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New Forest's Archie Golding takes fifth at beach volleyball nationals at Sandbanks

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HAVING qualified for the U18 national beach volleyball finals, New Forest Volleyball Club player and SportsAid Award recipient Archie Golding once again teamed up with Worthing’s Cameron Cooke to take on the best players in the country.

The nation’s top 20 teams gathered at Sandbanks to battle each other and the elements on one of the wettest and windiest weekends so far this summer.

In pool play, the newly formed team of Golding and Cooke found themselves on the court against the number one seeds Enrique Bello and Peter Soczewka in driving rain and winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour. Both sides saw the funny side, but Golding and Cooke proved no match for the experienced pair from London, going down by two sets to the eventual champions.

Archie Golding (right) spiking at the net
Archie Golding (right) spiking at the net

Golding and Cooke recovered from their opening defeat to overcome the other three teams in the group 2-0 in each match.

Once again, the draw was against the south coast team, pitting them against the number two seeds, Ben Gladstone and Oliver Quick, in the quarter-finals. Golding and Cooke produced a far more competitive performance in calmer weather conditions to push their opponents all the way, but they could not stop the eventual bronze medallists from taking the match 2-0.

Golding now moves into the senior ranks, playing his first event at the Olympic courts in Leyton, with professional player Robert Poole. That will be followed by the Weymouth Classic, where Archie will drag his dad, former UK number two Simon Golding, out of retirement for one last shot at the country’s most prestigious title.

In the girls’ U18 event, New Forest and Wessex player Tara King was in action with her partner, Wessex teammate Chloe Lambert. Seventeen-year-old King from Hordle is a key member of the England indoor volleyball programme but stepped out of her comfort zone to record some good performances on the sand.

King and Lambert had several England squad beach volleyball players in their pool but scored one victory and took all of their opponents to three sets.

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