Top marks for the holding company!

MELBOURN Judo Club s growing reputation as one of the leading clubs in Britain was highlighted on Saturday when they hosted a regional training session at the Royston Leisure Centre. The sessions were for boys and girls from 10-18, and intended to offer

MELBOURN Judo Club's growing reputation as one of the leading clubs in Britain was highlighted on Saturday when they hosted a regional training session at the Royston Leisure Centre.

The sessions were for boys and girls from 10-18, and intended to offer judo skills and techniques in a fun atmosphere.

The session was run in conjunction with the British Judo Association World Class Start Programme, and the Eastern area of the British Judo Association.

The programme is financed by Sport England, with Royston Leisure Centre one of six venues around the country to stage the events.

Melbourn will host a regional session every three months for two key reasons: the quality of the facility at Royston with the club's 300 square metre mat area, and the location being central to the three areas within the designated BJA region.

68 players, representing 24 clubs, attended and in the morning, they were organised into two groups, and were given instruction on a variety of standing, groundwork, gripping and combination techniques.

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The sessions were led by David Southby eastern area technical director, Tom Cousins a national squad player, and Jean-Paul Bell, along with other eastern area, NHC and midlands coaches.

The highlight of the six hour programme was the 90 minute Randori session (free practice), where all the players and coaches had the opportunity to try the techniques they had been taught earlier, and compete against players from other clubs they had previously not met.

Melbourn Judo Club's Derek Coult, who co-ordinated the event said: "Many players, coaches and parents commented on Royston Leisure Centre's parking, sports hall and general facilities, and this has been endorsed by being asked to host one of these sessions every three months"

This Saturday the club will be presented with the Sport England Club recognition and the British Judo Association Bronze Clubmark Award.

National squad player Rachel Wilding will be making the presentation, along with Town Mayor Lynn Berry, and representatives from the BJA, Sport England and North Herts District Council.

Melbourn will become the 19th club nationally to attain the status.

Last weekend, 14 members of Melbourn Judo Club's junior section attended the Ipswich Mini-Mons Open Competition.

This competition was for red and yellow belts, and attracted 198 entries from clubs throughout the midlands and south of the country.

For five of the squad, it was their first event outside the club, and they, with the rest of the squad, all performed extremely well.

With only two players in the red belt categories, Melanie Harris was the first to take to the mat, and although winning only one of her three contests, took silver in the girls' under-52 kilo group. Charles Triggs in the Boys under-42 k group also had one win in his three bouts, and narrowly missed out on a medal.

In the yellow belt categories, the first to the mat was Bryony Craig-Matthews, who had one win in her three fights and secured a fourth placed bronze in the under-57 kilo group.

In the boys under-34s, under-55s and under-65s Jack Hyland, Tom Parry and Matthew Bevan respectively all performed well, but failed to make the medals.

However Tom Mason had a fine win to secure the fourth placed bronze in the under-55s.

It was in the boys' under-38 and under-42 kilo categories where Melbourn's five entrants were to get some highs and some lows.

High numbers of entries in these groups conspired against them, where the organizers were forced to use a "compound knockout and repecharge" format, in which two losses mean automatic elimination from the event.

The luck of the draw also worked against them as they progressed towards the medal places, with Charlie Coult beating Cameron Ramsay in the Under 42s to take bronze.

There was a similar story in the under-38s, where Edward Parry, Oliver Wheeler and Jack Coult were taking part.

Wheeler started in magnificent form with two 10-point wins against formidable opposition, and Ed Parry lost his two preliminary fights narrowly.

Jack Coult lost his first fight, but came back into the repecharge due to his former opponent progressing to the medal stages.

It was here where Wheeler and Coult were drawn against each other, and again it was a nail-biting contest, with Wheeler making only one mistake for his teammate to capitalize and hold him down to take the bronze.

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