It may not have been perfect but it will do as brothers Sam and Ben O'Dea from Tauranga defeated Cyprus 2-1 in the first beach volleyball match ever staged at a Commonwealth Games.
Sam, 27, and Ben, 25, were expected to win comfortably but the tenacious pairing of Dimitris Apostolou and Georgios Chrysostomou surprised the large crowd by taking the first set 21-16 on the Coolangatta beachfront today.
The more inexperienced pair from Cyprus seemed to adapt to the crosswind conditions better than the Kiwis and took the first set relatively comfortably.
Both O'Dea brothers made two service faults each in the first set to none by Cyprus which proved crucial in the momentum of the set. The Cyprus pair also had a serving advantage when it came to speed with their average speeds 8km/h to 10km/h quicker than the Kiwis.
The second set was a different story with the O'Dea boys more accurate with their serving and Ben O'Dea dominating in attacks. But the Cyprus pair showed that being shorter is not necessarily a negative in beach volleyball by sticking point to point with the taller Kiwis through the tense set.
Eventually, the Kiwis were able to hold on for a 21-19 win and square the match at one set each.
The deciding third set was even at the start with New Zealand ahead 9-7 but Cyprus came back to 10-all and with an upset on the cards the mainly Australian crowd got behind the underdogs.
But that was all the incentive the O'Dea brothers needed to show their class as they scored four excellent points to surge ahead 14-10. A point each to serve was good enough for them to win the third set 15-11 and take the match 2-1.
It was far from a complete performance by the Kiwi siblings but they will be pleased to have got the win as they prepare for harder challenges to come in pool play. They play Mozambique tomorrow and England on Sunday with quarter-finals to start on Tuesday.
Western Bay athletes in action on Saturday
Tem Strickland (Cook Islands) 100m freestyle heats 1.48pm
2.30pm NZ women (Kelsie Wills, Shaunna Polley) v Rwanda
1.30pm NZ women (Sam Charlton, Rose Keddell, Frances Davies, Amy Robinson) v Canada
8pm NZ women v Singapore
10.30pm NZ men v England
Live coverage: TVNZ free-to-air