Fantastic performances by both women’s teams in Slovenia on Day 1 of the Continental Cup. Shauna Mullin and Anneka Hastings started the show with a convincing 2-0 win against Northern Ireland, 21-5 21-7 and this was closely followed by a similar win by Gillian Lyall and Lynne Beattie who saw off Ireland’s other team 21-9 21-12. Both achieving their first international caps in beach volleyball.
Next up, the small matter of number 1 seeds Norway. Gillian and Lynne were up first this time and played with great confidence and determination throughout the whole game. All credit to both of them they went off with a 2-0 loss 21-12 21-12.
Shauna and Anneka played next and came prepared with an excellent game plan. They won the first set, then struggled to maintain their form although they never gave up. They eventually lost 17-21, 21-13, 15-10.
Scotland’s men started off with Robin Miedzybrodzki and Seain Cook beating the Northern Ireland second team 21-12, 21-14. Graham Riddle and partner won their match, after dominating the first set, 2-1 (21-12, 19-21, 15-12), which guaranteed Scotland’s men a semi-final place.
Next up was the number 1 seeds Norway and Riddle and partner struggled first set losing 21-7. Second set saw a much improved performance from the lads, however the power and control of the Norwegians proved too much, losing 21-13.
Cook and Miedzybrodzki looked very good and had a cracking game against Norway 2, losing touch just at the wrong time in both sets. The score was 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) but the scoreline doesn’t show how well the boys played.
Day 2. The semi-finals provided Scotland with some tough opposition in the form of Belgium. First up was Lynne and Gillian against Belgium’s first team and despite playing against one of the top players on the World Tour our least experienced girls put up an admirable fight, eventually losing 21-13, 21-14.
Next up was Shauna and Anneka against Belgium 2. After a nervy start, losing the first set 21-16, they found their form in the second set and played exceptionally well to take it 21-18. Unfortunately they couldn’t hold their form and ended up losing 15-4 in the decider.
Then it was the men’s teams. First up were Riddle and partner who were up against the Belgian first team. After a slow start, the boys began to play, but it was too late to make an impression, going down 21-10. The second set saw Scotland play better but the Belgian side were just to strong, eventually taking the second set and the match 21-13.
Miedzybrodzki and Cook were next up against the Belgian second team. This team ended up beating everyone they came up against, including seasoned veterens Eithun and Horrem from Norway. Robin and Seain took the Belgians frustratingly close, losing eventually 21-17, 21-19, after some fantastic plays.
All four Scottish teams have acquitted themselves fantastically well. Well done to all. Scotland now go to round 2 in August/September.