Anna Harrington / AAP News
The Men’s Beach Volleyball pair has advanced to the quarter-finals of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games tournament.
Australia’s men’s beach volleyballers have overcome a scare from Rwanda to prevail 21-16 21-18 and seal top spot in pool B.
Paul Burnett and Chris McHugh haven’t dropped a set across three games but had to fight back from 14-16 down in the second set against Venuste Gatsinzi and Olivier Ntagengwa.
Topping the group means Australia will play a third-placed qualifier from one of the other two groups in their quarter-final.
Their opponent is yet to be determined as it depends on other results and the subsequent draw.
“Probably not the best game we’ve ever played, but to be able to guts it out and come away with the win, we take some confidence from that,” Burnett told AAP.
“But we definitely want to step it up in the next game.
“It’s absolutely great to go through those challenges and have to experience that.
“You’re always much better when you come out the other side with the win.”
McHugh and Burnett s struggled with Wednesday’s wind conditions when serving, recording 11 service faults between them.
“It’s a weird breeze out on court. You feel like the flags are going one way and then on the actual court it’s going the other way,” McHugh said.
“It’s quite breezy and blustery and you throw the serve up a couple of times and it’s not quite where you expect to hit it.”
In the first set McHugh and Burnett kicked out to a 6-2 lead and maintained at least a four-point buffer from there.
The second set proved far tougher, with multiple lead changes.
But trailing 14-16, McHugh pulled through when it counted, perfectly placing a powerful spike.
From there, the Australians reeled off five of the final seven points.