Kiwi men delight in New Zealand Open win
In the final they came up against the US team of Tri Bourne and Will Montgomery, who had won at the Hamilton competition a week previously and started strongly to win the first set.
With a vocal crow of 1,000 behind them though Heath and O’Dea fought back to win the second and they carried their momentum into the final set and built an early lead. The US pair fought back late on, but the Kiwis were solid in their defence and held on to win 2-1.
O'Dea has competed 11 times on the FIVB World Tour while Heath has made six appearances, the last being in 2011, however they have never competed internationally together.
Despite the defeat the US duo had done enough to win the overall New Zealand international tour title.
In the women’s final German pair Julia Sude and Chantal Laboureur held off the challenge of Australian Olympian Tamsin Hinchley and New Zealand’s Micah Lindsay-Brown. It means Sude and Laboureur were also crowned overall tour champions.
The German duo took control quickly in the first set and while the Trans-Tasman pair put Sude and Laboureur under pressure in the second, the Europeans finished with a 2-0 win. It meant Hinchley and Lindsay-Brown had to settle for a second consecutive silver medal a week after finishing second in Hamilton.
Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley, and Melissa Ruru and Alice Bain, both New Zealand teams, shared the women’s bronze, while Ben and Edwin O’Dea shared the men’s bronze with the USA’s Mark Burik and Jeremy Casebeer.