Lottie Flies Flag for DJC @ NHC Open & The Bristol Open
Lottie’s quest to prove herself worthy of her green belt is taking us to some new competitions this year. The last two weekends have taken in the traditional first event of the new age bands; the Northern Home Counties Age Band Open as well as a big local competition; the Bristol Open.
The NHC open was a real sighter for where all the competitive players are, both with weight group changes after a summer off as well as movements in age groups. Lottie was particularly interested to understand which of the precadets had moved into the cadet age band. As the venue was a short hop north of London, it was anticipated that there would be a big attendance from the local clubs and so it proved. With 7 girls in Lottie’s in the U48 precadet group, it was going to be a real test of where Lottie was in the pecking order. A number of the girls that had been fierce competitors in the minors (u12) age group had also come up to challenge the established players.
Lottie ended up in the pool of 4 players, containing a girl from Pinewood whom she last faced in March and the girl who came second in last year’s precadet National Championships. A win in the first gave a big boost of confidence before the tougher contests. Regrettably, Lottie’s final two fights went the way of the other judoka meaning that she didn’t make it out of the pool into the semi-finals. It’s a sign of Lottie’s growing maturity that she immediate asked to review the video footage (I film all her fights) and showed me where she made her mistakes. Something for the DJC coaching team to work with her on …..
We stayed to watch some of the other WA judoka fight and the final block in Lottie’s group. Both of the girls who beat Lottie won through to the final
October is crammed full with competitions and straight after the NHC open, it was off back up the M5 for the Bristol Open. This would be Lottie’s first competition as an under 16, which opened up the potential of facing 15 year old brown belts! A panic email exchange with the competition co-ordinator confirmed that the other potential girls in Lottie’s group were not at that level, so her entry was confirmed.
Upon weigh in, we knew that Horry Morris, a 1st year cadet was in the same group but Lottie was approaching this as an open challenge having been beaten quickly the last time they met at the Fudoshin Cup.
Lottie made good progress through her first two fights. The first being against a novice from Bradley Stoke, with Lottie reacting positively to the usual way that judoka from that stable fight. Two hands on at all time and then wait for the opportunity to drop into newaza. The second fight seemed to be veering into a punch up with Lottie’s opponent trying to gain a high lapel grip and trying to stop Lottie’s favoured grip at the same time. After going a waza-ari down and then picking up a shido, Lottie responded with a great ippon throw which we later discovered was captured in sequence by the event photographer!
So a final fight with Holly for the spoils, both with 2 wins. Unfortunately, Holly managed to get her top grip and threw for her own ippon, leaving Lottie with a hard earned silver medal. Simon Ward, the Western Area coach provided matside assistance and then took Lottie to one side afterwards to give her some guidance, it was a good learning day.
A rest is long overdue, but not likely with the next Regional England Squad training session next Sunday. The next competition is the Western Area Schools Championships with favoured entry to the British Schools Championships at stake. Lottie will be hoping to better her 2 silvers and a bronze from her last 3 attempts in that competition.