A scorching summers day on Portrush East Strand saw 2011’s first single sex beach volleyball tournament in Northern Ireland, run by the local volleyball club Ballymoney Blaze. The fantastic weather was only added to by the high standard of volleyball to be played on the beach that day. The men’s section saw a total of seven teams enter and right from the first game it was apparent that there wouldn’t be one clear winner. The group stages saw top seeded team Park-Scott win their group undefeated while in group two, three convincing wins saw second seed McKnight-Workman come out on top. In the first semi-final Park-Scott met Pilch-Hamilton, but in a very closely fought match Pilch-Hamilton won 15-12 in the deciding set. The other semi-final was a shorter affair where McKnight-Workman convincingly saw off opposition A.Bell-G.Bell in a quick 2-0 victory. The 3rd/4th place playoff allowed Park-Scott to meet A.Bell-G.Bell for the second time that day but obvious lack of form from the Ballymoney pairing saw A.Bell-G.Bell grab 3rd place in the deciding set. In an epic final with both teams on top form the fight was on to gain first place. The opening set saw McKnight-Workman take an early lead securing them a 1-0 head start on their opposition. Not to be outdone, a more determined Pilch-Hamilton came out with “all-guns-blazing” to win the second set and make the score 1-1. The deciding set got off to an impressive start with both teams giving it their all, but the seemingly impenetrable defensive of McKnight-Workman gave them the edge allowing them to take the final and bring home the first place trophy.
The women’s competition took on a different format due to reduced numbers. Each team played against each other once, and then the top 2 played in the final. Mihneva-Wiezowska had been the team to beat all day, having not even dropped one set. Cyran-Klimecka defeated Cunningham-Hallonet to secure them the second place in the final. In another tightly fought match Mihneva-Wiezowska took the top spot with a 2-0 win. Well done to both teams!
A massive thanks and congratulations to all teams to who participated on the day and made the tournament such a success. Ballymoney Blaze will be running a second event, the “Ballymoney Open”, on 27th August. All pairings are welcome so please get your names in as soon as the entries open to secure your place in the tournament.