The final event in the Scottish Beach Tour started at 7am on Saturday morning on Portobello beach with the setting up of the courts for the following two days of beach volleyball. This event was made possible because of the support of Jets Volleyball Club, the largest volleyball club in Scotland who are aiming to expand further by developing junior players in schools throughout Edinburgh. The event was also supported by Activcity which is an initiative of City of Edinburgh Council and whose aim is to promote sporting and physical activity events throughout the city.
Saturday’s main event was for men’s and women’s 2s and although several of the top players from the tour were missing a number of new players were in attendance promising to keep up standards. This included an Australian men’s pair fresh from playing in the World Tour event in Norway.
Play on the women’s courts started promptly at 10am with top seeds Carina Hemmers and Ulla Barnick hoping to repeat earlier successes after winning at the Broughty Ferry tour event. Ulla was also the winner of the women’s event in St Andrews, King and Queen of the Beach. Victory at the Jets Beach event would mean that Ulla would be the overall Scottish Beach Tour women’s champion.
Carina and Ulla certainly lived up to their seeding and after some tough matches they made it through to the finals. There they met Dianne Ferry and Johanna Holton who although playing in their first tour event of the summer had beaten seed pairs to make it through to the final. The experience of Carina and Ulla however told as the final progressed and this victory secured 1st place in the Scottish Beach Tour for Ulla and a joint second place in the tour for her beach partner Carina with Michelle Paterson.
In the men’s event play started with all the men’s top seeds winning however as the morning progressed Graeme Spowart and Freddy Fairbairn caused the first upset of the day with victory over the event top seeds Jack McKeown and Konard Krawczyk.
In the quarter finals Jack and Konard found their form again however and the Scot and Pole beat other Scot and Pole pairing of Barry Robertson and Daniel Najdrowski. This victory provided the event with a great semi final of the top seeds against the Australia pairing of Ben Nichols and Ryan Carter.
Although new to the conditions at Portobello the Australian pair displayed great skill to win through to the final. There they met Martyn Johnstone, who was brought up a few miles up the coast in Prestonpans and Marcin Krakowski. Although in their first tour event of the year this pair had previous experience and they had quickly re-learned their way about the courts putting out Sam Paaka and Jamie Salvin in the quarter finals and other local player Graeme Spowart and Freddy Fairbairn in the semi finals.
The finals lived up to expectations with both teams mixing power and intelligence in attack. The depth of experience of the Australian pair however came through as the sets progressed and they beat the Jets Volleyball Club pair to claim victory in the final event of the Scottish Beach Tour.
A huge thanks goes to the members of Jets Volleyball Club and Activcity. Without their support this beach event wouldn’t have been possible. In addition the organisers would like to thank Nina Bauer for her fantastic effort in refereeing throughout the event.
Although the 2 a side event was the main focus of the Scottish Beach Tour element of the Jets Open on the Saturday there was also a hugely successful recreational court run throughout the Saturday which was filled by regular volleyballers, juniors and passers by interested in finding out more. The 2s event provides a focus which helps greatly in attracting new people into sport.
After the great weather during the 2s event on Saturday the chances of similar conditions didn’t look great as rain battered Edinburgh on Saturday night. As the sun rose on Sunday however it was clear that conditions were going to be even better.
With the mixed 4s event format on the Sunday more relaxed that the 2s event players from all round Edinburgh and Scotland showed up from 10am. Some players turned up already in teams and others were happy to be put into teams on the day. By 11am the mixed 4s event was ready to start and with as many people showing up on the Sunday as the Saturday it meant that the Jets Beach Volleyball Open supported by Activcity was the biggest beach volleyball event in Scotland in 2010.
Although the format of the mixed 4s event is more relaxed the matches were just as competitive and the semi finals were made up of 4 teams from different clubs around Edinburgh. In the first semi final the NUVOC team met Linlithgow. Both teams have met indoors regularly throughout the year in the Edinburgh District League but who was going to win on the beach. Both teams certainly wanted to win but it was the NUVOC team which finally won through to the final. There they would meet the winner of Jets Volleyball Club against Set on the Beach – a team made up of students from Heriot Watt. The match was certainly close with strong serving from both teams. This meant that the lead swung from team to team throughout the match and neither team could be sure of victory. Going into the final set Jets took a huge lead and looked certain to win however the opposition had other ideas and levelled the match. How every point mattered and both teams put everything into getting match point. In the end it was the Jets team who won through to the final although both teams had had chances.
In the final the Jets team met other Edinburgh club NUVOC. Both teams had met earlier in the day and the NUVOC team was able to maintain its’ unbeaten record on the day with another victory.
Thanks goes to everyone who played and helped out over the weekend. Hopefully we can make the event bigger and better next summer. Keep your fingers crossed for the weather.