McHUGH/SCHUMANN CLOSE IN ON COMMONWEALTH GAMES SELECTION WHILE THE WOMENS RACE REMAINS WIDE OPEN
Australia’s number one ranked Beach Volleyball pairing of Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann have all but secured their place as Australia’s mens pairing for this years Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
McHugh and Schumann were pushed all the way in this weekends second of three Commonwealth Games selection events, fending off the number two challengers of Zachery Schubert/Cole Durant in the semi finals in a tough three setter 21-17, 18-21, 17-15.
The top Aussie men of McHugh/Schumann didn’t have things all their own way going down in the Gold Medal match to Casey Grice and Holland’s Bart Bolsterlee.
With the pressure off Grice/Bolsterlee played with freedom to relegate McHugh and Schumann to the Silver medal.
Despite the loss in the final, Australian men’s coach Andrew Schacht says McHugh and Schumann are still the front runners for Commonwealth Games selection.
“All things are pointing to Chris and Damien at the moment but we still have a World Tour event in Shepparton and the WA OPEN before Commonwealth Games so we’ll see how it plays out”
The mens Bronze medal playoff was a tense battle between the next two Australian Commonwealth games team hopefuls Schubert/Durant up against Josh Court/Paul Burnett.
The match was played at a high intensity between two sides that know each other well and both equally determined to impress national selectors.
Durant and Schubert took the first set 21-12 before their opponents hit back in the second 21-16 to take it to an epic third set decider. The number two Aussie men Schubert/Durant digging in to take the set and match 15 -12.
“As a country we pride ourselves on fighting and thats why when we come up against each other no one wants to budge” said Durant after the win.
Schubert/Durant haven't given up hope of being on the Gold Coast in April for Australia with the third and final Commonwealth Games selection event still to come next month in Perth.
“We are still a chance. It still counts. We got two thirds with one more event still to go in WA so hopefully we can keep improving our results.” Said Schubert.
The Womens race for Commonwealth Games selection is wide open after Australia’s highest ranked player Taliqua Clancy was forced out of the event with an ongoing foot injury.
Clancy’s regular partner Mariafe Artacho del Solar continues to impress but fell short of winning the Gold Medal in Adelaide with stand in partner Stefanie Weiler. The pair playing together for the first time went down to dutch pair Katja Stam/Julia Wouters 1-2 (14-21, 21-12, 11-15).
After the match Artacho del Solar said she hopes to get back on court with Clancy as soon as possible to keep their Commonwealth Games dream alive
“Taliqua is still in rehab, not getting worse which is a positive, hopefully she can be back on the sand very soon. Im really looking forward to getting back on court with her for sure."
Australia’s next best genuine contenders for national selection, Phoebe Bell/Jess Ngauamo missed their opportunity to impress selectors, eliminated in the quarter finals by Slawuta/Gronfeldt in three sets.
Triple Olympian Tamsin Hinchley may have her eye on a surprise Commonwealth Games selection after a successful return to the national tour this weekend following a long break for family reasons, impressing by teaming up with Christie Jenkins to claim the Bronze medal.
The third and final Commonwealth games selection event takes place next month in Perth.
Today’s full competition results and rankings available at: http://www.volleyballsa.com.au/saopen