2018-04-10 10:48:00 CET
Australians set for semifinal showdown with England
The Ashes of beach volleyball is on! 🏴🇦🇺 @CommGamesAUS' Damien Schumann and Chris McHugh will meet @TeamEngland's @GBRBeachVolley for a place in the #GC2018Volleyball final tomorrow! Here's their thoughts on the rivalry after #FTLMajor! 👀 @BBCSport @7CommGames https://t.co/c1WiU1b7vP
The great sporting rivalry of England versus Australia will hit the beach for the first time as both nations go head to head for a place in the men’s Commonwealth Games final on Wednesday’s.
Home heroes Damien Schumann and Chris McHugh continued their fine form in the tournament with a faultless straight sets quarterfinal win over Sierra Leone’s Patrick Lombi and Abu Bakar Kamara.
The Aussie favorites will face England’s Jake Sheaf and Chris Gregory in the semifinal, after the Europeans recorded a tense straight sets quarterfinal victory over their good friends from Scotland, Robin Miedzybrodzki Seain Cook.
Both nations enjoy a friendly but occasionally fiery sporting rivalry. The countries’ cricket teams contest The Ashes series – a tournament which began way back in 1882. It’s said that the contents of a small urn – which both teams compete to win – contains a burnt cricket ball.
So, what’s the chances of a beach volleyball Ashes series beginning on Coolangatta Beach on Wednesday?
“I think every time Australia plays sport they want to get one over the old enemy,” grinned McHugh. “It’s not just in our sport, it’s in any sport, but whenever Australia meet England there’s a little bit of niggle.
“Jake and Chris are great guys but we’re out here to win, not to come second. It’s going to be a lot of fun, the stadium is going to be packed so bring it on.”
England might have lost the last Ashes series in cricket earlier this year, but that’s not something the country’s top beach volleyball duo are thinking of.
“Australia will be favorites for the game and it’s going to be an enjoyable match so I’m up for it and we’re so looking forward to it,” said Chris. “But I won’t be burning any volleyball’s just yet.”
Jake added: “It will be great, the atmosphere will be electric. We’ll go into the match with the same mindset. We’ll do our homework and we’ll see how we go.”
In the other men’s semifinal, Canadian Beach Major Series regulars Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter will meet New Zealand brothers Ben and Sam O’Dea. The North Americans enjoyed a smooth passage into the last four with a straight sets win over Dimitris Apostolou and Georgios Chrysostomou of Cyprus, while the boys from Oceania defeated the saw off Trinidad and Tobago’s Daynte Stewart and Daneil Williams.
The Kiwi pair had lost the first set in all three of their previous match on the Gold Coast but managed to avoid the same fat on Center Court in their quarterfinal.
“I felt we were more relaxed and confident today than we have been in previous matches,” admitted Ben afterwards. “We’re getting used to playing on the main court. It’s a new experience for us and now we have a semifinal to look forward to.”
Commonwealth Games semifinal line-up
Wednesday – Eastern Australian Time.
4.00 pm – Men’s semifinal - Gregory/Sheaf (ENG) v Schumann/McHugh (AUS)
5.00pm – Men’s semifinal - Pedlow/Schachter (CAN) v O'Dea/O'Dea (NZL)