
1. Jonathan Workman & Alan McKnight
2. Nick Wright & Anthony Spittle
3. Rimas Peciukevicius & Sergej Rodin
4. Benny O'Regan & Jonathan Whitty
David Park & Callum Currie
Peter Stewart & Graeme Currie
Connor Doherty & William Robb
Peter Marshall & Richard Surgenor
Kuba Kolos & Paddy Fleetwood
Niall Madden & Enda Miley
Jordan Stanev & Georgi Vasilev
Stephen White & Aaron McKendry
Niall Burton & Matthew Rodgers
David Spence & William McKnight
Matthew Scott & Johnny McClenaghan
Jason Smith & Matthew Bertenshaw
1. Erin Madden & Erin Schreck
2. Irena Mihneva & Joanna Wiezowska
3. Kerry Kirkpatrick & Alice Harkness
4. Lucy Moore & Zoe Moore
Chloe Walkingshaw & Mel Traynor
Tina Debeljak & Keissy Guerra
Caroline Goodliffe & Caitlin de Jode
Rebecca Archer & Zoe Wethers
Judith Edgar & Sorcha Maguire
Teanna Mills & Clare Scott
Hannah Witherow & Nicola Cochrane