If you havn't already read Part I of 'Europe's FIRST EVER Tour Series - Belgian Grand Slam' GO BACK to WATCH how the first set went down!
The second set was INTENSE to say the least. Whacka-TaC knew that the title was on the line and stepped up when they needed to. In these tight games, one too many mistakes can be the difference between victory and defeat and unfortunately for Whacka-TaC this would be their fate. The second sets ended 21 - 18 and Sneaky Polar Vortexes were crowned the champions of the First Ever European Tour Series Event.
Sneaky Polar Vortexes are truly a force to be reckoned with and this is mostly down to the fact that Tom and Joel seems to LOVE playing together. When we asked Joel how this friendship started he told us "Tom and I met virtually when he reached out to me to become an ambassador, and then started showing serious ambition and promise by coming up with detailed plans for projects and executing on them. We met in person in Atlanta last year when he came to the States for the first time, and we’ve been great friends ever since. We have really bonded over our shared faith in Jesus and our love for Spikeball, Roundnet, Chick-fil-A, and good ice cream". Tom tells us that Joel has "done so much good for the international movement as one person, legend!".
This is a team we at Roundnet World would back going into an international tournament and unfortunately for US ballers Joel tells us that "We will be teaming up in Boston an hope to play more tournaments in the future as well!
The Womans division at the Belgian Grand slam was was the most competitive seen on the continent to date! The final which was watched by ballers at the venue and at home from the live stream was between Gabriela Mlcochova (Czech Republic) and Johanna Schumann (Germany) of No Boundaries and Ruth Troughtan (UK) and Merle Reitz of Ruthless Blackbirds. The final was incredible and Ruthless Blackbirds took the win in 2 sets 23 - 21 and 21 - 14.
Ruth Troughtan from the Ruthless Blackbirds (#1) was delighted with how the Womans Division went and hopes that this event "will attract more girls to play competitively and the division will really grow". Thankfully we will be seeing this great team back in action as "Ruthless Blackbirds will be at the European Championship in September trying to retain the title!". When we asked Ruth how she felt about the international competition she said "I actually played against Bec and Ali from Ogres Heroes (#1 US) last year when I went to the US Nationals in Santa Monica. They whipped us! Their shots were super well executed and they defended so well. Inspired!". We would love to see this match-up in a year or 2 when the woman's division really takes off in Europe.
This was a truly incredible event to be in attendance of and this will set the standard for EUSRA tour stops and all European competitions in the future. Even the Joel Graham who has gone to tournaments in every corner of the US said that "I will always remember the Belgian Grand Slam. Having Chris Ruder and and Cisek and Showalter there as well as the numerous EU countries represented, it really felt like a global tournament and very special day". The EUSRA have come a long way since Joel first experienced the community first hand last year at the European Championships in London. Joel told Roundnet World about some of the major developments he has noted:
- "The EU roundnet community seems to have really taken ownership of the future and growth of the sport, and from individuals to clubs to the EUSRA, it’s clear that there is a unified passion for building the Roundnet Community."
- "The competition level has improved - I saw a lot of players that I’d met last fall in London who had improved and progressed in skill."
- "More players seemed to come prepared with knowledge of the rules and the tournament directors had an excellent system around gameplay and the format of the tournament."