Life's a beach for GB volleyball boys

By Danny Caro in Tel Aviv, July 15, 2009
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Taking part in the open beach volleyball, GB’s youthful squad gave a good account of themselves on Gordon Beach, Tel Aviv on Day Four of the 18th Maccabiah Games.

Split into two teams, the GB boys were forced to compete in the open event after the junior competition was scrapped.

Up against men much older and taller, GB 1 and 2 found themselves up against. In team 1, Joe Davis and Joel Barnett took on athletes from Australia and France.

They were beaten 21-5, 21/12 by the Aussies and 21-11, 21-13 by the French.

Speaking of his first taste of the game on a real beach – the boys had trained on an artificial beach at The Grove Hotel, Watford - Davis said: “Australia took felt they could take it easy against us, but after a tough first set, we improved. We’ve trained hard for eight months for this day and it showed against France as we were up in both sets.

Barnett commented: “We lost concentration against France but don’t worry, we’ll be at the 2012 Olympics.”

In GB 2, Jon Begner and Joe Douer came a cropper against the Ukraine, 21-10, 21-8.

Begner said: “They were big boys and were quite up for it. We played well in the first set and overall it was a decent effort.”

Coach Sonia Fernandez said of the boys: “I’m really pleased with them as they’re juniors playing against men.”

On her first visit to Israel, Fernandez, a Catholic, were overcome with emotion at the Opening Ceremony and cried during a rendition of Hatikva. She said: “I love it here and want to come back after the Maccabiah.”

Team manager Adam Goldman said: “The boys did phenomenally well against bigger guys. They’ve come a long way. There’s now a platform for the sport to development in GB and our athletes are recognised in a 500-plus delegation.”

Last updated: 12:21pm, July 15 2009