SAMURAI Judo Club were celebrating after a hat-trick of medals for their members at the British National Team Championships in Walsall.

The club was celebrating after successfully hosting the competition.

Most areas of the British Judo Association could not run this event – the Midland Area withdrew from bidding for it – and it is no exaggeration to say that Samurai are the only club in the country with the expertise and strength in depth of officials needed.

Samurai also boasted the largest contingent from the Midlands, with five members competing.

Darcie Hancocks, Bryony Griffiths and Frankie Marston made up nearly half of the seven-player girls team, alongside former Samurai Rachel Moon.

Nathan Gallacher was in the boys team and Charis Hancocks was in the senior women’s team, again alongside Moon.

The Samurai-dominated girls team won the gold medal, the first time the Midlands have ever won the girls gold.

The girls defeated Northern Home Counties in the final, having defeated London and the North West in the previous rounds.

On top of this, the women won silver and the boys won bronze.

Charis Hancocks returned to competition for the first time in two years in the ladies team, having recently been more involved with coaching.

There were no signs of rust as she took just 39 seconds to throw her first opponent for maximum points as the Midlands team beat the West 4-1, with Moon also winning.

Despite defeat to the North West, the Midlands reached the semi-finals and beat London 3-2, with a victory for Moon – they then came up against Scotland in the final.

Hancocks started well but then got caught in a groundhold and could not escape, and Moon had no chance against a huge heavyweight more than double her weight as Scotland won 3-2.

In the boys event, Gallacher was part of the Midlands side that bounced back from defeat to Scotland to win bronze.

The men’s final was also won by Scotland with a Midlands team, drawn mainly from Birmingham, taking the silver.

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