A huge weekend of Beach Volleyball action in Perth as the CEV SCA Zonal Tournament came to Scotland from August 11-13.
With 24 teams competing from seven nations, there was a fantastic pool of international talent for spectators to enjoy over the three competition days.
Friday saw all 10 of our Scottish pairs competing, with a number of memorable matchups between our athletes and dominant performances which culminated in 8 pairs qualifying for Saturday’s quarterfinals with Mclaughlin/Souter and Fowler/Morgan exiting the competition.
On the women’s side of the bracket, Barbour/Morrison safely navigated their way to the semifinals in straight sets and were later joined by Beattie/Wallace who showed their talent and experience when facing up against up-and-coming young Scottish pair Waldie/Wylie.
The last of our women’s quarterfinals saw Wroblewska/Gillies fall in a nail biting three sets match, leaving us with two women’s teams in the final four.
The men’s tournament offered similar intrigue – a gritty, back and forth match between Stewart/McKelvie & Mexson/McHardy was decided after 57 minutes of game time, with the latter claiming victory and moving on.
Meanwhile, Turnbull/Ramsay and McHardy/Fraser both fell in straight sets to strong opposition. These results meant Mexson/McHardy stood as the sole Scottish representative in the men’s competition.
Moving onto the semifinals, Barbour/Morrison kept their focus and with a dominant performance booked their place in Sunday’s final!
Unfortunately, Beattie/Wallace could not join them. Their match against the English pair of Palmer/Snow was a competitive, back and forth affair which after three sets – and an hour of gametime – was won by the English (21-19, 17-21, 15-13).
The result meant Beattie/Wallace would be competing against the Irish pair of Lamont/McNichols in the bronze medal match.
Mexson/McHardy faced a difficult matchup against strong opposition, but a dominant team performance ensured they would be playing for gold as they won in straight sets to confirm a matchup with Hilbert/Weber from Luxembourg.
In our third-place match, Beattie/Wallace came out firing and handled their business in a professional manner. Two quick sets (21-11, 21-11) made sure they left Perth with the bronze! One game down, two to go for our Scottish athletes.
Next up was Barbour/Morrison, who knew that claiming gold would mean victory over the pair who knocked out Beattie/Wallace in the semis. The match was one to remember, as a competitive spectacle saw the pair pushed to their limit against a well drilled opposition. As the final whistle blew, Scotland was victorious. Set scores of 21-18, 21-18 meant Barbour/Morrison had claimed the gold without dropping a set all weekend.
The final match of the tournament saw Mexson/McHardy facing off against Hilbert/Weber. Once again, it was a tight affair as the match swung back and forth, both teams proving they were deserving of be finalists, and proving their mettle!
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Scotland on the day, as Mexson/McHardy fell in two sets and claiming silver for the weekend (21-15, 21-18). It was a deserved victory for Hilbert/Weber who performed incredibly throughout the entire tournament!
Congratulations to all of our Scottish pairs – to see three teams on claiming podium spots is a testament to the talent and work rate of our athletes!
Margaret Ann Fleming, MBE, Scottish Volleyball CEO reflected highly of the weekend: “Through the rain and the sunshine, Scottish Volleyball delivered a wonderful event for the CEV Small Countries Association.
“As CEO I would like to thank all of our Scottish beach athletes, volunteers, our Special Events Commission, Perth beach club, officials, coaches and staff, for their outstanding contributions, to what was a truly enjoyable and rewarding event.
“Congratulations to all the Scottish teams and especially to our medal winning pairs”.
Blair Pettigrew, Interim Beach Performance Programme Manager added: “From a performance perspective, it was greatly satisfying to see three podium places across the programme.
“I’d like to put on record my thanks to all the team at Scottish Volleyball, the referees and volunteers that made the event happen.
“We had some really strong performances and some great exposure for a number of our teams. It was of course fantastic to see Katie and Rachel win without dropping a set all tournament in what was a real composed coming-of-age performance and I look forward to seeing them kick on and use these points to make a dent on the world stage.
“A special mention for David and Jamie taking the silver medal, in what was a great performance for as pairing that had spent so little time on the sand together.
“Lynne and Mhairi are another exciting pair for me and it’s great to see them medal in what was I think only their fourth competitive outing together, Mhairi’s transition to beach is still at an early stage and we are all looking forward to see how that partnership can develop.
“All in in all it was a very pleasing event and combined with some great performance from development athletes displays how much our Beach Programme has developed over the past 18 months”.
Thank you to everyone who came out to watch over the weekend, to the volunteers and officials who travelled each day to ensure the smooth running of everything day by day, Perth Volleyball Club for the use of the courts, our sponsors and CEV for making the event possible!
Finally, a big thanks to Lynne and Michael from volleyballphotos.co.uk for their amazing shots of the competing athletes throughout the weekend! You can buy their photos on their website.