Top duo see off tough rivals
Marlborough's Greg Lindsay-Brown has completed a top of the south beach volleyball treble, partnering with Nelson-based Latvian national Armins Vensbergs to win the Brightwater Grand Slam event.
After winning both the preceding Nelson and Marlborough Challenger events, Lindsay-Brown along with Vensbergs, held off a powerful challenge from the Heath brothers, Brendan and Dan, at the Brightwater Beach Club on Saturday.
The final was a hotly contested three-setter, with a mix of power and precision shown by both sides on the sand. The top seeded Lindsay-Brown and Vensbergs navigated strong defence from their opponents with well-placed cut shots to score at key times.
The Heath brothers, including former Nelson Giants basketballer and New Zealand beach volleyball representative Brendan, took out the first set 21-17. Lindsay-Brown and Vensbergs battled back in the second set, keeping the game alive with a 21-19 victory.
The final set to 15 was closely contested, but Lindsay-Brown and Vensbergs clinched the game 15-13 for a 2-1 victory.
Earlier, in the semifinals, Lindsay-Brown and Vensbergs beat the young gun duo of Harry Fergusson and James Anderson 2-0 (21-10 21-8).
Fergusson and Anderson head to Australia next month to contest the Australian Juniors Beach State Champs and preparation is going well. The Nelson College students had a top-drawer 2-1 win over the experienced Teryn Proracki and partner Jeremy Ditzel to make the semis, but the win left them with little in the tank for the semifinal.
The second semifinal was a family affair with the Heath brothers taking on the Jeffries brothers, Bede and Andrew. Cruising to a 21-13 first-set win the Heath brothers were made to work in the second but came through for a 21-18 win.
In the women's draw Marlborough's Micah Lindsay-Brown and Abbey Greenwood defeated the young, but skilful, pairing of Katie Ditzel and Hannah Davenhill from Nelson 2-0 (21-12 21-15).
The Blenheim pairing was too experienced for the 15-year-olds from Waimea College, and although they never looked like causing an upset, Davenhill and Ditzel made the practised pair work for every point.
Ditzel and Davenhill, who won the girls' section at the South Island age group champs last week, showed they will be a real threat to tournament titles in the not too distant future.
In the semifinals of the women's division Lindsay-Brown and Greenwood beat Sara Reidie and Alex McCreary 2-0 (21-5 21-11), while Ditzel and Davenhill stopped Lucy Ingham and Brittani Harrington 2-0 (21-12 21-17).
The next beach volleyball event will be on Saturday, December 29, at Brightwater Beach Club. It is the second King of the Beach event for the men, while the women will turn out for the first time.
- The Nelson Mail