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Samurai claim gold at open
5:00pm Wednesday 6th February 2013 in Local
SAMURAI dominated their Open Club Team Championships as they won gold and bronze.
The event was for teams of 15 players, with five girls, five boys, two women and three men.
Only a few clubs have sufficient strength in depth to field a side, with Coventry being the only other Midlands outfit able to put one together, while the West of England and the Northern home counties were also represented.
Samurai’s B team quickly showed they were not there just to make up the numbers as they bagged bronze.
The girls side looked strong, with Jasmine Whitmore, Lauren Fletcher, Toni Poulsom, Becky Hobby and Hetty Tinsdale all doing well.
The boys were James Hemer, William Taylor, Ben Dunn and Joe Dunn, with one place unfilled.
Jess Sullivan and Laura Dangerfield were the ladies, with Rory Gulliver, Stefan Newbury and Alex Poulton the men.
Their first match was against Renrukan Judo Club from Aylesbury. This match could not have been closer, ending in a 7-7 draw with one match drawn. They then came up against Coventry, who along with the Samurai A team were the pre-event favourites.
Coventry won, but didn’t get it all their own way, with the B team winning four contests.
This then left them with one last match against Stroud for the bronze. The girls looked strong all day and won four of their five matches, but only Hemer succeeded for the boys which left the match tied at 5-5. But bronze was within their reach when Sullivan took a superb win and Laura Dangerfield added a second to make it 7-5.
Stroud made it 7-6 after a defeat for Rory Gulliver but Newbury’s victory handed the host’s B side an unassailable lead.
Samurai also fielded a very strong A line-up, with the girls boasting four British national medalists in Darcie Hancocks, Leah Grosvenor, Bryony Griffiths, Frankie Marston and Charlotte Read.
Matthew Hemer, Nathan Gallacher and Arran Gulliver provided experience for the boys which also featured the promising talents of Callum Charles and Andy Calloway.
Samurai’s A team made a strong start as they recorded 15-0 and 12-3 wins, before seeing off Renrukan 10-5 in the semi-finals.
That pitted them against Coventry in the gold medal decider and made a good start when Hancocks and Grosvenor won their bouts.
But the other three girls were all up against current British champions and all lost to give Coventry the lead at 3-2.
Hemer levelled the score at 3-3, but Gallacher gave away too much weight away and Charles and Calloway as Coventry strode into a 6-3 lead.
Gulliver won his match but Charis Hancocks lost her as Samurai trailed 7-4 but wins for Biles and Crummy put the hosts within striking distance.
Doyle had to settle for a draw and Tinsdale saw off an opponent 20 years his junior with a maximum point win to tie the match.
Samurai’s impressive wins in the earlier rounds sealed the gold.
Gold standard: Samurai’s A side won gold at the club’s Open Club Team Championships. Back row (left to right): Frankie Marston, Bryony Griffiths, Callum Charles, Andy Calloway, Charis Hancocks, Nigel Tinsdale, Brendan Crummy, Sarah Biles, Arran Gulliver, Tom Doyle. Front row: Darcie Hancocks, Leah Grosvenor, Matthew Hemer, Nathan Gallacher.