Makeshift pairing take Scarborough gold
Two beach volleyballers who came together for one tournament only have pulled off a stunning upset by winning the National Grand Slam event at Scarborough Beach in Perth.
Becchara Palmer and Mariafe Artacho del Solar agreed to play together after their regular playing partners were unavailable through injury.
And they celebrated by beating Australian top seeds, Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy, in three incredible sets.
In the men’s event Australian top seeds Chris McHugh and Bo Soderberg proved too strong for New Zealand’s Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea, winning in straight sets.
Artacho del Solar and Palmer won the opening set, 21-16, but then Bawden and Clancy stepped up to win the second set 21-6.
When the top seeds raced out to a 4-0 lead in the third the match looked over.
But the second seeds fought back, saved a match point and eventually won 17-15.
“That was pretty epic, that got about as close as it could go in the third set,” Palmer said.
Artacho del Solar said they had to dig deep after a poor second set.
“We just said let’s leave that behind us,” she said.
“We said it’s one set all, lets just go back to doing what we did in the first set, which was stay calm.”
For Palmer it was the second consecutive tour title, after winning on the Gold Coast with Manly’s Katie Bartoli.
That was also a one-tournament partnership, with Palmer and Bartoli beating Artacho del Solar and her regular partner, Nicole Laird, for the gold.
In the men’s final, New Zealanders Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea were aiming to win back-to-back tournaments after their impressive win at the Gold Coast in January.
But Soderberg and McHugh, a new pairing for this summer, were at the top of their game in the windy Perth conditions, winning in straight sets.
McHugh will now re-connect with regular partner, Isaac Kapa, who spent the summer recovering from a should operation, for the 2015 world tour and World Championships.
Watson and O’Dea have also qualified for the World Championships.
Another ANZAC clash looming at Scarborough
While Australia and New Zealand will be battling for one-day cricket supremacy at the MCG on Sunday, on the other side of the country another ANZAC clash for sporting dominance is looming.
But instead of the luscious green grass of Australian cricket’s premiere venue, this contest will unfold on the scorching hot sand of one of Australia’s most famous beaches, Scarborough.
And while Australians might laughingly dismiss any notion of quality New Zealand beaches, in Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea the Kiwis have produced an outstanding beach volleyball combination.
The pair won the Oceania Championships at Manly Beach in November, followed up with a win on the Australian national tour at Surfers Paradise in January, and now hope to add Scarborough Beach to their list of conquests.
But there’s a strong Western Australian contingent who will have a strong say in the Sunday action.
Australia’s second-ranked combination of Josh Court, from WA, and Victorian Damien Schumann will be the New Zealanders first obstacle.
Court and Schumann lost the Surfers Paradise final to Watson and O’Dea.
They were last week named as one of two Australian teams to contest this year’s World Volleyball Championships in The Netherlands.
In the other men’s semi, top seeds Chris McHugh and Bo Soderberg will take on Western Australian pair, Casey Grice and Cole Durant.
The women’s semi-finals will also take on an International flavor, with the European combination of Michaela Vorlova and Lucia Michalovicova taking on Australian top seeds Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy.
In the other semi, London Olympian Becchara Palmer and World U23 champion, Mariafe Artacho del Solar, will take on two-time Olympian, Tamsin Hinchley, and Manly’s Sarah Battaglene.
WPV International referee course in Poland May 11th to 17th 2015
World ParaVolley are welcoming individuals to attend in the World ParaVolley International Referee course in Elblag, Poland.
This course will run for 5 days, from the 12th of May til the 16th of May 2015.
Additional information can be found here (the two attached files)
Interested officials should contact their state association with an expression of interest.