Teams from Germany and England took the top honours from a zonal Beach Volleyball tournament organised by the Northern Ireland Volleyball Association (NIVA) and CEV Small Countries Division (SCD) at Portrush, a small seaside resort town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Max Betzien and Nils Ehlers from Germany joined the competition upon receiving a wild card and they did not drop a single set in the five matches they contested on Saturday and Sunday on the beach of Portrush. Betzien/Ehlers beat Scotland’s Seain Cook/Robin Miedzybrodzki 21-17, 21-13 in the final to stand on top of the podium and complete their triumphal march in the competition. In a SCD affair, Antonis Liotatis and Antreas Savvidis of Cyprus took the bronze medal after rallying to a hard-fought 21-16, 18-21, 15-13 victory over San Marino’s Lorenzo Benvenuti and Matteo Zonzini.
Wild-card holders were the eventual winners of the women’s competition as well – with England’s Victoria Palmer/Jessica Grimson stamping a 2-1 victory (16-21, 21-15, 15-9) in the ‘home nations’ derby with Scotland’s Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts. Miriam Gormally and Marie-Claire Sabogal of Ireland won the bronze medal match after stamping a 21-8, 21-13 victory over their compatriots Roisin Allen and Olivia Molloy.
Teams from the Small Countries Division will have an additional opportunity to compete internationally and to collect valuable FIVB / CEV ranking points later this week via the tournament due to take place in Vaduz, Liechtenstein one week before the traditional CEV Satellite event annually hosted by the alpine Principality.