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Volleyball England Beach Tour Finals

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August 30-31 was the Finals weekend for the English Tour. The format was top 8 teams from the tour get automatic entry and then 8 more spaces are open to anyone to qualify for. You also had to have played at least 2 events on the tour. After our 5th placing the weekend before we felt good but Adrian's leg wasn't getting better fast. We missed the entry deadline and then the late entry deadline thinking his leg was to bad to play. Friday night as I was helping to build the courts (3 courts on the road to be used for the junior world champs the following week) a team pulled out leaving only 15 men's teams entered. Adrian and I decided to enter to fill the spot. Saturday was a brilliant sunny day with no clouds--best day of the beach tour all summer! We were seeded 8th due to our 2 good previous results and so had the 1st seeds and the 9th seeds in our pool. Both these teams were very good (and both ended up in the semis) so we knew we up against it. However during our first game (against the 16th seeds) Adrian's leg went from bad to worse. We won the first set and took an injury time out for Adrian to get his leg seen to by the physio. Some magic spray and we played on winning the match in 2 sets but Adrian was hardly moving. So we pulled out of the tournament. A disappointing end to a season that was frustrating for so long trying to find a good partner and then it got good until the injury. However we both have AA ratings to carry over to next year meaning it will be better at the start of next season and hopefully easy to find a good partner.

Saturday night was our Award's Dinner at the Thistle Hotel. Was a great time with players and officials, announcing of awards, Damo telling us about refereeing at Beijing and I got a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine for helping run the tour!

Sunday  was finals day--we built a centre court especially for the day close to the grandstand which was in place for the world champs the following week. Had 2 brilliant finals--both went to 3 sets and were very close. 2 of the best finals we had had all summer! Women's was won by Denise Johns and Shauna Mullin over Lucy Boulton and Zara Dampney. Men's was won by Tom Lord and Jose Nunez over Jody Gooding and Robin Miedzybrodzki. And so ended the 2008 beach season in the UK. I then spent the following week working at the Swatch FIVB Junior World Championships which you can read about here. I now look forward to a short season in  New Zealand including the Pro Tour in January. Anna and I will blog 31082008628again then!




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