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Posted 26th October 2010
Grand Slam Dublin 2010 - report
Male Team: Rory Daniels, Alton Brown, Chris Harris, Barry Meanwell, Lee Heath, Jerome Kumedzina , Michael Burke
Female Team A: Natalie Williams, Katie Hurry, Carla Burkitt, Siobhan Haynes
Female team B: Stephanie Thorndick, Alice Goudie, Chloe Sheldon, Rio Smith
The day started out very early for many athletes whom travelled to Dublin on the day of the event with some of us having flights at 06.30am from various parts of England. Once in Dublin, the journey to Dublin City University was a quiet, smooth taxi ride of around ten to fifteen minutes. This gave us some time to settle, relax and focus on the event in hand.
The attending Nations were Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, with England and Ireland fielding two ladies teams a piece. The mens had one team per Nation. It is worth mentioning that this year France did not attend the competition.
The competition was scheduled to commence at aound 10am but was a little late. The hall itself was small but accommodating with limited amount of seating, however this took no time to fill with spectators. England was fortunate enough to have a good contingent of supporters with some thirty alone from Paul Campbell's Acssociation.
Having met all the dignitaries and officials we set about business. The first match was England B ladies and Ireland B and much expectations was riding on the home Nation. Up first was Rio Smith whom started off positive and eager which unfortunately got the better of her early on in the fight as she picked up a warning for contact. However, still focused, she put together a punch kick combination and scoring. This followed up with a quick reverse punch scoring one point. With a comfortable margin between her and her opponent, Rio then gave away two consecutive warnings therefore, giving her opponent a single point. Rio then re-addressed the situation and quickly got another three single points taking her tally to seven points at the close of the bout. Nothing should be taken away from Rios opponent whom was attacking all the way throughout the fight but, the margin of experience came through in the end.
Next Up was Alice Goudie. The quiet side of Alice seems to disappear once she steps onto the tatami. Alice got down to business early on with an unleashed reverse punch timed to perfection attaining one point. This was followed up by a lighting front leg mawashigeri for three points. After a little tussle from her opponent trying to get something back but went down another point to reverse punch. The score was now set at 5 to zero. Alice then scored the technique of the tournament for me, with an explosive gyak-urn-mawash combination connecting to sheer perfection. Game over 8 - zero, all spectators were acknowledging a great performance.
Last one out was Stephanie Thorndick, following in the slipstream of her team-mates. Stephanie is blessed and graced with good movement, timing and confidence in her ability and the performance that she brings to the mat. With the bout already won the emphasis on this fight to to maintain form. Her opponent was out to get some personal pride and hold her own but went down 2 to zero as Stephanie connected with two perfectly timed reverse punches.
First round out the way good result great performance.
When the turn of England A and Ireland A came round there was much noise in the hall after the Ireland A and Scotland performance as this had given us an insight as to what to expect. The fist up for england was our own Queen Natalie Williams whom it is fair to say is our current top athlete across the board. Natalie brings somewhere approaching a decade of international experience and this showed in her controlled performance which complimented her ability and confidence to try new things. She comfortably won her fight 5 to zero all with punches to face and body.
Next was Carla Burkitt. Carla was finding it hard to get into her groove and her opponent was putting in a spirited performance as she was fighting on home turf. The bout finished with Carla losing 2 to 1. It was hard to understand how the scoring was so low from both oponents as there were so many exchanges and it was an entertaining performance.
Now Katie Hurry had to step up and bring the balance back in our favour as the match was even at 1-1. Katie started off pretty much as Natalie did with confidence and trying new things. She went one point up early on in the fight and then gave away a warning for contact. However that did not deter her and she was back taking another comfortable point. With her oponent pressing to get something back Katie attacked with a chudan mawashi-geri to take the final score to 4-0 bring in a match win for England.
The next match saw England B up against Ireland A and out first was Rio Smith whom carried on in the same vein as her first fight and using various combinations scored a jordan-mawashi-geri followed by three punches to take out her oponent 6-0. This will aid her confidence going into the World Championships in Serbia
Stephanie Throrndick was up next and once again showed that she is a merging contender for the future on the international stage. The bout was won 2-1 with Stephanire scoring two good reverse punches. Again, this was one of the high octane fights resulting in a low sore but, we were encouraged by the sheer level and pace of this bout and there is much more to this young lady and she can only improve with time and continued exposure to high level competition.
Chloe Sheldon was out for her first fight of the day and its fair to say she was not her usual self with some signs of nerves but this did not deter her in her efforts. Although the bout ended in a nil-nil draw her efforts did not go un-noticed she was attacking all the way through the fight and trying to get that all important first point but it was not to be. The win went to England B
England A then had to fight Wales with Siobhan Hayes who was able to control the fight from early on, taking the fight 3 to zero. Then Katie Hurry was up against a very durable Welsh opponent. This was a hard fought bout with Katie having to work hard in this fight, her opponent managed to get the edge on her by scoring the first punch and then a jordan kick. Now four point down she started to make a comeback with two single points. Katie's opponent then scored another point taking her tally to five. Katie managed to get another point but it was not enough as it ended 5-3 to Wales. Natalie Williams was last out and wanted to set the record straight. Another convincing performance saw her take the fight 6-0 all with individual punches almost striking at will. England taking the match 2-1
Both our teams went through to the final which was satisfying for us, the A team were overall winners but a good result and a great performance from all the ladies. We hope that with continued development the current group of Senior ladies together withou the Juniors and Cadets the future looks bright. They are all a compliment to their clubs and associations and a credit to themselves for the performance displayed on the day.
The Mens team event now got underway with Ireland and Scotland. This was a truly entertainig match with every competitor giving it their all and was appreciated by all. Scotland becoming the eventual winners but it was very close.
The First Mens Enland match was against Scotland. Our first man was Jerome Kumidzima in his first ever England match. Jerome was up against Calumn Robb whom is a well seasoned scottish exponent on the international stage. Jerome for all his efforts lost this bout 2-0
Chris Harris another young man making the transition between junior and senior events and time will reveal his true potential. His opponent was much taller than him but, Chris is quick off the mark and was able to sneak a nice combination of punches to get off the mark. His opponent was game all the way and was pushing Chris and was able to score a jordan kick, this followed up with three more punches resulting with Chris losing 6-1.
Barry Meanwell was also making his England debut. If you know of Barry you will know he brings a different flavour to the table, he is capable of giving everyone a hard time with his work rate and continued attacks. However, his first time out was not going to result in a win as he went down 3-1.
Next out was Alton Brown who is one of the team heading towards the World Championships in Serbia, so a commanding performance was required for Alton. This saw him completing his task with a comfortable 6-0 win with his opponent picking up two warnings on the way.
Lee Heath was our next man out and again making a senior team debut and once again unfortunately this did not result in a win as he lost this 3-1.
Rory Daniels was our next man out and had to work hard to secure a 2-1 win.
Micheal Burke was out last and again making his senior debut. After much effort he went down 2-1 at the end of the match, we had lost 5-2 not a good start.
Next was England against Ireland the irish were on good form and had good home support whom were edging them on all the time. Their fighters rose to the occasion and the following result was:
Chris Harris lost 2-0
Rory Daniels won 2-0
Alton brown lost 4-2
Micheal Burke won 3-2
Jerome Kumizima lost 2-0
Lee Heath drew 2-2
Barry Meanwell drew 1-1
In the end we lost 3-2
The day was not turning out so well for the men and with out last match saw us against Wales. This was a do or die match and in the end we managed a 5-1 win overall. This was however, not achieved with ease as Wales were giving as good as they were getting but, it was not enough collectively.
The mens team finished a disappointing third in the competition overall and we need to get back to the drawing board in order to start restoring some national pride.
Assistant National Coach
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