BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Epic battles for Weymouth Classic crowns

HIGH FIVES: Mark Garcia-Kidd and Taylor Wilson

SAND PARTY: Lucy Boulton and Denise Austin celebrate

First published in Local Sport

AN EPIC three-set battle between England duo Phil Smith and Ollie Kimber, and Taylor Wilson and Mark Garcia-Kidd decided the men’s section of the Weymouth Classic.

The contest began with the more experienced pair of Smith and Kimber taking the first set 21-19 and it looked like the England pair were going to go on to take the title when they led 17-13 in the second set.

But at this point there was controversy which ended in Smith falling through the net and the pair let their opponents back into the match from then on.

Garcia-Kidd and Wilson took full advantage and came back to take the second set 23-21 and continued to dominate the third to win 15-9.

Weymouth youngster Ryan Stout and his partner Matt Hunter, who had targeted a semi- final spot, had to settle for ninth place overall after losing to the eventual winners Garcia-Kidd and Wilson.

The women’s title was won by two legends of the sand in the form of Denise Austin and Lucy Boulton.

It was Austin’s ninth title and Boulton’s third as the duo overpowered the reigning champions Gabi Medreka and Laura Plonka 21-19, 21-13 in the final.

The clash started fairly evenly but gradually the power and understanding of Austin and Boulton shone through and Medrika and Plonka had little to respond with.

This seemed an unlikely outcome to the women’s draw when, on Saturday morning, Boulton and Austin were struggling through the early rounds, but as they played in more matches their understanding increased and they began to dominate.

They finally showed what they could do in the semi-final when they defeated the England pair of Vicky Palmer and Jess Grimson 21-16, 21-13 to book their place in the final.

On Sunday, the largest ever junior competition took place for under-18s.

The women’s tournament was won by Denise Austin’s daughter Ellie Austin and her partner Yasmin Kaashoek, while the men’s competition was won by Issa Batrane and Robert Poole from Bournemouth.

On Friday, for the first time, a Dorset and Hampshire event was held for teams not featuring in the main draw.

This was a huge success and was won by Rob Semmence and Dom Cosserat.

This section of the event is expected to grow next year with the addition of a women’s competition.

Overall the 31st Classic was a massive success with excellent numbers of spectators.

Co-director Pete Bennett said: “We are delighted with how the event has gone, the large knowledgeable crowds showed just how much support there is for beach volleyball in the town and the players all said how much they loved coming here, we can now start planning the 2015 event.”

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