New Zealand’s domination over Australia on the sporting field has continued on the sands of Manly Beach, with victory in the men’s final of the Oceania Beach Volleyball Championships.
Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea proved much too strong for Australia’s Damien Schumann and Josh Court in tricky windy conditions at the Sydney beach.
In the women’s final, Australia’s number one team reinforced its standing in the regional pecking order with a straight sets win over Vanuatu in the gold medal playoff.
Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy beat Miller Papa and Linline Matauata 21-18, 21-15 to add to the Asian Championship title they won earlier this year.
Bawden and Clancy were only confirmed as starters on Wednesday last week.
“Even though it was last moment, we are really proud to have been Asian Champions and now to become Oceania Champions, we’re really happy with that,” Clancy said.
We’re really happy to keep the title in Australia. It’s been a good day for our team.”
In the men’s final, Australians Court and Schumann were unable to maintain the strong form they had shown in recent International events.
The New Zealanders looked more comfortable in the tricky conditions, with O’Dea proving almost impassable at the net.
Louise Bawden competed with Adelaide’s Becchara Palmer at the London 2012 Olympics, but the pair have since joined new partners.
Papa and Matauata’s defeat brings to an end a very successful end to 2014, which has included International titles in Hong Kong and Thailand.
Manly locals and World U23 champions, Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, finished with the bronze in the women’s, while WA combination Casey Grice and Cole Durant won bronze in the men’s.
There’s only one speed hump left standing in the way of an all-Australian final in Sunday’s Oceania Women’s Beach Volleyball Championships at Manly Beach – but it’s a big one.
Vanuatu’s Miller Pata and Linline Matauata deserve to start favourites on the final day, even though they came into the weekend as the tournament third seeds.
Volleyball Australia's AGM held over the weekend signaled an end to an era with the retirement from the Volleyball Australia board of long time member and former president Chris Schacht.
Chris joined the VA Board in 1996, becoming president not long after that, a position he held for 18 years and saw many exciting events and opportunities for volleyball within Australia. We here at Volleyball Australia cannot thank him enough for the leadership and direction he has given our sport over the last 18 years.
Three weeks ahead of the international beach volleyball featival "Volleyfest" on Manly beach that will include the first stage of Olympic qualification for Oceania countries, John Boultbee, former Head of the Socceroos and Matilda's and Director of the Australian Institute of Sport for the Sydney Olympic Games has been appointed Director of High Performance to lead Australia's Volleyroos and Beach Volleyroos to Rio 2016.
Our Volleyroos Women's team has made a huge leap in the FIVB World Rankings, moving a staggering 27 places from 73 to 46, cracking the top 50.
The jump was due largely in part to the team's participation in the 2014 Women’s World Grand Prix, a first for our athletes and an experience never to be forgotten.