WEYMOUTH’S Ryan Stout got his ITSU Volleyball England Beach campaign off to an encouraging start with a fifth-place finish in Skegness.
Playing with his partner Matt Hunter from Poole, the duo got off to a comfortable opening in the event, winning their first two matches with ease before coming up against top seeds Phil Smith and Ollie Kimber.
Stout and Hunter matched their tough opponents throughout most of the contest, but the greater experience of the older pair was just enough in the vital points, as the Dorset duo went down 21-8, 21-19.
The partnership still had a chance of reaching the final through the loser bracket, and they ended up playing a key match for a place in the semi-final against Andrew Clayton and Carl Butcher.
But once again it was the crucial points which settled the match with Clayton and Butcher edging the contest 21-19, 22-20.
This left Stout and Hunter in fifth place overall, their highest ever finish on the English tour.
The duo will be looking to continue their good form in the build- up to the Weymouth Classic this year, which takes place on August 1-3, and is the fourth stop on the tour circuit.
Meanwhile, the Weymouth Go Spike League continues every week on Weymouth Beach.
The A Series saw two different teams play in the final for the first time this term, as Elliott Sawyer and Steve Nation-Grainger took on Carl Neale and Ian Denslow.
For Neale and Denslow, this was the first time they had managed to get out of their group, let alone reach the final.
They showed just how much they have improved with a very impressive win over the experienced Jules Stout and Terry Oldrid by a margin of 21-19 in the semi-final.
The final was arguably the most exciting of the season so far with both teams showing fantastic back court skills. However it was Neale and Denslow who surged into the lead at the beginning, establishing a solid six-point lead.
From then on the contest was very tight until Neale and Denslow got their first match point at 20-14. But good serving by Sawyer and excellent back court play from Nation-Grainger saw them pull the score back to 20-20.
However, Neale and Denslow managed to pull out another lead to take the match 23-21.
Meanwhile, the B series was won by Ean Cameron and his son Josh, who beat Dan Cree and Steve Quinn in the final 21-16.
The four-a-side tournament was won by the Renegrades.
Next week the league takes place on Wednesday evening to avoid a clash with the England football match.
New players are always welcome and need to register on the beach between 6 and 6.30pm.