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2008 Scottish Beach Tour Report

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The Scottish Beach Volleyball Tour had another successful season on the sand. Sponsorship was from Sportset and Red Bull this year, with Red Bull providing their characteristic marquee which turned many heads on the beach.

Portobello’s 2-day event ran smoothly in solid sunshine. With additional sponsorship from City of Edinburgh, prize money was on offer.  As a result the finals were hotly contested. Gordon Welsh and Tomak Robak took the men’s title with Mel Coutts and Eilidh Smith taking the women’s.

The next 2-day event was St Andrews, providing plenty of matches on both days. Free camping was provided by Fife Council and a social event took place on Saturday night. Barry McGuigan and Graham Riddle avenged their defeat at Portobello in the men’s event with Mel Coutts winning again, this time with a different partner in Gillian Lyall.

It was back to St Andrews for the third event and the King and Queen of the Beach. The event was entered as an individual and players played in pools of 4 playing with each player in turn, against the remaining 2 players. After the 3 matches, the top 2 players in terms of points won progressed to the next round of pools, the losers going into playoff pools. The format for all levels was a great success.  Barry McGuigan and Mel Coutts were crowned King and Queen for 2008.

Urban Beach TourThen came the Glasgow leg of the Urban Beach Tour, hosted as part of the Glasgow River Festival. The 6-a-side event and junior coaching were again well received. The 6-a-side event was won by Team McGilveray narrowly beating Team Baz before the Elite event. Qualification was achieved by placing well in the Scottish Tour, and the top 4 teams for men and women battled it out in front of the Tall Ship and hundreds of spectators on a windy but sunny weekend. Radio Clyde and many newspaper cameras were in attendance.  McGuigan/Riddle and Coutts/Smith triumphing once again.

Broughty Ferry was next on the Scottish Beach Tour calendar and a 1-day event.  The weather was awful however teams valiantly battled the elements, and each other, showing how hardy our Scottish Beach Volleyball players are. McGuigan and Riddle taking yet another title, with Lorna Christie and Claire Penny taking their first ever Scottish Tour title in the women’s event.

The weekend after was Troon and with the weather much improved teams were eager to impress. Gavin Watt and Colin McNab took their first Scottish Tour title in the men’s event with Claire Penny and Eilidh Smith together to take the women’s title.

The final event of this year’s Scottish Tour was the East Lothian Open. Unfortunately East Lothian wasn’t the venue this year and the Tour came back to Portobello for a very windy final event of the season. Riddle and McGuigan won again with Barry McGuigan becoming the overall Scottish Beach Volleyball Tour Champion for the first time. The women’s event was equally close with Coutts and Smith taking the title. Eilidh Smith took the overall Scottish Women’s Tour title. Not bad for someone who has only been playing volleyball (in all its forms) for only 18 months!

There have also been Scottish representation at events on the English, World and the European Tours.  At Croyde, Barry McGuigan became King of the Beach (and with his Scottish King of the Beach title, the King of Britain!).  At Weymouth, Shauna Mullin and Denise Johns won.  At Great Yarmouth, Mel Coutts and Denise Austin won.  At the VEBT Finals Shauna Mullin won with Denise Johns; in the men’s event 5 of the top 8 players were Scottish or Scottish-based. Coutts and Austin also won the Grand Slam crown, the best team over the top events in the English Tour. Well done to all! And with Robin Miedzybrodzki and Shauna Mullin continuing to impress on the European and World Tours, we are looking forward to 2009 with interest.

A big thanks to the organisers of all of the events and to all who participated. Looking forward to seeing you all on the Scottish Beach Tour next year!