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The 2016-17 domestic student volleyball season reaches its conclusion on the weekend of 3-4 June with the inaugural BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Beach Volleyball Championships being held on Sandbanks Beach, Poole.
The newly established BUCS Beach Volleyball Championships reflects the increasing interest and profile of beach volleyball in the student sector, with highly prized BUCS points available to be won by institutions. Across the three levels of competition on offer for both Men and Women – Championship, Trophy and Shield – the competition has attracted a healthy entry of 87 pairs, with a further 13 mixed teams playing in the recreational 4v4 event.
Both men’s and women’s competitions have the potential to deliver some intriguing ties. Host institution, Bournemouth University, is strongly represented by number 1 seeds Batrane and Jones in the men’s Championship event.
Although they were adversaries in last year’s Beach Student Cup, the Bournemouth University teammates will be hoping that last season’s international beach experience will assist them in seeing off the strong challenge from Northumbria University’s top pairing of Cook and Starkey. Last season, Batrane competed at the World University Games in Estonia, while Jones competed at the CEV U22 Championships.
With Northumbria’s Cook focussed on gaining qualification for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, representing Scotland, competition is certain to be fierce. Also, last year’s Beach Student Cup semi-finalists from Oxford University, Anza and Novotny, have returned to try and go one better so the men’s event promises to deliver some top quality competition.
Northumbria University pair Blomgren and Vlasic have been given top seeding in the women’s Championship. However, the titanic Northumbria/Durham rivalry which has been such a feature of the indoor BUCS Volleyball competitions this season looks set to continue, with number 2 seeds Dailey and Campbell undoubtedly seeking to maintain Durham’s current supremacy over their long time adversaries from the North East. Durham won the closely fought Championship final in March, having just missed out on the Premier North league title to Northumbria earlier in the season on head to head results, so it’s safe to say that both institutions will be set on taking home the final bragging rights of the season.
Mark Brian, Head of Sport Programmes at BUCS said:
“BUCS is delighted to have brought Beach Volleyball into our programme this year and with Volleyball England and Bournemouth University delivering the event the inaugural BUCS Championships is set to be a fantastic couple of days of competition, with some top athletes taking part. Our hope is that the event continues to grow on the back of this first year, with more institutions represented and the competition contributing to the growth of the sport in the UK”.
“Several organisations, ourselves included, have been lobbying in recent years to have Beach Volleyball included within the BUCS programme. We are therefore delighted to see that everything has now come together to make this a reality in 2017. This represents a significant step forward for the sport in this country. Having the incentive of BUCS points on offer makes it more likely that universities will now invest yet more time, effort and money into the sport. With Beach Volleyball also making it into the Commonwealth Games for the first time – at both junior and senior level – the timing could not be better. For that reason, we are hugely excited about working with BUCS to help deliver this weekend’s event”. – Samantha Jamieson, Core Market Officer, Volleyball England.
“We are very pleased to be hosting the BUCS Beach Volleyball Championships this weekend. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our beautiful coastline and provide some local support to our talented student athletes who will be representing Bournemouth University. Beach Volleyball is a focus sport for us at BU so it’s great to be able to host the championships and in doing so promote the sport to the wider community and grow its following for future participants”. – Barry Squires, Business & Partnership Manager, SportBU, Bournemouth University.
The 2017 BUCS Beach Volleyball Championships will be held from 3-4 June on Sandbanks Beach, Poole. 87 pairs will compete across the two days, with a further 13 teams playing in the recreational 4v4 event. Follow the event live via social media using the official hashtag: #BUCSbeach. For more information visit www.bucs.org.uk/beach.