Greenlee and Bell snatched first place at the first of the NIVA tour beach events. The event, held at the Cutters Warf Bar and Grill in Belfast had eleven male pairings entered, all of which were of a high standard.
The format for the tournament was double elimination, which proved a useful format, with so many of the teams closely matched. It was good to see such a good turnout from players from all over the country including Ballymoney, Portadown, Belfast and Garvagh. Veteran player Alan Workman also returned to play with Nick Wright in this opening tournament.
The Day got under way with Workman/Wright Playing against Hazley/Fulton. This matched proved to be a game packed with action, with 3 present international indoor players, and 1 retired international player. Points crossed between the teams, but in the end, the youth of Hazley/Fulton came out on top.
The youngest players of the tournament Tsang and Kane came up against 7th seed team Greenlee/Bell. Greenlee/Bell won this game with little trouble, although it was plain to see the work the two young Portadown players have done in previous weeks, playing and practicing on a regular basis at the Portadown sand pad.
Ballymoney had a good turnout of players at the tournament, with Scott/Park entering a team, as well as McKnight/Hunter and J Workman/Crooks. These three teams got free passes into the second round due to previous years successes.
Queens volleyball also had a good turn out to the event. Pilch teamed up with Malherbe, while Mankiewicz and Slominski formed the 2nd of the queens teams. These two teams met in the first round. Play was of a high standard, and in the end, 6th seeds Pilch/Malherbe won the game.
3rd seeds Moore/Wisniewski got free pass to the second round.
In the second stage of the competition, Crooks/Workman played Hazley/Fulton. This was a match with all senior or junior international players, and produced some excellent play. The more experienced Hazley/Fulton duo came out on top. Two young Ballymoney players Hunter/McKnight saw off 5th seed opponents Cox/Schaper to progress, while Greenlee/Bell also saw off their Ballymoney opponents Scott/Park to progress to the next stage. In their first game of the day, Last years tour winner Wisniewski paired up with Moore. This 3rd seed paring did not disappoint, and defeated opponents Pilch/Malherbe to progress.
Those teams who had lost had a second crack at the whip, and faced each other. The losing teams from these games would be knocked out of the competition. The young Portadown duo of Tsang/Kane lost out to internationals Crooks/Workman and were put out of the competition. Mankiewicz/Slominski also exited the competition following defeat to Queens paring Cox/Schaper, as well as Wright/Workman who lost to Scott/Park.
Hazley/Fulton defeated Hunter/McKnight to progress to the semi finals, and Greenlee/Bell saw off tough opponents Wisniewski/Moore to progress.
Teams in the losing bracket who were still in still had a chance of progression to the semi finals. Wisniewski/Moore had a chance to redeem themselves against Crooks/Workman, but Crooks/Workman took the honours. Hunter/McKnight also had a second chance against strong paring Scott/Park, but Scott/Park defeated the young Ballymoney paring.
This led to the semi finals. Hazley/Fulton lined out against Crooks/Workman for the second time that day. Having defeated Crooks/Workman quite convincingly in the 2nd round, Hazley/Fulton went into the game with high hopes. Crooks/Workman however had regroup, and played a great serving and blocking game to win 2-0 and go through to the final.
The other semi final saw Greenlee/Bell play Scott/Park, again for the 2nd time of the day. Greenlee/Bell won the first encounter by 5-6 points each game, but this match, Scott/Park played a lot better, leading on a number of occasions. Greenlee/Bell took the first set by a small margin of 2 points. In the second set, it was a close encounter with the teams switching the lead on several occasions. Scott/Park played a good blocking game and were leading at the latter stages of the set 19-17, but a run of 4 points let Greenlee/Bell win the set 21-19 and the game 2-0.
The final was between Greenlee/Bell and Crooks/Workman. Tempers flared in this game as both teams wanted the first beach victory, but with set scores of 21-16, and 21-11, Greenlee/Bell came out on top.
Thanks to Nick Wright for organisation of the tournament, Cutters Bar and Grill for the use of their facilities, and Corona for the sponsorship of winners and runner up prizes.