The breathtaking campus of New York University, Abu Dhabi, provided the backdrop for day one of the Under 13 BSME Games, and the action on the pitch more than matched the stunning surroundings of the host-venue. After the formalities of the opening sppeches were done, it was into the action. For the boys, that meant volleyball.
After a series of group games in the morning session, the afternoon fixtures determined each team's final position, and with every place counting towards the Team's overall points tally, competition was feirce.
Bronze Medal Play-Off
In the battle for bronze, Jeddah Prep and Grammar School fought back from behind to steal victory from hosts, British School Al Khubairat.
Jeddah captain Abdullah Nasr was happy to have won the final match, but admitted he was somewhat disappointed not to make the final: "We hoped to win today's event, however, we lost concentration against Brighton (Abu Dhabi), and ended up losing a match we should have won, but I'm proud we were able to pick ourselves up and take third place."
Boys Head Coach, Mr Low, was proud of his team's performance: "I'm gutted that the boys missed out on the final because they've worked so hard all year. Third is still a great result and we're really looking forward to the football tournament tomorrow."
Gold Medal Play-Off
In the grand finale, a red-hot Sherborne team took on the pride of Bahrain, St Christopher's. Right from the first point, the standard of play and intensity was incredible.
As the match wore on, the bleachers inside NYU's pristine sports hall hummed with excitement and nervous energy, but still the sides could not be separated. As the lead continued to change hands, the tension in the stands grew ever more palpable.
At 24-23, St Christopher's looked to have victory in their grasp, only for the men from Doha to seize back the advantage.
With the scores locked at 24-24, and with player of the tournament, Diego, serving, the writing looked to be on the wall. The first serve was simply unplayable, giving Sherborne a one-point lead and the chance to seal victory.
However, Diego's second serve floated just long, giving service back to St Christopher's.
St Christopher's Team captain, Vedant, admirably held his nerveto secure the next two points, sealing victory and sending the SCS players and supporters into ruptures with a 27-25 win.
Head coach Rob Subbiani was delighted for his squad: "We didn't come here expecting to win today, so I'm over the moon for the players."
He too expressed high hopes for his boys in tomorrow's football tournament, but chose to deflect attention from them and instead pile the pressure on the SCS girls netball team: "We've done our part – I just pray the girls netball coaches don't let us down tomorrow," he said with a smile as his colleagues giggled behind him.
A huge congratulations to all the sides who took part in today's boys volleyball competition.
Full List of Winners:
1st place: St Christopher's School, Bahrain
2nd place: Sherborne, Qatar
3rd place: Jeddah Prep & Grammar School
Player of the Tournament
Diogo – Sherborne, Qatar
Fair Play Award
Dhahran British Grammar School