Youngsters to host tough competition
Visitors to Nelson usually find any contact with sand to be a relaxing experience, but as the age-grade beach volleyball championships hit town tomorrow the tourists will step on the sand with trepidation.
Not only does Nelson boast a large number of New Zealand junior representatives, but they will also play host at the South Island age-group beach volleyball championships at Brightwater Beach Club.
The competition will be of a high standard at the Volleyball New Zealand-sanctioned event. The pairs, in both male and female, will play at an under-15, under-17 and under-19 level.
However, Nelson will not have it all their own way, with strong challengers from Timaru expected in the boys' under-17 and under-19 level, while Marlborough always sends over competitive pairs.
Allan Brodie, the Tasman Volleyball Association regional manager, said the tournament was standalone at this stage, but hoped it would progress to be a qualifying tournament for New Zealand pairs and a feeder for a possible Oceania juniors tournament.
One of the young duos to keep an eye on will be year 10 Waimea College students Hannah Davenhill and Katie Ditzel, who went through to the women's semifinal at the open age-grade Nelson Challenge last weekend.
The 15-year-olds are eligible to play in the under-15 grade but would hold their own in both other age groups.
Nelson College's James Anderson and Harry Fergusson will contest the under-17s looking for success and game time.
The pair will represent New Zealand at the Australian junior beach volleyball championships in Melbourne in January.
In the under-15 level, Nelson has two South Island Secondary Schools Junior Beach Volleyball champions.
The Nelson College duos of Sam Dallison and Chris Chamberlain from year 9, and Oscar Baden and Zaw Tin from year 10, took the honours at the Lansdowne Park courts in Blenheim earlier this month.
- The Nelson Mail