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2017-07-28 14:24:00 CEST

From housemates to World Champs rivals

Australian quartet get their competition underway with some familiar faces on the other side of the net

Bawden/Clancy won their opening match of the World ChampsBawden/Clancy won their opening match of the World Champs

Facing off against your compatriots in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 is one thing, but when it is against someone you lived with for six years, weird might not even cover it.

That was the situation for Taliqua Clancy and Jessyka Ngauamo on Friday, with the two Australians pairing up with Louise Bawden and Nicole Laird respectively for their first matches of competition in Vienna.

As training partners and close friends, a rather strange feeling washed over the quartet, but that didn’t stop everything being left on court for the vital opening fixture.

It was to go all the way too, with favourites Clancy and Bawden prevailing in the deciding set, forced to come from behind to take not only the spoils, but a little bit of bragging rights in the thriller.

“It’s a very different feeling and it’s difficult, those barriers that you normally have with opposition aren’t there and you want to see these girls doing well as well,” said Bawden.

“It was tough, but I’m really proud with how we went in the third set, we pushed our game forward and were able to secure the win.

“Maybe it’s a case of better the devil you know! Sometimes you can pick up some cues but they have the same, it’s very rare for Aussies to match up.

“But you have to remember it’s an important match, it’s the start of the World Championships and it’s important for your country, you know everyone is going to watch and it always adds something to the occasion.”

Defeat may have come their way, but that didn’t stop Laird and Ngauamo also smiling their way through the contest, hopeful of more all-Australian contests as the World Championships progresses.

But for now, they have a job to do with two more matches in their bid to reach the latter stages, also with a time to enjoy the city and competition with their fellow Australians.

It could also prove the ideal time for the compatriots to play each other, with the competitive element now focusing on the other teams as opposed to those from their own nation.

“We talked a lot about the game pre-match and how important it was for us to stick to our strengths, we try to make the opposition irrelevant because there’s always a risk of thinking you know them too well,” Ngauamo said.

“We were tested with that at times but throughout the match we had a consistent level of focus, and we took some really good steps forward despite the result.

“It’s good to get the time out of the way, it’s the one that feels the most foreign at a World Championships, so now the teams can support each other and make it Australia against the world.

“It’s pretty cool, you can experience it with people you’re close to. At the end of the game we got together and teamed up and now we can take it forward against the rest of the teams."

You can see how the Australian pairs get on in Pool K by watching BeachStream throughout the competition. Click here to sign-up!

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