A CAREER-best performance from Samurai starlet Darcie Hancocks saw her take bronze at the Venray International Championships in Holland.

The tournament is the strongest event in Europe, with 1,400 players from 30 countries competing.

For once, Hancocks and Leah Grosvenor were in the same category, with the former having moved up to the under-44 kilogram weight division recently.

Hancocks started by seeing off an opponent from Belgium to make the last 16, before seeing off French and Dutch rivals to reach the semi-finals.

Her excellent run came to an end in the semi-finals.

Despite taking an early lead, her bigger and stronger opponent eventually won out.

Meanwhile Grosvenor also had a good run, defeating two opponents from Russia to make the last four only to lose in the semi-finals.

Both Samurai players now had one more contest for the bronze medals.

Grosvenor, up against a more experienced German rival, lost on two lower scores to finish fifth.

Hancocks came up against a Dutch fighter and won a tight clash where her opponent was penalised for passivity.

She becomes only the fourth Worcestershire player, all from Samurai, to take a medal at Venray following Olympian Kelly Edwards who took bronzes in 2003 and 2004, and Kate Walker (silver) and Becky Holmes (bronze) in 2006.

Meanwhile, Nathan Gallacher made the last 16, and Sian Bobrowska lost to the bronze medallist in her European debut. Laura Dangerfield also reached the last eight.