FIVB World Under-21s Update
World Junior Qualifiers starts today. All GB teams straight into main draw, which starts tomorrow.
Seain Cook, from Perth, playing with his training partner from Bath, Adam Smith, started play on centre court in Blackpool today with a 3 set win over another GB team - Partick Gregory and Chris Crooks. Cook and Smith lost a close first set, but rallied in the second and third, taking the match 20-22, 21-8, 15-10. They now need one more win to progress to the next round.
The other British team in action in the men's main draw, Jake Sheaf and Josh Randall had a lot to live up to, being given the number one seeding in the competition. Unfortunately they lost the first set to a German pair, Stiel and Dollinger, 21-16, 21-14.
The women's main draw also started today. Sportset's Nick and Tracy Nelmes will be proud as their 15-year old daughter, Paige, stepped onto the international beach volleyball scene with her partner Annie Tinker, also 15. They found the going difficult though, losing 21-3, 21-4 to Vozakova-Chaika from Russia. Elizabeth Smith and Jessica Grimson found it equally hard going, losing their first match to van Gestel-Meppelink from the Netherlands, 21-8, 21-9.
Randall and Sheaf lost their second match of the day, 21-15, 21-16 to Tomás-Mahia of Spain.
Cook and Smith were on centre court again at 4pm, taking on the Norweigan pair Antonsen and Gamlemoen. The GB pair went into the techincal time-out 11-10 up in the first set but the break gave the Norweigans a kick and they took the set 21-18 with nothing between the teams. Cook and Smith didn't really get going in the second set after a good run of serves by Norway, which gave them a lead that was maintained all the way to take the second set 21-15 and the match 2-0.
Crooks and Gregory lost their second match in the pool to the Canadians, Steve Marshall and Sam Schachter, 21-14, 21-3, which puts Canada at the top of pool and Norway in second place with two to qualify. This leaves Smith and Cook needing a win over the unbeaten Canadians to stand any chance of qualifying to the next stage.
The GB junior women were in action first thing today, as Smith and Grimson lost their early match to the Canadians Whitaker-Krizmanich 21-11, 21-14. They lost their second match today as well to the Austrians Knöppel-Herndler, 21-11, 21-19 which eliminates them from the competition.
Tinker and Nelmes continued to struggle today as they lost 2-0 to both Spain and Brazil. At 15 years old they have many more years in this age group and will be sure to improve.
GB junior men kicked off at midday with Sheaf and Randall looking to get their first win of the event, however they failed to do so, losing 21-16, 21-9 to Brazil's Álvaro Filho-Vitor Felipe. It was a tough ask for the GB number 1 team as their pool contained two of the eventual semifinalists.
Seain Cook and Adam Smith needed a win today to stand any chance at all of progressing and the GB lads came out fighting, clearly up for the challenge. However when a couple of close decisions went against them they lost their rhythm and the first set 21-11. In the second set Cook and Smith continued to work hard, but the unbeaten Canadians, Marshall and Schachter won through with more consistent play and a fine display of power. Final score 21-11, 21-13.
Well done to all British teams and we look forward to seeing more juniors taking on World and European Tour teams in the future.