AN excellent set of performances saw Kidderminster’s Samurai Judo Club take six gold medals at their Open Orange & Under Championships at their Zortech Avenue headquarters, with opposition from over 20 clubs.

Jordan Phillips was first up in the boys red belts section, and maximum point wins against players from Wales, Birmingham and Gloucester secured the first gold medal of the day for Samurai. His training partner, Cian Howell, a former jujitsu player who has moved to judo instead, nearly made it a second gold for the club in the next weight category, defeating players from Stafford and Wales before gaining a draw against another Gloucester player. As the Gloucester player had won by higher scorers against the other players in the group, Cian had to settle for silver, but this was a good debut for him.

The last Samurai red belt to compete was Scott Hulbert. He beat players from Birmingham and Stroud to reach the final of his group against a Hereford player, and was unlucky to lose against the run of play and so had to settle for silver. However, the event organisers needed an extra player for the next weight category and Scott went into that group as well. This time he made no mistake and three wins all from maximum point throws in rapid succession earned him the gold medal.

The girls red belt section saw two Samurai players making their competition debuts. Imogen Dutton, daughter of 3rd level black belt Matt Dutton, won bronze at her first competition whilst Olivia Leung also took bronze, winning her bronze play-off with a groundhold against another Birmingham player.

In the boys yellow and orange belts section, Josh Walker was first to compete for the Samurai in the lightest weight group. Two excellent maximum point wins saw him into the final against a very good player. This turned out to be one of the best matches of the day, and after falling behind to a very good throw Josh came back to throw for maximum points and the gold medal.

Next up was Luke Phillips. He was unlucky to lose his first contest but then won his next to get through the pool and then won a very close semi-final on penalties to gain a rematch against the same player who had beaten him earlier. This time Luke made no mistake and two high-scoring throws in the first minute were enough to give him the gold medal.

Isaac Sobolowski was next up. Two very good maximum point wins saw him through to the semi-final of his category, where he was caught a little cold at the start of the contest and thrown for maximum points, ending his chances of reaching the final. However, he won the bronze play-off comfortably.

Last to compete in the boys higher grades section was Evan Turner, who had a tough set of matches but added another bronze to the Samurai collection.

In the girls yellow and orange belts, Sophie Davis started well with two maximum point wins to reach the semi-final against her old rival from the Wolverhampton University club. Sophie started strongly and dominated the contest but was caught by two counter-attacks and lost. However, she came back well to win the bronze. Katy Jennings was unlucky to finish just outside the medals.

The last two Samurai girls to compete both took gold medals.

Rhea Turner had four contests but ended up with the gold medal after some good wins, whilst Maddi Haywood had three quick wins by maximum points to reach the final of her category and then comfortably beat a much heavier girl from Shenstone by maximum points to take the Samurai club’s gold medal tally for the day to six.

For details about starting judo, telephone 0776 1122977 or visit the Samurai website at or their Facebook page.