A Highland Venture – Edinburgh 7’s

“Our first competitive tournament of the season took us to Scotland, Edinburgh where a showcasing of Britain’s best beach volleyball male and female athletes would take place in front of festival crowds over a long fought weekend!
A glorious Scotland sun bore down on a single exhibition court with 4 teams from each gender battling it out for prize money and the Edinburgh title.

Day 1 was an early start being the first contest of the day against friends and British beach volleyball regulars Rob Flay and Richard Payne. The dynamic duo had a strong rep for being defensive specialists and craftsmen at the net so we were poised for scrambled play and sneak attacks! However, we were slow out the blocks and failed to deliver our level in the early stages letting our opposition open up opportunity in the game. As we edged closer to the end of the 1st set we held steadfast and fought for a close 21-19 victory, then winning the match 2-0. After a performance that required some momentum to bring the heat we looked to bring bigger things and bigger swings later in the day. Our team schedule opened up massive breaks in-between matches so we took the opportunity to take on food and beverage to re-fuel for the afternoon encounters.

2nd match drew us against a northern veteran Graham Riddle and his mysterious partner of the USA, Phil. We knew
jake sheaf volleyball rio little about Phil’s playing history or competitive record, we only knew he stood tall and threw a heavy hand at the ball when attacking at the net. We served tough and blocked big with Jake scurrying around the hot sand with the speed of the leopard and grace of an eagle. Those crucial touches in the back court from my defender won us the battle 2-0.

The 3rd and final contest of the day drew us against our training buddy Tommek Lasoki and his very newly formed partnership with Polish compatriot Martin. Martin clearly had some volleyball experience displaying great technical ability and shot choices. However, after warming up the day with a couple of games we went in strong on defence and delivered crushing blows at key moments. We went onto win 2-0 and returned back to the shire as top seed for the semi-finals the following day.

We began as we finished against Lasoki and Martin, another slow start led to frustration on our side however we remained calm and at important points and capitalised on the big plays to earn a spot in the final against Payne/Flay. The massage table ca lled as we wanted to prep for the inevitable big plays between finalists in the afternoon.
The big occasion was accompanied by pink neon playing vests and larger crowds surrounding the arena. Spectators grabbed their beverages and viewpoints and rallied behind their favourite creating a fierce atmosphere. After a close first set on day 1 we went in on the offensive which earned us a healthy lead and eventual win in the 1st set.

gregory/sheaf volleyball win
However, in set 2 Flay/Payne matched some of our aggression making some unbelievable plays in the back of court which was accompanied by cheers from the crowd who wanted to see the final go to a 3rd set tie-break.

In the end it wasn’t to be, we made blocks and digs in defence and took the momentum to win the 2nd set, final, and Edinburgh 7’s Championship! It was great to take the men’s title and not drop a set during the whole tournament; however, as we look ahead to the remainder of the season the highland experience highlighted some areas to work on in training to improve our game.”

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