Hi There,
It’s been some years now since Duck and I parted ways and got on with other things in life. This is just a post to let you interweb wanderers know that ths site is no longer active. I’m finishing my PhD in biomedical engineering and spending a lot of time working for friends of the earth, being part of the transition to a more sustainable, more just future. you can see some of the campaigning im doing at http://www.sixdegrees.org.au. Duck is busy excelling at being a dad, a husband and working in project management. Heres to the good old days of travelling the world playing beach volleyball, and to embracing the shift in our lives to seek out new challenges and apply ourselves in new ways, where we are needed most.

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We played our last game this morning, a bit of a nervous performance in front of some good Aussie supporters. We lost 2-1 (20-22, 21-12, 15-13) to Huseby – Hellum from Norway, definately a beatable team. It is a dissapointing way to finish the tour but at least we come away with a clear picture of what we need to work on: consistency and confidence in our game.

We will be home in a couple of weeks after a short trip through the States. Thanks heaps to everyone who has been reading, posting comments and supporting us from home. It has meant alot to both of us to have people back home cheering us on.

When we get home it will be back into training with Dan at the QAS, looking to make the most of the experience we’ve gained here and prepare for the World Tour event in Indonesia in October and of course the Aussie National Tour in November.

Cheers,

Brad

16 games in 8 days. Exhasted? Yup. I rolled out of bed this morning and just made it for breakfast at 11am. Thinking about what I want to do today, sleeping is definately high on the list, perhaps behind going to the courts to check out the awesome crowd here in Baden one more time, and to thank the organizers for such a massively fun time before we fly off to Canada.

It was a pity that we didn’t make it through to Sunday here: we finished 9th yesterday evening, but a day off does feel pretty good. We played 4 matches yesterday (ok so here they play best of 3 sets to only 15 points, but we’re still knackered). Three of the games were on center court surounded by honestly the best crowd I have seen. That was fun. We lost the first game in a big upset, then knocked out two teams in the losers bracket before losing a great 3 setter to a good team. It was amazing how much fun we had playing in front of that crowd and I think we played pretty well. One thing I remember is jump serving an ace on the baseline to save one match point in the last game, I think that’s an indication of how we were playing, going hard despite the pressure (for most of the game at least). Duck has been siding out like a champ too, so things are felling positive at the moment. I feel that the pressure of playing internationally is somehow much higher that playing at home, so I’m glad that we are learning to deal with it. Oh, and the players party last night was much fun too, but I think I’ve already said too much for one post.

Tsüss!

Brad

This afternoon in our third game of the maindraw we were knocked out of the tournament. We played Spain (loss 21-9, 21-16), Russia (win 21-18, 21-118, 15-9)  and Poland (loss 21-15, 21-16).

So it was a big day with plenty of ups and downs, and now we are making tracks for Austria where we play tomorrow morning. We sure are keeping busy with two games yesterday and three games today walking up stairs is becoming all too hard for the legs. Lets wait and see how we feel by Sunday arvo!

 Gotta run, Austria awaits.

Brad

We had two games in the qualifier here in the Czech Rep. challenger, and we won the first and lost the second. It was a nice draw, but with the high stakes of qualification we just didn’t play well in the second game vs Switzerland.

We got lucky though, one team pulled out of maindraw and we were drawn from the hat as lucky losers. So we are into the maindraw tournament tomorrow (Yay!). Better get some sleep before we play.

 Brad

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On the weekend we went to Copenhagen to hang out with Bo and play the first event in the Danish National Tour.

There might have to be a part 2 to this post, because I still have some photos on my camera to upload. The news is that we finished 3rd place, and got to do all the cool stuff like stand on the podium, get a big fake cheque and play a few good games of beach volleyball.

All together we played 7 games in two days, getting knocked into the losers bracket by the 3rd seeds in our second game on Saturday. We won three in a row to get into the semi-final, but lost in a close 3 setter to Martin Siig Simonsen and Jakob Due. We made easy work of the bronze game 21-10, 21-15.

Copenhagen was really nice, and we stayed in a pretty ritzy ‘design’ hotel on the first night (we had no idea where else to go). There is a real culture of design and quality in Denmark and Duck and I both thought that it would be a nice place to go and live – except during the long, cold, dark winter. After the first night we stayed at Bo’s mum’s house which was very homely, and camped on Saturday night at the beach where we played, Feddet.

We got interviewed for TV twice over the weekend, and you can see one of the interviews here at TV2. Also there are a few photos from our semi on picasa. Only the low res photos that I ‘borrowed’ from the photographers website are up until I can buy the high res off him. There are heaps more photos from the rest of the event if anyone is interested in checking out Bo and Anders in the final or the Danish girls comp.

We are now in Brno, Czech Republic and play the qualifier tomorrow for this challenger. If we don’t make it though to Saturday here we will travel to Vienna where there is an Austrian tour event for the weekend. The promoter there offered us a wildcard as well as a hotel and food, so this weekend is looking good either way.

More soon!

Brad

After the tournament in Portugal we ducked up to Bath to train with the Great Britain boys for a few days. Sorry for the lack of photos – they are on my camera and will be up soon. The indoor facility close by in Bristol ensured perpetually good weather for training, and the super deep sand was fun to train in. We also got into the gym at Bath uni which is a really good gym, the first gym we’ve come across on our travels that compares to the QAS gym back home. After dropping in on Corryn and Richard again we left London last Thursday morning feeling sore from a good workout and confident after some good trainings. Playing some short games against Steve and Jody with altered scoring (getting a fault on serve, two points for an ace, two side-outs in a row etc.) were perfect for focusing on serving hard, and siding out consistently – just what we needed.

A catch up post for me, I just wanted to let everyone know what a great time I had two weeks ago when I was training in Paris with the French team CesCes. For just under a week we trained at the French National Sports Institute, and on the weekend I was treated to seeing the sights of Paris with some real Parissians to show me around. The Ces brothers are from Montpellier in the south of France, but they had a couple of willing friends in Paris who we spent the weekend with and had a ball.

Training with the Ces brothers was great, yoga before most practices was right up my alley, and on the sand I found myself having to hit and block as high and as hard as possible every single time to get points against the French guys, who both know how to jump.

Walking around the streets and sights of Paris it really impressed me as a beautiful city with so much history and so much to see. It definately earns it’s place as one of the must-see places in the world. There are more photos on my picasa album, but the one on the right is Kevin Ces, their good friend Maia, me and Andy Ces in front of the Sacred Heart Basilica in Paris (map). From there we had a view over the whole of Paris, and it is definately a great spot to visit.

I peel off my rain jacket and sit down to finally post our results from this tournament here in Portugal. As you may have guessed the reason I’m very late in writing this post is that I hate posting bad news. For those who haven’t already checked the FIVB website we finished 57th, losing our first round match in three to Japan (Morikawa-Hasegawa). Although we’d trained against this Japanese team twice before and were confident going into the game, intense winds and horizontal rain levelled the playing field somewhat. Unlike the windy conditions that helped us to a win in Croatia, the wind here was so strong that we struggled to even serve the ball in consistently with the wind in our faces. In the picture is the vielw of the wet, uninviting beach from our apartment balcony.

It was a close match, and after Japan taking the first 21-18 and us winning the second 21-15, we made a few too many side-out errors from the bad end (wind at our backs) to lose 11-15. A disappointing loss against a very beatable team, but at least we played well for parts of the match.

The cold, driving rain today is a bit of a repeat of qualification day, but on Thursday and Friday the sun came out; Espinho really is a beautiful place to play beach volleyball on sunny days. As for the rainy days, ‘V for Vendetta’ is  a great, fun movie well worth checking out, ‘The Guardian’ in my opinion, is not.

Next we plan to train with the Great Britain team in Bath, UK for a couple of days, before heading to Denmark for a National Tour event there. Following that we have only two more tournaments planned: a Challenger in the Czech Republic and our last FIVB Open in Montreal.

Wt Logo smIt was a tough day today in the qualifier (no surprise there), but finally we will leave the courts today quite happy with how we played. Not the ecstatic “we qualified” feeling, but not the disappointed”we played badly” feeling either.

We were seeded 47 this time (gradually working our way up) so came up against the 18th seeds Gabathuler-Wenger of Switzerland. It was a strong start to the game, with both teams siding-out and serving well. We simply couldn’t score any points at the end of the first set, and they won 21-17. Both teams came out hard again to start the second set, but we pushed harder and quickly ran away to a 3 point lead 6-3 with a couple of strong serves to the lines and blocks. Then the wind really started to howl, and we switched ends with the momentum behind us and a gale in our faces. It was happy days from then on; we let our arms loose on some big jump serves into the wind and controlled the ball well at both ends. No answer from the Swiss and we won the set 21-13.

The wind obliged by staying strong in the third set and again we built a small lead by banging serves and good play all round. Things got a little close at 11-9, but we then switched to the good end and finished off with a couple of points, 15-10. It was a fun 48 minutes of Volleyball, and we were happy to have beaten a good team.

Lake Jaron and ZagrebA 90 minute break (and a nice dip in the lake) later we were up again vs the 15 seeds Berg – Brinkborg of Sweden. Tough draw, but there are no easy draws. We started a bit shaky agianst the big blocks and solid defence of this team, and went down a dismal 21-12 in the first set. We regouped a little and hit better in the second set, but it simply wasn’t enough to shake the Swedes, who sided out flawlessly: they made good passes and great sets even off our hard or well placed jumpserves and hit the ball hard just to the edges and top of my block, and lots of sharp angles. 21-15 was the final score in the second, all in all the game was 38 minutes of fighting hard, but not winning.

Latest news is that Berg – Brinkborg just beat Holland 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) to qualify. Other interesting results are that Bo and Anders of Denmark lost in the first round, and Kirk and Jason from New-Zealand lost a close two setter in the third round, after being in the maindraw for the last three tournaments. Full results are here at the FIVB. And while I’m on the topic HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Natalie and Tamsin for taking out Gold in the Seoul open last weekend. There’s even a story at the Sydney Morning Herald! But a better one at the FIVB.

The next tourmaent is next Wednesday in Espinho, Portugal. Between now and then we have a few days to enjoy Zagreb and get some training games before we fly to London for a weekend off with family (hi to Corryn, Richard, Jayde, Roger and Anna, see you soon). Already we have a friendly match scheduled for tomorrow afternoon vs our good friends the Ces brothers from France.

All the best and thanks to everyone for all your comments on the site. It’s always great to get your messages, and we have been following your advice (mostly)

brad