Unforgettable Showdown: UKBT Club Championships Deliver Beach Volleyball Spectacle
The highly anticipated Club Championships took place at Sandbanks Beach last weekend, drawing beach volleyball teams from across the United Kingdom. The tournament delivered an extraordinary level of play that left fans and beachgoers captivated throughout the entire weekend.
The event saw a number of clubs take to the sand, including:
Invicta Volleyball Club
Deep Dish Bournemouth
Deep Dish Crystal Palace
Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club
Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club
Sideout Beach Volleyball Club
Fireball Beach Volleyball Club
Weymouth Beach Volleyball Club
Exmouth Beach Volleyball Club (Women’s)
With such a strong lineup of teams, spectators knew they were in for a treat.
Right from the start, the tournament showcased some thrilling matches, including several nail-biting "golden sets." This rare occurrence takes place when Team 1 secures a 2-0 victory against Team 2, only for Team 2 to lose 0-2 against Team 1's second team in the subsequent match. One such golden set unfolded in the Men's Division 1, where Sideout Beach Volleyball Club's 1st team, represented by Aldo Rendon Peiro and Mbye Babou Jarra, defeated Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club's 2nd team, composed of Mihail Babinskyi and Zakir Chaudry, in a commanding 2-0 victory. However, Sideout Beach Volleyball Club's 2nd team faced a tough battle against Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club's 1st team, ultimately losing in a closely contested 0-2 match. The two teams then proceeded to a golden set, where Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club emerged victorious with a score of 15-12.
The women's matches also provided their fair share of golden sets on the first day, with one particularly thrilling encounter between Deep Dish Crystal Palace's Ella Watson and Francesca Billato and Invicta Volleyball Club's Olga Didarally and Barbara Zorzi. In a back-and-forth battle that showcased powerful serves and impressive defensive efforts, it was Invicta Volleyball Club who triumphed over Deep Dish Crystal Palace with a hard-fought 18-16 victory.
Day two witnessed a display of impressive beach volleyball skills and strategic intelligence, as teams strategically employed deceptive cut shots and showcased exceptional court awareness with perfectly placed line overs and pokies. The semifinal matches in the Men's first divisions were fiercely contested, with two golden sets needed to determine the finalists. The first semifinal, featuring Deep Dish Crystal Palace's Pearson Stiller and Dave Panah against Sideout Beach Volleyball Club's Lewis Fenech and Mateusz Bobkowski, kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout.
Aldo Rendon Peiro's ability to anticipate the opposing team's attacks and make remarkable digs, combined with Mbye Babou Jarra's formidable presence at the net, made it difficult for their opponents to score. The other semifinal, pitting Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club against Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club, was equally intense, with all contenders delivering powerful swings. In the end, Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club emerged triumphant in the golden set with a hard-earned 19-17 victory.
The Men's Final showcased the dominant performance of Deep Dish Crystal Palace's second
team, Trent Webby and Mark Garcia-Kidd, who claimed a decisive 2-0 victory over Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club's 1st team, represented by Ruari Souter and Ben McHardy. Mark Garcia-Kidd's powerful swings and Trent Webby's expertly executed topspin serves, cleverly aimed against the wind, proved to be the winning factors for the Deep Dish pair. In the second game, Deep Dish Crystal Palace's pair of Pearson Stiller and Dave Panah claimed a convincing 21-17 victory over Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club's Lenard Soberiacki and Nikos Stougiannos, displaying their dominance and securing the overall victory for Deep Dish Crystal Palace.
The second day of the women's matches witnessed tremendous determination and hustle plays, as the athletes left everything they had on the sand. The relentless fight and passion for the sport were evident as teams battled for a spot in the final. The first semifinal, featuring Sideout Beach Volleyball Club and Yellowave, proved to be a closely contested affair. Yellowave's 1st team, Laura Bugnariu and Maia Darling fought hard in the first set, securing a narrow 23-21 victory.
However, they couldn't maintain their momentum and fell 16-21 in the second set to Sideout's 2nd team, Elena Forapani and Anna Tsoumi. Combining this 1-1 result with Sideout's Agnieszka Adamek-Peiro and Maria Sviridova's impressive 2-0 win, Sideout's team earned their place in the finals. Another gripping semifinal unfolded between Edinburgh Volleyball Club and Fireball Beach Volleyball, with Fireball's pair of Gerda Berštautaitė and Lorena Tussis managing to secure a 21-14 set victory. However, Edinburgh's women's teams showcased their defensive prowess and dominance at the net, preventing Fireball from advancing to the final.
In an intense showdown, the women's final featured Sideout's 1st team consisting of Agnieszka Adamek-Peiro/Maria Sviridova, and their 2nd team comprising Elena Forapani/Anna Tsoumi. They faced off against Edinburgh's 1st team duo, Mel Coutts/Lynne Beattie, and their 2nd team consisting of Aitana Verdu Schlie/Kennedy Mason. The matches were a seesaw battle, with Edinburgh employing sneaky cut shots and Sideout showcasing impressive defensive skills.
Both teams fought relentlessly, skilfully utilising the wind to their advantage. Sideout's top spin serves into the wind proved effective, catching their opponents with a fast-dropping serve. The Sideout pairs displayed composure and determination, securing crucial points when needed the most, emerging as champions of the Women's Divison.
Ultimately, Deep Dish Crystal Palace emerged as the overall champion across all divisions, accumulating an impressive total of 446.667 points. Deep Dish Bournemouth secured second place with an even 400 points, closely followed by Cardiff Beach Volleyball, who claimed the third spot with 388 points. The weekend proved to be a memorable experience, featuring tough competition, friendly banter, and, of course, the coveted gold trophy.
The Sandbanks Beach Volleyball Tournament showcased the immense talent and dedication of the participating clubs and players. It served as a testament to the growing popularity and excitement surrounding beach volleyball in the United Kingdom. With such thrilling matches and exceptional performances, it is safe to say that the tournament left a lasting impression on both the players and the enthusiastic spectators who enjoyed the event.