The set up for the St Andrews Beach Volleyball Championships always starts on the Friday evening, transforming the famous West Sands beach into a Beach Volleyball championship event venue. Marquee, Schelde centre court, beach courts and camping area all done by 10.30pm.
There appears to be a transformation happening on the beach with entries almost exclusively coming from dedicated beach players however St Andrews had the intriguing entry of British Olympic indoor team captain Lynne Beattie partnering continental player Laura McReady. The men’s Div1 was truly promising, last year’s finalist, Lenard Sobieracki was back with a new partner in Joel Orsinger, Callum Moir was back from the USA and is now probably the hardest hitter on the beach and partnered up with big blocking Jack McKeown however the favourites had to be Barry McGuigan and Graham Riddle. Late entry of last year’s national team indoor libero Mike Penny (libero’s seem to make good beach players) partnering up with Ian Cook could throw a spanner into the works.
The women’s 1st Div. produced the expected semi-finalists, with Mel Coutts /Natalja Durkatcha v Anna Fischer/Nicola McKenzie and Laura McReady/Lynne Beattie v Aileen Hall/Agata Zaremba. Mel and Natalja won through to meet Laura and Lynne. Mel and Natalja are still the pair to beat on the Scottish circuit maintaining their 100% winning record with a 2-0 set win. 3rd place went to Aileen and Agata with a 2-0 set win over Anna and Nicola.
The semi-finals of the Men’s Div.1 saw Barry McGuigan/Graham Riddle beat Jack McKeown/Callum Moir 2-0 while Lenard Sobieracki/Joel Orsinger won through against Mike Penny /Ian Cook. Barry and Graham beat Lennard and Joel 2-1 to become The St Andrews Beach Champions while Jack and Callum gained 3rd place.
The chance of turning up with volleyball skills and winning a beach event is becoming difficult, as the best beach players now have all round beach volleyball skills allied with excellent strength & conditioning. The improving Conner Boyle and Fraser Strachan, Scottish middle players, suffer from lack of serve reception practice, however once this is improved this pairing will cause problems for any beach team.
The 2nd division final was won by Matt Coward and Petr Kolozmarnik when at 1 set all Ryan Lula’s partner Ross Paterson aggravated a previous ankle injury and had to withdraw from the final.
My thanks go to Jack McKeown, Ryan Lula and girlfriend Sam, Kevin Amos, Callum Moir and Anna Fischer for all their help and giving up their time to set up the St Andrews Beach Volleyball Championship venue.
Women’s Champions Mel Coutts and Natalja Durkaca
2nd Lynne Beatie and Laura McReady
3rd Aileen Hall and Agata Zariman
4th Anna Fischer and Nicola McKenzie
Men’s Champions Barry McGuigan and Graham Riddle
2nd Lennard Sobieracki and Joel Orsinger
3rd Jack Mckeown and Callum Moir
4th Mike Penny and Ian Cook
Men’s 2nd Division Champions Matt Coward and Petr Kolozmarnik
2nd Ryan Lula and Ross Paterson
3rd Kevin Amos and Stuart Cosby.