Hugh Dougherty in action at the Nutri-Grain ironman trials.
Hugh Dougherty in action at the Nutri-Grain ironman trials.

Yamba pair set for ironman series

FORMER Yamba competitors Hugh Dougherty and Alyce Bennett will have the chance to race for surf lifesaving’s biggest cash prizes after qualifying for the 2010 Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman Series.

Dougherty, who now races for Tugun, and Bennett (North Burleigh) were among 11 male and 11 female surf stars to make it through a tough series of trials at Tugun at the weekend.

Dougherty looked in excellent form throughout the weekend and placed a comfortable fourth in the trials pointscore, not far behind pacesetters Rhys Drury and Ky Hurst.

At the end of three tough races, he was edged out of third place by one of the surprise packets of the weekend, Tugun clubmate Sam Hamilton.

Now the club coach at Tugun, Dougherty placed second behind four-time Australian ironman champion Hurst in two of the trial races to indicate he will be a serious challenger when the $250,000 Nutri-Grain Ironman Series proper starts at Kurrawa on the Gold Coast in January.

The series will be contested over five rounds, with Dougherty and the other qualifiers doing battle with the big guns of Surf Sports, defending champion Shannon Eckstein, Zane Holmes, Matt Poole, Nathan Smith and Pierce Leonard, who had previously qualified for next year’s series.

The weekend was tougher for Bennett, who had a nervous wait before being confirmed as the 11th and last qualifier from the trials.

Bennett won a round of the Nutri-Grain series earlier this year in tough conditions on the Sunshine Coast and will be hoping to revisit that form when she takes on the best ironwomen in the country early next year.

It was consistency at Tugun that booked her place in the series, despite not ever getting close to winning any of the weekend’s races. Commonwealth Games swimming gold medallist Rebecca Creedy led the female qualifiers.

Men’s qualifiers: Rhys Drury (Dicky Beach) 116, Ky Hurst (Kurrawa) 115, Sam Hamilton (Tugun) 110, Hugh Dougherty (Tugun) 109, Chris Allum (Cronulla) 97, Cory Hill (Northcliffe) 96, Alastair Day (Warilla-Barrack Point) 96, Dylan Newbiggin (Mooloolaba) 90, Daniel Moodie (Northcliffe) 87, Mark Simpson (Cronulla) 85, Jono Stock (Manly) 84.

Women’s qualifiers: Rebecca Creedy (Metropolitan Caloundra) 113, Hayley Bateup (Kurrawa) 112, Flora Manciet (Northcliffe) 111, Sheree Merryfull (Northcliffe ) 105, Allira Richardson (Mooloolaba) 103, Amy Nurthen (Terrigal) 103, Bonnie Hancock (Northcliiffe) 103, Terri Sullivan (Northcliffe) 99, Brodie Moir (North Burleigh) 98, Katie Graham (Northcliffe) 93, Alyce Bennett (North Burleigh) 85

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