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Hordle's Archie Golding takes first beach volleyball grand prix win at Canford Cliffs

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NEW Forest Volleyball Club player and SportsAid Award recipient Archie Golding claimed his first UK U18 title last weekend, winning the Bournemouth Beach Volleyball Grand Prix at Canford Cliffs.

The 17-year-old from Hordle once again paired with talented Sussex player Cameron Cooke. In pool play, 6ft 8in Golding created a formidable obstacle at the net, and the speedy southpaw Cooke made impressive defensive plays as the pair progressed to the semi-finals.

In the semi-final, Golding and Cooke came up against the unconventional tactics of Isaac Griffiths and Jack Miller. The Bristol pairing started well in the race to 15 points. Strong serving and powerful spiking, particularly from the high-flying Griffiths, kept the opening set close.

Archie Golding spiking in the U18 final
Archie Golding spiking in the U18 final

With the scores locked at 14-14, though, Golding shut down Griffiths with a monster block, and Cooke pulled off a spectacular diving defensive play, finishing the set with a skilful cut shot to the open sand.

In the second set, Golding and Cooke found another gear to win the match comfortably by two sets to nil and move into the final.

In the title match, Golding and Cooke met Wessex duo Jack Ashton and Rhys Lambert. With valuable ranking points on the line, the stakes were high, and Golding and Cooke dominated the early stages. However, tough serving from the Wessex pair did bring them back into the first set, but only temporarily, before their opponents pulled away again to take it 15-11.

In set two, Golding and Cooke once again turned it on. Golding served well and dominated at the net, proving difficult to get the ball past while effectively attacking with his powerful spikes. Cooke was similarly impressive in the back court, and the pair controlled the second set to win the tournament without dropping a single set.

The win means the pair have now booked their place in the national championships at Sandbanks in early July.

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