Samurai dominate at junior championships

SAMURAI maintained their excellent record in team events with a dominant display at the Open Junior Championships.

The Wyre Forest club took gold in three of the five categories and contested the final of all five.

In the boys’ lower grades, Samurai’s A team of Dillon Walker, Toby Grosvenor and Evan Turner reached the final with three impressive wins against teams from Droitwich, Kettering and Birmingham as well as beating their own B team.

In the final, Walker got the trio off to a fine start with a maximum point throw, but Grosvenor and Turner both tasted defeated to ensure Samurai won silver.

Their second team of Daniel Hickinbottom and Sam Hewitt was hit by the late withdrawal of their third player, which left them 1-0 down at the start of each match, but both players fought well and the team finished fifth.

In the boys’ higher grade lightweights, James Hemer, Cameron Hobby and Jack Walker were in impressive form to power to gold.

Kettering B were swept away 3-0 with maximum point victories, then a combined Worcester and Samurai, Birmingham and Rotherham sides were all beaten 3-0.

Up against Kettering A in the final, the Samurai team were too strong and blew them away.

Hemer started with a spectacular win, Hobby ground out another victory and then Walker, with the pressure off, added a third.

Callum Spencer and Daniel Hickinbottom were in the combined Samurai and Worcester team.

Spencer fought well as always with some wins, but Hickinbottom was outstanding given his experience level and produced a performance not just of skill but of character and determination.

The team got itself into the bronze play-off position by a great 2-1 win against Birmingham, but then lost 1-0 with two draws against Yorkshire side Hebden Bridge to finish in a still creditable fifth place.

In the heavyweight category, Declan Brookes-Harper, Jake McAteer and Andy Calloway reached the final but lost 2-1 to Kettering. Callum Fletcher deputised for Jake McAteer after the latter took a knock in his second contest.

Samurai girls’ lightweights team of Ellie McAteer, Lily Deeming-Lane and Maddy Averill took on clubmates Bonnie Deeming-Lane, Alisha Jones and Ellena Read and edged them out to take gold.

It was a similar story in the girls’ heavyweights, where again the Samurai predictably dominated the proceedings.

When it reached semi-final stage, two Samurai teams were battling it out in the one semi final, with the trio of Lauren Fletcher, Toni Poulsom and Olivia Turner defeated by Sophie Deeming-Lane, Ruth Tilt and Sophie Pollitt 3-0.

The A team of Leah Grosvenor, Sian Bobrowska and Hetty Tinsdale saw off Kettering in the other semi to set up another all Samurai final.

Despite Poulson edging out Bobrowska, Tinsdale and Grosvenor won their matches to secure gold.

Deeming-Lane, Pollitt and Tilt bounced back to win their bronze match.

There were some excellent individual performances in the competition, but Samurai coaches felt that Hickinbottom’s approach and effort in each of his ten contests was particularly outstanding.

The team of Hemer, Hobby and Walkers record won all 15 individual contests.

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