Surprise will meet Dubai 2021 in the final of the NAS Volleyball Championships, both going through after prevailing in thrilling five-setters in the semi-finals.
Surprise, the 2017 champions, fought back from 1-2 down to defeat Bin Thani 16-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 15-8, with Moroccan professional Mohammed Al Hachdadi topping the points chart for them with 29 points, while Cuban pro Bisset Yordan scored 18. Across the net, Algerian pro Mohammed Sheikhi was in great form for Bin Thani, scoring 27 points.
In the second semi-final, Dubai 2021, one half of a franchise that has won the title three times including last year, stopped a battling Fohood Zabeel 25-18, 25-16, 18-25, 20-25, 15-13. Hernandez Ramos was the lead performer for Dubai 2021 on the night with 26 points, alongside Ahmed Abdulrahman (17 points) and Mubarak Sultan (13 points), while Czech Republic’s David Kinect (22 points) and Frenchman Rossard Thibault (21 points) led the Fohood Zabeel fightback.
“It was a thrilling game, a great advertisement for volleyball,” said Khamis Esmaeel, the Surprise team owner. “I am really with how our players refuse to give up and fought back to win the last two sets.
“Surprise deserve to be in the final for the way they have played right through the tournament, and this win will give their confidence a huge boost because Bin Thani played really well. Now, we just need to show the same kind of resolve in the final and remain focused.”
In the NAS Cricket tournament, a fine allround performance from D Chathura led Velocity Cricket Club to a 7-run win over The Cricketers Club.
Walking in to bat with Velocity three down for 12 in the second over, Chathura steadied the innings with a responsible 15-ball 25 (2x4s, 1×6), which set the stage for Shadab Ahmed to come in later and blast a 13-ball 30 (2x4s, 3x6s).
Chasing 118 for a win, The Cricketers Club, who had lost to DP World by 34 runs in their opening Pool 4 match, made an exhilarating start with 47 runs from the first three overs. But Chathura took three wickets for six runs in the fourth over to turn the tide. He took a fourth wicket in his second over and The Cricketers Club failed to recover from those blows, finishing on 110 for 8.
Chathura, who also took a catch and affected a run-out, finished with four wickets for 21 and his splendid allround performance earned him the man of the match award.
In the other match of the night, host Wombats Cricket Club defeated DCAS by 5 wickets to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive.
Beaten by MGM Cricket Club Sharjah in their opening Pool 5 match, Wombats first restricted DCAS to 89 for 6 in their 10 overs and then crossed the target with five wickets and four balls to spare. They did look in a spot of bother after losing their top three for 19 and four for 34, but an unbeaten 19-ball 40 (1×4, 4x6s) from Haroon Ghaus and his 44-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Aziz Ansari (23: 22b, 2x4s) took them across the line.
Gallo and Apraiz triumph
In the NAS Padel Championship, Carolina Gallo and Marta Apraiz defeated Retha Mcfarlane and Bernadette Helena 6-1, 6-3 to win the Women’s Open title. In the third-place playoff, sisters Hafsah Sani and Khadeejah Sani beat Barbara Espejo and Gabriela Martinas 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
Khadeejah, 30, and Hafsa, 29, who moved to Dubai from Michigan a few years ago, got attracted to padel tennis during a visit to the NAS Sports Tournament two years ago and the sisters were delighted with the progress they have made since.
“We were attracted by the speed of the game and its impact on physical fitness,” said Hafsa. “Padel tennis is a great sport to play to stay physically fit, and it is a lot of fun as well.
“This is our first official championship and to finish fourth is a great achievement for us. We lost to two professional players in the semis, but had some memorable wins, and now we are looking forward to the next year. Finishing third this year will be a great motivation for us to come back to the NAS Sports Tournament next year and try to do better.”
SEMI-FINAL: Surprise beat Bin Thani 3-2 (16-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 15-8); Dubai 2021 beat Fohood Zabeel 3-2 (25-18, 25-16, 18-25, 20-25, 15-13).
Velocity Cricket Club 117 for 7 (D Chathura 25, S Ahmed 30; NR Rashid 3-14) vs The Cricketers Club 110 for 8 (MW Waseem 42; D Chathura 4-21, IR Hussain 2-11). Vlocity win by 7 runs. Man of the Match: D Chathura.
DCAS 89 for 6 (R Kumar 25; A Nini 3-4) vs Wombats Cricket Club 93 for 5 in 9.2 overs (AA Ansari 23, HG Ghaus n.o. 40; J Joseph 2-22, M Abdullakutty 2-8). Wombats win by 5 wickets. Man of the Match: HG Ghaus.
Women’s Epee International Semi-final: Nardine Botrous (Egypt) beat Salwa Aly (Egypt) 15-11; Kelly Boone (Netherlands) beat Sherwet Aly (Egypt) 14-13.
Men’s Epee Local Semi-final: Mohammed Al Maazmi (Sharjah Club) beat Hamad Al Jallaf (Baniyas) 15-14; Saif Ahmad (Dubai Fencing Centre) beat Khalifa Al Zarooni (Baniyas) 13-10.
Men’s Open: Jose Juan Matea and German Zunica beat Biel Relat Ballester and Carlos Luna 6-2, 6-3.
UAE Nationals: Mohammed Al Nuaimi and Ali Sharif Al Marzouqi beat Mohammed Al Marri and Eisa Al Marzooqi 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Women’s Open Final: Carolina Gallo and Marta Apraiz beat Retha Mcfarlane and Bernadette Helena 6-1, 6-3. Third-Place: Hafsah Sani and Khadeejah Sani beat Barbara Espejo and Gabriela Martinas 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
Teams: Mondia beat Padel Pro 6-1, 6-0; Mondia beat Padel Pro 6-1, 6-1.
NAS 3X3 BASKETBALL
Girl’s Junior Semi-final: Brooklyn Nets beat Hoopers 3-2; The Quattro Ballers beat Jam 6-4.
Women’s Semi-final: And One beat Chevrolet 15-7; Sharjah Women Team A beat SWS-Eastern Team A 14-6.
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