NZL Men win Gold at Oceania Beach Volleyball Champs in Australia
The New Zealand Men's pairing of Sam O'Dea and Mike Watson downed two top Australian teams on their way to their first Oceania Gold Medal at the Oceania Beach Volleyball Championships, held on the weekend at Sydney's Manly beach. In a hard-fought semifinal, the 3rd-ranked Kiwis kept their noses in front of Australians Casey Grice and Cole Durant to win in three sets (21-18,18-21,15-8), while they cleared out in the Final against Damian Schuman and Josh Court to take the Gold medal in two sets (21-15,21-14). The Australians went into the event higher ranked than the Tauranga-based team on the world stage, making the win in front of an Australian crowd "very satisfying," according to Watson. The other NZ men's pair of Rene Kapa and Thomas Hartles made the semi-finals but could only finish fourth, while both women's pairings – Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley, and Danielle Quigley and Chantal Tung – went down at the Quarter Final stage. PIC attached: Mike Watson (left) & Sam O'Dea with their 2014 NZ Champions silverware
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NZ'S BEST TO COMPETE IN SOUTHLAND'S UNIQUE BEACH VOLLEYBALLTOURNAMENT
Southland's state of the art SIT Zero Fees Cycling Velodrome will change tack at the end of November when it hosts the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Champions and other competitors in the 'Southland Grand Slam' Beach Volleyball Tournament. Complete with heating turned up and enough sand for four courts, the Velodrome will be converted to a beach for several days for the visit of the NZ number one beach pairings of Tauranga-based men's champion pair Sam O'Dea and Mike Watson, while Hamilton's Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley will be packing their uniform bikinis for the trip south. Both pairs are on their way up in the world of beach volleyball, with the Watson/O'Dea combination scoring a podium finish in the Indonesian leg of the Asian Beach Volleyball circuit last year, and Polley and Tilley breaking through for their first international podium position in the Vietnam event last season. As well as competing for the prize money on offer in Southland's first-ever Grand Slam event on the 28th and 29th November, the four will join other athletes and coaches in conducting a volleyball camp for aspiring locals players at the Velodrome on 30th November. “Local businessman Lanzi Arnott from W A Arnott Drainage specialists has really made this all possible. Without Lanzi’s huge generosity in supplying all the trucks and workers, as well as organising to borrow the sand and piping; bringing it in, setting up and taking it all away again, we would never have been able to pull this off without a huge price tag attached,” said Regional Volleyball Development Manager Donna Milne.
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Junior Champs Underway
A large turnout of Year 9 & 10 school volleyball teams will be vieing for the 'Island Champion' titles at the Volleyball New Zealand North and South Island Junior Secondary School Championships, being held simultaneously in Tauranga and Christchurch.
The North Island Championships take place at the ASB Baypark Arena in Mount Maunganui from Monday 25th to Friday 29th November, with a field of 49 Girls' teams and 42 Boys' teams participating. Favourites for the top division Girls' title are a raft of local Tauranga teams from Otumoetai, Bethlehem, Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Girls Colleges. Their main challenge is expected to come from Whakatane's Trident High, North Harbour's Rangitoto and Orewa Colleges, and Rotorua's Western Heights High. The dominance of Bay of Plenty sides in the top seedings is expected to draw large crowds throughout the week.
The top Boys' section features a wider spread of teams, with Western Heights leading the way from Orewa and North Harbour's Westlake Boys High, with South Auckland side Manurewa High, and Otumoetai, Bethlehem and Rangitoto all expected to mount a credible challenge. Also featuring at the event will be Girls' and Boys teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay, Manawatu and Wellington.
Down south, the Island event will be played in Christchurch at Pioneer Stadium, and Middleton Grange school, with 39 Girls' and 22 Boy's teams in action from 25th to 28th November.
Girls favouritism is shared equally between Tasman region schools Nayland and Waimea Colleges, and Nelson and Marlborough Girls Colleges, and Christchurch teams from Riccarton, Burnside and Aranui High Schools, and Middleton Grange school.
The southern Boys' title is expected to be fought between schools from the same regions – Nelson, Nayland and Waimea Colleges, with Riccarton and Shirley High being joined from further south by Timaru and Otago Boys High teams in the top seeded positions.