25 August 2012
Troon beach was a perfect setting for the finale of the 2012 SVA Beach Volleyball Tour, as the Ayrshire Open drew teams from all around the country in a last search for valuable ranking points on the way to the overall championship title.
Heavy overnight rain had made the sand hard, and three-time Scottish beach champion Colin Paterson commented beforehand “This will be a day for the big boys”. And how right he was. 2011 champion Konrad Krawczyk knew that he had already lost the overall title, however paired for the first time this season with #4 ranked Jack McKeown, the duo won their group with some ease to qualify for the semi-final.
Krawczyk’s beach partner for a number years, Marius Chudzik, missed much of the season with work commitments, but, paired here for the first time with Bon Accord indoor team-mate Szymon Kepa, they showed sufficient guile and agility in the back court to overcome Colin Paterson and Graeme Spowart in the final pool match to take the qualifying group. Paterson and Spowart qualified as group runners-up, while the same-final lineup was completed by perhaps the surprise packet of the day in the shape of junior pairing Ally Green and Grant Gwynne. The pair, in their first-ever beach event, overcame some teams with vastly more beach experience to make it to the final four.
However the young duo was overwhelmed in the semi-final match with Chudzik and Kepa, losing out 21-10; 21-16. The other semi-final was much less clear-cut, as Krawczyk and McKeown were made to fight all the way by Paterson and Spowart, eventually emerging victors 22-20; 21-18.
And so to the final. And what a final. Krawczyk and McKeown were perhaps the bookies favourites, but Chudzik and Kepa battled magnificently to take the first set 21-18 in 22 minutes. Undaunted, Krawczyk and McKeown came out for the second set with all guns blazing, and held a commanding 16-10 lead, before the Aberdeen-based pair called a time-out. Whatever was said certainly paid dividends, as Chudzik and Kepa looked like new men after the interruption, clawing away at the lead, and taking a magnificent victory 24-22 in 32 minutes for their first tour win.
The womens competition was dominated by local girls Gillian Lyall and Elaine Krawczyk who maintained a 100% record through the qualifiers to set up a final with Olympic officials Sue Kee and Shelly Paterson. Kee and Paterson looked the part in phases, but the stronger defence and greater range of attacking shots displayed by Krawczyk and Lyall saw them thorough to victory, 21-16; 21-17 in 34 minutes.
A successful recreational event ran alongside the Ayrshire open, with a team of Active Schools Co-ordinators from Renfrew holding off the challenge of the team from Stewarton and a local select to win both 2v2 and 4v4 events.
As the dust settled, the overall awards for the 2012 Scottish Beach Volleyball Tour were made by SVA Board Member, Shelly Paterson. Victory at Girvan back in May and second places at Aberdeen, St Andrews and Broughty Ferry were more than enough to give the womens title to Anna Fischer for the first time, while the overall mens champion, for the fourth time was Colin Paterson, champion at Girvan and Aberdeen and beaten finalist at St Andrews, the Jets Open and the King of the Beach.