England Players headline draw for inaugural Southern Open
DeepDish Bournemouth hosts the Southern Open on Sandbanks beach this weekend, with some of England’s top players taking to to the sand. The first of five UKBT Open events this season, this is the first major tournament on the 2023 calendar, with teams bidding to take away the big ranking points and prize money. Here’s your official preview…
With a full draw of 24 teams in the mens events, England’s third ranked pairing of Niko Gleed and Harry Jones come into the tournament as the number one seeds, competing on their home beach for the first time since last year's Grand Slam finals.
Fellow England players Enrique Bello, Haydn Lawson and Sam Dunbavin also headline in the top half of the draw, with a few change ups in the partnership rotations this season; Lawson takes to the sand with England Junior Peter Soczewska, with Dunbavin competing alongside John Morgan. Josue Seekings, the silver medalist from the 2022 Scottish Grand Slam, will team up with Bello in their bid for more international competitions this year.
It is not only the English teams who will be having a mix up; The Beachvolley Scotts pairing of Callum Stewart and Ross McKelvie will potentially be on opposite sides of the net this weekend, as they prepare for the CEV Nations Cups at the beginning of June. McKelvie takes to the sand with Jamie Mchardy, whilst Stewart teams up with David Mexson, who is just coming off his first year playing indoors professionally in Luxembourg.
In addition, England’s young talent will find themselves battling it out amongst some of the tour’s top teams for the first time; Zak Maghur and Lewis Bunton both enjoyed success at Sandbanks last year, securing the Junior Championship, and now find themselves competing in their first major competition on the UK Beach Tour.
Whilst the women's field may not be quite as full as the mens, the talent on display is just as formidable. England’s Commonwealth Games athlete Victoria Palmer will take to the sand for the first time this season at the Southern Open; competing on her home beach, Palmer teams up with rising star Beth Morgan in a bid to take home the title.
It won’t be smooth sailing though; Laura Bugnariu, the bronze medalist at last year’s Welsh Grand Slam, teams up with rising talent Maia Darling representing Yellowave. Maia and Vicky may find themselves on opposite side of the net following their brief partnership last year in London.
Lorena Tussis and Gerda Berstataite will also be looking to cause some trouble as Lorena returns to the beach following a significant injury last year; the team have already posted a 3-star win this season and will be hunting for more at the Open.
Hometown players Kamilla Maciejewska and Natalia Gruszczynska will also be hunting for a win this weekend; silver medalists at last year’s 3-star event in Sandbanks, the team will be admirably supported by the home crowd.
The Southern Open will run across the whole weekend, with play scheduled to begin at 9am in both draws. For a full schedule and list of live results, follow the link below: