With the indoor season for volleyball starting in earnest very soon, Richmond Volleyball Club can look back over a hugely successful beach volleyball season this past summer.
The club’s beach division’s membership more than doubled since the last full season in 2019. The club ran 28 training sessions each week, catering for juniors and adults from beginners to advanced as well as regular Saturday open sessions for adults. It hosted five junior beach volleyball camps during the season with over 140 young players aged between 9 and 17 taking part. For many of the junior players, this was their first time learning and playing beach volleyball.
Richmond were able to host fifteen UKBT (UK Beach Tour) tournaments over the summer months with teams travelling in from as far away as Scotland and Wales to compete at the beach courts in Teddington. UKBT is the organisation which Volleyball England uses to organise adult and for this year Junior Beach tournaments in the UK. These ran throughout the summer giving players many opportunities to compete and for many this was their first time competing.
There was another development of our sport this year when London Youth Games took to the sand for the first time. In this event Richmond Volleyball Club will have players representing at least three boroughs: Richmond, Kingston and Wandsworth. The London Youth Games involves all 33 London Borough’s competing against each other and is the largest multi-sport event for young people in Europe. Due to Covid restrictions, the volleyball games will, for the first time ever, be taking place on the sand this year. The competition will follow beach volleyball rules with some adaptations and is in a 4v4 format. The tournaments will take place at Barn Elms courts on September 19th. It promises to be an exciting and lively atmosphere on the day.
The club also looks back at success at the under 18s Inter-Regionas. On the 10th and 11th July 2021, Richmond junior beach volleyball players travelled to Cardiff to represent London in the championships. Thirteen Richmond players were chosen to represent the capaital across the various pools in the championships.
The girls selected were Florence Ingham, Izzy Hames, Nina Erminio, Ellie Glowrey, Anna Szentessy, Anja Erminio, and Lana Shaughnessy.
Elsa Meserlian the London Regional Under 17 Girls Head Coach said, “I was very proud of the girls who slowly gained momentum as the day progressed. The level of the competition has improved, and a lot of the teams we played were tough. There is a lot to say about how they dug deep and pulled a win in a lot of the matches. I look forward to hearing about where these girls land in their volleyball careers.”
Representing the London boys’ team were Richmond players George Ruddick, Mateusz Bobkowski, Ben Sanders, Daniel Yordanov, Nicholas Alzate-Sobotka and Patryk Podwika.
The weekend resulted in a podium finish for London. With the London girl’s team taking home gold. Sisters Nina and Anja Erminio and Izzy Hames partnering with Anna Szentessy formed the final winning women’s team.
Ben Sanders and partner Daniel Yordanov and Nicholas Alzate-Sobotka with partner Patryk Podwika brought home bronze for the boys.
Richmond juniors enjoyed a brilliant weekend at the UK Beach Tour Junior Championships at Sandbanks on 3rd and 4th of July 2021. Medallists from Richmond featured on podiums across the categories over the weekend. Starting with the Under 12s, Tyler Sourmarie and Olivia Cross won bronze in their first Sandbanks tournament. In the Under 14s Richmond won gold across both genders with Ben Sanders and Patryk Podwika winning the boys and Anja Erminio and Anna Szentessy the girl’s competition. Richmond player Nicholas Alzate-Sobotka also won bronze in the U14s boys, partnering with Lewis Bunton. In the Under 16s boys, Richmond’s Peter Soczewka won gold playing with Robert Morgan, while Ben Sanders got bronze partnering Maks Makowski. In the Under 16s girls, Richmond pair Izzy Hames and Anna Szentessy won silver. And finally, the Under 18s boys’ final was an all Richmond affair with Enrique Bello and Peter Soczweka winning the gold against Jake Sanders and Bartek Soczewk.
Will the winter provide equal success in national and London leagues and in the country’s junior competitions?
Source, Richmond Volleyball Club
All images courtesy of SandSphotos
Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton