Published on June 21st, 2016 | by admin0
Academy players shine through at Goldcoast Oceanfest
In its 20th consecutive year, the Academy of Beach Sports’ annual King and Queen of the Beach competition was, once again, a hugely successful event, attracting 172 athletes from across England, and providing entertainment for lots of Goldcoast Oceanfest’s guests.
In windy but otherwise pleasant conditions on the Saturday, local juniors Danny Mulford and John Morgan fought it out in Division 5, with both qualifying for the final four of the division as top of their groups. It was Danny, however, that would just pip John in the final round of games, leaving him with the prestigious prize of a coveted glass head trophy.
In the top divisions, too, it was largely a local affair. Although last year’s champion Anaya Evans wasn’t here to defend last year’s title in the women’s, tournament organiser Denise Austin was back with a vengeance, looking to add to her previous 11 titles. It definitely wasn’t easy for her, though, as wind conditions made the games unpredictable, with strong serving the key.
Ultimately, though, she battled through to Sunday’s final, where she faced Cristina Plazas, from Brighton. Austin and partner Claudia Lambert eventually overcame Plazas and her partner, Kirsty Starmer, 15-6, in deteriorating weather conditions.
In the mens’, too, local players came to dominate the top positions. The final pool of four, after a long day of play on the Saturday, comprised wholly of players based in Devon; last year’s King
Haydn Lawson and fellow Academy of Beach Sports athlete Sam Dunbavin were joined in the pool by Shaun Morrison, who lives in West Buckland, and Valdis Baranovs, from Exeter.
Eventually, though, after pool play on Sunday morning, it was Lawson and Dunbavin that emerged from the group to play head to head in the final, with both men determined to prevent the other from winning the crown. It was Lawson and his chosen partner Baranovs that took an early lead against Dunbavin and Oxford-based partner David Skora, putting pressure on the latter pair to take a 10-6 lead. Dunbavin and Skora rallied, however, with some strong serving and tactical work, with Dunbavin eventually coming out on top to win 15-11 for his first King of the Beach title.