The final day of preliminary round matches in the female division of the inaugural Just Bet/TVJ SN Beach Volleyball League lived up to expectation with humdinger three-set matches in the two key matches at Barbican Beach recently.
The feature match saw the fancied pair of Cherine Richards and Cheryl Daley going up against Nardrake Hutchinson and Tsahai Williams. The match required three close sets to eventually separate the teams.
Hutchinson and Williams took the first set 26-24 before Richards/Daley returned the favour in the second, 21-18. The third and deciding set was also close, but was eventually taken by Hutchinson and Williams 15-11.
In the other match of great interest, the pairs of Shedeiky Hamilton-Barnes and Kai Wright were pitted against the the Florida-based Danielle Perry and her local-based partner, Cherie Thompson. Perry and Thompson drew first blood with a 21-19 first set victory. In the second set Hamilton-Barnes and Wright turned the tables, winning 21-16.
As expected, the third set was a close affair, with both teams sticking close to each other. In the end however, Hamilton-Barnes and Wright came away with the victory, taking the set 18-16.
Hutchinson/Williams top the female division with five victories and one defeat, for a total of 16 points. Hamilton-Barnes and Wright ended second with 14 points, followed by Perry and Thompson and Richards and Daley with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Based on the placing of the teams after the preliminary round, Hamilton-Barnes and Wright faced off with Perry and Thompson in the first semi-final where they defeated the latter pair in two sets, 21-13 and 21-18. In the other semi-final, Hutchinson and Williams went up against Richards and Daley with the latter coming out as the victors in a nail-biting game. They won two of the three sets, 18-21, 21-19 and 15-12.
The competition is JaVA's first beach volleyball league and has received good sponsorship support from Just Bet, TVJ SN, Jamaica Blue Spring Water, Yummy Bakery, Velle Sports International, Hi-Lyte Sport Drink, Red Stripe Light, Juici Patties and Suzuki Jamaica.
The league will conclude with the finals on November 3, at 2:00 pm at the Barbican Sports Complex.
In the men's category, the pair of Ryck Webb and Gatasheu Bonner established themselves as the favourites to win the title. The 18-year-old Webb teamed up with his veteran partner to put on a clinic show when they tore apart the well acclaimed pair of Dellan Brown and Donovan Richards in straight sets, 21-14, 21-11.
Prior to their match up against each other, both pairs had won all of their previous four matches. However, Webb and Bonner were yet to lose a set while Brown and Richards had lost two sets in total. Despite the reflection in the scores, the match was very competitive, with some heavy spiking by Webb and Brown in particular. The real differences between the teams were the bullet-like jump-serve of Webb and the defensive agility of the winning pair.
Webb and Bonner finished atop the male division at the end of the preliminary round and played the pair of Delford Morgan and Shane Dwyer in the semi-finals on Sunday. They demolished Dwyer and Morgan in two sets, 21-14 and 21-18. Brown and Richards took on the third-place pair of Christopher Walters and Peter Wright. Richard and Brown were the victors in two sets 21-17 and 21-14.