Nine members of Kendal Judo Club member Matthew Clarke’s family had come all the way from New Zealand for a visit and the highlight of their trip was to see him give the performance of the day at the British Masters Judo Championships in Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Sports Centre.
His first contest was against Liam Wandi from London who the Kendal player demolished within half a minute with a sweeping winding throw (Harai Maki Komi) for the full point. A similar technique against Matthew Hext from Scotland saw him into the semi-final against a Russian Nathan Staudt. A change in technique to an outer reaping throw (O Soto Gari) for the ippon (Full Point) put him into the final and he had been on the mat for less than three minutes.
In the final fight his opponent Mark Mapplebeck from Scotland had obviously been watching Matt’s earlier fights for he spent all his efforts in defending from the Kendal player’s attacks and eventually ended being disqualified for failing to fight.
Matt was not the only Kendal player to give a great performance at the Championships. Two times Olympian Sophie Cox came out of semi-retirement to show she is still a fighter to be reckoned with. Still at her London Olympic fighting weight, Under 57 kilos, a twenty second semi-final hold down, scarf hold (Kesa Gatame) against Emma Burnett from Oxford put her into the final against Kirsten Gray from Glenrothes. At the halfway point of the contest a rear sacrifice throw (Sumi Gaeshi) gave Sophie the gold medal.
At Under 73 kilos Danny Carr and Phil Rogan were both in the same round robin competition. Danny’s first contest ended when an unusual lapse of concentration on the Kendal player’s part allowed Andy Malone from Scotland to apply a strangle for a submission win.
Now fully alert Danny then swept through the rest of his opponents. A body drop throw (Tai Otoshi) and a shoulder throw (Seoi Nage) gave him a win against Japanese player Alexey Hashimoto to put him against Kendal club mate Phil Rogan. This contest the only one to go the full distance saw a minor penalty against Phil give Danny the victory.
Against Anthony Ashton from Micklefield a counter with a sweeping hip throw (Harai Goshi) and a minor inner reaping throw (Ko Uchi Gari) against Adam James from the North East, which Danny had been teaching the club’s juniors earlier in the week, gave Danny the silver medal.
Phil Rogan started his campaign with an inner thigh throw (Uchi Mata) throw for the full point against Alexey Hashimoto. He followed this up with the same throw against Adam James. His next fight was against fellow club member Danny Carr which he lost in a very close contest. Sadly Phil then lost the next contest against Andy Malone, the eventual gold medallist. In his last contest, which he needed to win, against Anthony Ashton from Micklefield, a half point throw gave him enough for the win and a bronze medal.