England Women triumph with Scotland Qualifying too

England beat Scotland by 2 victories to 1 in a close final of second-round Pool B in the women’s 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup to win the pool and reach the third round.  Host Scotland secured the second place by beating Northern Ireland by 2 victories to none and also advanced in the competition, which eventually leads to Olympic qualification.

Scotland 1, England 2
Scotland mixed up their pairing for the decisive match with Lynne Beattie and Shauna Mullin joining forces – Beattie up against her former Great Britain indoor teammate Victoria Palmer.  England sped to a 3-0 lead in the first set, but Scotland hit back and a tip by Beattie gave them some momentum at 16-14.  Another intelligent shot from Great Britain’s Olympic indoor captain pushed Scotland to 20-18, but the English pair dug deep to win the next four points, clinching the set on a Scottish communication error.  The second set was just as tight – this time Scotland jumped to a 3-0 lead, but England powered back.  Scotland led by 14-13, but it was to be the last time in the set they held an advantage as England pulled through to 21-17 after a block from Jessica Grimson gave them match point and Palmer put away the final point.  Earlier, Palmer / Grimson had beaten Shauna Mullin / Anneka Hastings by 2:0 (21-18, 21-9) and Lynne Beattie / Gillian Lyall had beaten Yasmin Kaashoek / Grace Lazard by 2:0 (21-15, 21-14). 

Victoria Palmer, player of England:  “It was amazing playing against Lynne as she was always such a great teammate indoors.  It is nice to see her on the sand and I hope she gets more involved.  It is such a different game and it was so nice to see her on the other side of the court.”

Scotland 2, Northern Ireland 0
Scotland secured the second qualifying place with a comfortable win over Northern Ireland.  Shauna Mullin / Anneka Hastings beat Rhian McCarroll / Cait Donnelly by 2:0 (21-11, 21-5).  Hastings finished off both set points with Scotland in command.  Lynne Beattie / Gillian Lyall settled it with a 2:0 (21-8, 21-13) win over Catherine Toye / Melissa Taylor.  Taylor suffered a calf injury at 13-8 to Scotland in the second set, leading to another medical time-out.  She was able to resume, but it only delayed the inevitable.
Lynne Beattie, player of Scotland:  “It has been a phenomenal weekend.  To play at any time for your country is special.  I do not think it could have been a better weekend – to qualify against such good opposition is great.”