A busy weekend at Kyle Academy in Ayr has seen the completion of Pool F of the women’s Beach Nations Cup for 2023. With teams coming from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland and Scotland, it was sure to be an exciting competition for all involved.
Day 1 of the Beach National Cup Pool F in Ayr was certainly a big success, with high intensity rallies and stunning serves throughout the day! During four games played over the afternoon, the atmosphere was electric with large crowds gathering for all the games and supporting not only our home teams but also those from further afield.
The first of the matches saw the home nation, Scotland, take on a strong Czechia pair. With some intense rallies and sting serves, it was the Czechia pair, Hermannova/Stochlova, who took both sets from their match against Scotland’s Barbour/Morrison. Their strong serves and ability to find spaces in their opponents’ court helped lead them to their victory. The next match saw Scotland and Czechia go head to head yet again, this time with their second set of teams competing to win. This was a closer game, with both teams showing great skill and understanding of the game. There were some impressive blocks from the Scotland team, Beattie/Agnew, which led to the Czechia team, Havelkova/Slokova, becoming more creative with their attacks and ultimately leading to their 2-0 win over Scotland.
The next two games saw Kociolek/Lodej from Poland take on Piret/Bex from Belgium. The first of these games featured a young team from Belgium making their senior international debut. Despite the age difference, the Belgium team kept up and played well against the more experienced Polish team. Belgium had a strong block and serve which was countered by the feisty defence of the Polish pair. After two intense sets, Poland took the win 2-0 over Belgium. The final game was the closest and most intense of the day, with two very experienced and tactful teams going head to head. The first set ran up to 23-21 with Poland, Gruszczynska/Wachowicz, eventually taking the winning points and beating Belgium’s Van Der Vonder/Maertens. An equally close second set saw the two teams fight until the end, leaving everything on the court. Poland took the second set and won 2-0 to take the match.
Day 2 of the Beach National Cup Pool F in Ayr offered the same excitement and talent of day 1! A high standard was set from the get-go, with the 9am game between Czechia and Belgium offering a thrill for the fans watching both in person and through the livestreaming on offer.
Czechia duo, Hermannova/Stochlova, were pushed by their young Belgian opponents but took both sets from their match up against Piret/Bex. Their experience proved vital as they controlled the game through moments of adversity on their way to securing victory in set one, 21-19, before pulling away for a more comfortable second set to ensure the first win of the day. This was followed by an enticing matchup between Havelkova/Slokova and Van Der Vonder/Maertens. An impressive opening set from the Belgians saw them ahead 1-0 as they came out the gates fast, securing a 21-11 first set. However, once again the experience and talent of the coveted Czechia pair proved to be too much as they came back to win 21-18 in set two before ensuring the win in set 3 with a 15-9 final score.
The next two games saw Kociolek/Lodej from Poland take on Scottish pair Morrison/Barbour. The Scots withstood an initial storm but ultimately lost 21-5 in the first set. A much closer second game saw the Polish duo pushed to the very end, overcoming a resurgent Scottish performance on their way to winning 21-15. This was followed by a dominant performance as Gruszczynska/Wachowicz won relatively comfortably against Beattie/Agnew as the Scots put up a valiant display before ultimately losing in straight sets (21-6, 21-12). These results meant the final was a highly anticipated matchup between Czechia and Poland!
The first of the games in the final saw Hermannova/Stochlova (CZE) facing off against Kociolek/Lodej (POL). In front of a great live audience, both pairs put in an entertaining and competitive display, showcasing the talent that had got them to this point. It was back and forth the entire way, with Poland eventually taking set one 21-19. Czechia came out in set two fired up and a mixture of great court awareness and incredible athleticism saw them claim set two 21-17. The final set was once again down to the wire, with the teams working to outdo each other with on a play-y-play basis. The eventual winner was Poland, by a score of 20-18, meaning we were potentially one game away from crowning our champion.
The Poland pair of Gruszczynska/Wachowicz knew if they could claim victory they would be going home with the trophy! They got off to a hot start against the talented and eager Czechia duo Havelkova/Slukova, asserting their dominance winning the opening set 21-15. The strength of the Czech’s was undeniable in set two as they came out with the intensity needed to stretch the game out. However, despite their play, Poland stayed in the game, which was tight as it reached the end, with both teams tied at 19. The decider came as a strong spike ricocheted off of the net, deflecting out of bounds. The set was over, with Poland standing as the champion.
Margaret Ann Fleming (MBE), CEO of Scottish Volleyball had this to say: “What a fabulous event this was, it has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to have been the host organiser for European Volleyball.
“South Ayrshire weather and the spectators were kind and generous both in their support and participation over this weekend. Scottish Volleyball would like to thank South Ayrshire Council, Kyle Academy, the University of the West of Scotland, Scaffolding Access and Supplies, QTV, Zeon Teamwear, SportScotland, CEV and all of the participating teams, volunteers, players, coaches, officials, staff and the board of Scottish Volleyball.”
You can find links to photos taken by volleyballphotos.co.uk here: