Gaining the number one seed from pool play ahead of the quarter-finals tonight is the goal for the O'Dea brothers, from Tauranga.

Sam, 27, and Ben, 25, are representing New Zealand at beach volleyball's inaugural appearance at the Commonwealth Games.

They have beaten both Cyprus and Mozambique 2-1. Their match against the strong England combination of Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf was being played tonight (NZ time) at the spectacular Coolangatta venue beside the ocean.

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Sam O'Dea told the Bay of Plenty Times by phone from the Gold Coast that they had slow starts in both games but joked they love playing in the arena so much they wanted to stretch their matches out to three sets to prolong the experience.

"We have had slow starts in both matches but in both games, we were definitely the better team and finished strong, which is the most important thing.

"In our first match, we were very nervous. It was the first game at the Commonwealth Games, a huge crowd, big stadium and it took us a little while to warm into it. The second game we felt better and definitely felt in better rhythm.

"I guess the different style of play from Mozambique took us by surprise a little bit in the first set and it took us a little while to adjust. When we did we were rolling pretty good and won pretty easy."

The game against England overnight was not only a step up in intensity but an opportunity to get a preferential seeding in the quarter-finals.

"It is a big step up for sure but there are kind of two sides to it. They are definitely better than the two teams we have played. They have had two wins also but then again they play a similar style to what we are used to playing against," Sam said.

"We are hoping for a better start and getting that number one spot in pool play is pretty important as it means we kind of dodge the possibility of playing Australia or Canada or those other teams that are going to be top four."

Meanwhile, the New Zealand women's beach volleyball team of Hamilton's Shaunna Polley and Mount Maunganui's Kelsie Wells won their first match against Rwanda 2-0 and play Singapore tonight. The Kiwi pair are back in action in a tough match against Vanuatu tomorrow at 6pm.

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■Western Bay athletes in action tomorrow
Beach volleyball
6pm NZ women v Vanuatu
Hockey
11.30pm Black Sticks women v Australia
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