Ah ha – Troon (Now at Portobello) – what a great day we had on Saturday. Thanks to all those on the beach commission, staff in the office, players and helpers who made the event happen in such a short space of time– without you it would have been a pretty empty beach. So thank you.
Loading up the kit at half four on Saturday morning I thought to myself – bit early for this kinda nonsense and then I thought … hope the weather holds up and we have a good day. I’d drawn up the pools the night before and it looked on paper to be a good balanced competition – 15 pairs in the men’s and 9 pairs in the women’s.
Some new pairings had been forged and throughout the day we would get to see how the gelled.
To the beach we go. Parked up and started to unload. Me, 5 dog walkers, 1 runner, 1 cyclist. Thankfully the team of helpers arrived and the event started to take shape. The first set of nets went up in front of the swim centre in no time at all with another four nets going up on the other side of the break water. Control tent and sound system in place – we were ready to go.
Pools were announced and courts assigned.
As the day unfolded and results started filtering in to control – most games seemed to be going to script with some close encounters.
Women’s pool games played out according to script(ish) with a slight hiccup in pool 3 where top pool seeds Marcinska & Michalik came unstuck against Mclean & Barbour – that’s beach for you.
Into the play-offs, top 2 pairings from each pool going into top tier with the remainder into the bottom tier.
In the men’s lower tier placings Ram Shretha & Nikola Boyadgiev won comfortably against Tao-Ho Chang & Peter Szabo ; Mark Biesta & Tabriz Atabak Ghanizadeh showed grit and determination to beat Matus Bachan & Alexander Cassola 16-14, 17-15; Hsun Li & Anton Polishchuk claimed the spoils over Roy Buchanan & Sam Kirke.
In the women’s quarter finals Sharon Versteeg & Maria Manolopoulou had to play well to win over Anna Fischer & Michelle Paterson (15-12, 15-11) and Kirsty McLean & Katie Barbour won over Karolina Punovuori & Emilia Marciszewska. Semi finals saw pool 2 winners Monika Krysinska & Paulina Gapska play Sharon Versteeg & Maria Manolopoulou, Versteeg & Manolopoulou winning 15-11, 15-9. In the other semi final Cathy Smy & Jo Morgan had to turn up the heat to win over Kirsty McLean & Katie Barbour – a deserved slot in the final for Smy & Morgan. First set in the final was a close run affair with Smy & Morgan pipping Versteeg & Manolopoulou 22-20 – if only that serve had gone in …. Second set in the final was bit more one sided with Smy & Morgan reeping the rewards with a 21-15 win. Ladies and gentlemen your ladies champions – Cathy Smy & Jo Morgan.
In the men’s top tier there were a couple of close quarter final clashes – Paterson & McKeown pipped Spowart & Panayiotakis 2-1 to secure a semi final slot against McHardy & Camponeschi (who beat Arthur & Darling in their ¼ final). Thomas Barr & Codey Forrest played out of their skins to claim a 2-1 victory over Timothy Kirk & Daniel White and in the other quarter and beach rookies Janahan Balasubramaniam & Mathieu Patureau were taught a valuable lesson at the hands of number one seeds Tomasz Laba & Lenard Sobieracki – great thing is that all these players now have FIVB world ranking points – you are global beach volleyball players.
The semi finals saw now tournament favourites McHardy & Camponeschi conquer McKeown & Paterson. In the other semi final Thomas Barr & Codey Forrest really did have their work cut out against Tomasz Laba & Lenard Sobieracki. The gathered crowds were wowed by some exceptional defensive play from Barr & Codey and despite a severe cramping in Barr’s right calf, quad & hamstring (we feel your pain) the pair soldiered on valiantly. Unfortunately, their dream was not to be realised as they headed to a 3rd/4th play off against Paterson & McKeown – a match saw the old guard come out on top again. So, Paterson/McKeown 3rd Barr/Forrest 4th.
The Mens final produced some great beach play with both pairs showing depth and experience. Tactics were in play right from the start with Laba & Sobieracki positional serving asking questions of the opponents. At the net McHardy’s block proved to be a major obstacle and made covering easier for Camponeschi. On offense Camponeschi found success in the corners. As the first set unfurled and the pairs increased their intensity McHardy & Camponeschi really hit their stride in the closing stages to take the set 21-18. Second set saw points being traded but a run of serves from McHardy opened a slight gap and this proved too much for Lenard & Tomasz. Jamie & Andrea took the second set and the final 21-15.
It was a good day. The crowds enjoyed it. The players enjoyed it. The wee green van man certainly enjoyed it. Thanks again to all those who took part and those who helped derig – thank you once again.
Troon @ Portobello 2016
Article with pool results and final positions DOWNLOAD PDF