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  • Writer's pictureRoss Taylor

DJC representing Devon at the Western Area Team Championships

Setting off before sunrise, when everyone else was still asleep, it was time for another trip to Weston Super Mare. This time for the Western Area Teams event. Drake were out in force, joining forces with other Devon clubs to take on the best from the other counties. There was a nervous wait for the Devon Coaches, Justin and Ros, as the Judoka arrived and got ready for weigh in. Once the weigh ins were done there was a quick warm up and the Judoka proudly showed off their Devon badges, for which, some of them had fought for at the Devon Championships, just the week before.

The teams were called and up first were the under 12’s, coached by Ros. The team of 11 (9 and 2 reserves) included 7 DJC players - not bad at all. Georgina, the smallest of the team, was up first. Undaunted, she took on her first opponent and quickly dominated her opponent and took the win. Jake was the next DJC player up, he too easily dispatched his opponent and won in about 17 seconds. Sadly, Bogdan, Alanna, and Reuben had byes as they had no one to fight. Overall, Devon won 8-1 against Somerset. Second round was against Dorset. Once again Georgina had tremendous energy, literally chasing her opponent around the mat, and won again. Jake came out next and caught his opponent with a lovely throw in about 7 seconds. Next up was Phoebe, who had probably the toughest match of the day. Both Judoka were evenly matched and there was a constant cycle of throws into groundwork, turnovers, hold downs and escapes which eventually ended in an exhausting draw. Once again, Bogdan, Alanna, and Reuben had byes as they had no one to fight. I believe score ended with 8 wins and a draw to Devon.

Meanwhile, across the other side of the hall, Maria was representing Devon in the Pre Cadet girls team of 4, coached by Justin. Although it was a step up in competition for Maria, she had her usual smile on her face and didn't seemed to notice the more experienced Judoka. She stepped onto the mat with her usual confidence, and put up a great fight. Going to ground a couple of times but narrowly losing her first fight with a hold down. Although I missed them, I heard she lost her second and then won her third fight, finishing with a bye for her fourth! Overall the girls won all three rounds and took Gold for Devon. Awesome job! Simultaneously, the Pre Cadet boys were up too. DJC currently didn’t have any Judoka in this team but we still cheered them on as the won a Silver medal for Devon. Well done lads!

The A bands were now swapped to mat 3 and it was time to take on Gloucester(?). To be fair they put up a strong fight. Georgina and Jake both lost their fights, Jake this time being on the wrong end of a cracking throw. Bogdan, stepped onto the mat, seemingly unphased by the much taller lad he had to take on. Full of energy, he quickly got on top of the match, and there was a massive cheer as he hooked the leg of his opponent and took him back for a Wazari. A few seconds later, there was a massive cheer as he did it again for the Ippon! Throw of the day! This time, Lucy and Reuben had byes. I think the score ended at 5-4 to Devon. So, overall it was Gold! The medal ceremony took place, and there was lots of photos taken with the team mates. But, over on the first mat the seniors had started to warm up and the competition definitely stepped up a gear.

Ros, took off her coaching cap, and put on her Judogi and went on to join the ladies team while Charles warmed up ready for the men’s team. First up was, Ros in her team of 3. The score was one all as she stepped on the mat. As the minutes ticked by, both seemed to be tiring and the other judoka scored a couple of wazaris but Ros seemed completely unphased. Patiently waiting for the perfect moment, Ros seized it, throwing her opponent and winning with a hold down. The ladies won the first round 2-1. Sadly, in the second round Ros hurt her shoulder and had to withdraw. Her teammates fought on, and they all came away with a respectable Bronze medal. Well done Ladies! Last, but certainly not least was Charles. Taking to the mat, in his team of 4 (sadly not the full 5). As I looked across, there were some very tough looking Black belts on the mat. Everyone of them looked in top form. Charles first fight nearly went to full time, against a much younger Black belt. Early on they battled it out for grips, quite evenly matched. Neither getting the upper hand while standing, Charles definitely appeared to be winning on the ground. Charles went to ground several times, but sadly a couple of armlocks slipped through his fingers, and it was not to be. With both judoka tiring and running out of time, unfortunately, Charles was caught for an Ippon throw and it was over. As he stood back up, he had a big smile on his face! Definitely something some of our younger Judoka can learn from. Sadly I missed the rest of Charles fights, but I heard he had another loss, 2 byes and finished the day with a win. The men’s team took a well deserved silver! Well done!

It was a great day and we all really enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone involved! It seemed to run like clockwork. Overall, Drake were about half of the Devon team (and there were more DJC Judoka queuing up for places!). Another 10 medals taken home by Drake Judoka!


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