Commonwealth success, judo league success, and success in both domestic and international competition – 2019 is becoming a golden year for Rycroft Judo Club.
Back in 2018, the club took a risk by taking on a full time paid coach, and obtaining charitable status. Ian Benton (himself a former international player), now oversees every training session and continues to solidify Rycroft’s reputation as one of the top judo clubs in the county.
The summer started with a bang, as a team of six players represented Rycroft in the Eastern Team League Judo Championships. Staged as a one day event, this attracts teams from across the UK, with prize money on offer for the winners. This is the premiere team event in the UK, and as winners in 2017, and 2018, the pressure was on for a hat-trick of titles. Ryecroft didn’t disappoint, and the team of James Hornsby, Michael Wensierski, James Mirberry, Sam Hall, Adrian Leibert, and Charlie Young, won every single contest with a full ippon score. Coach Ian Benton reflected on the performance, commenting that “It reflects the hard work that all these players have put in over the last year, and speaks to the quality of training partners that the club now attracts”.
Move on a few weeks later, and Bryony Dunn has been competing in both domestic and international events, with a view to securing a spot in this year’s British Championships. Competing in a European Cup event in Slovakia, Bryony put herself up against some of the very best players in the world, coming home without a medal but with some very valuable international experience. A week later this experience was applied in the Northern Home Counties Ranking Tournament, where a characteristically aggressive performance gave Bryony a bronze medal. She now moves onto the Welsh Open in October, where a podium place will guarantee entry to the British Championships.
And finally, no article on this golden summer can be complete without mentioning the Commonwealth Judo Championships. Staged as a complementary event to the Commonwealth Games, this event was based at the UK Judo Centre of Excellence Walsall, Birmingham, and attracted competitors from across the globe. Ryecroft was represented by three players, all competing in the veteran section of the tournament. Adrian Leibert, brimming with confidence after a fifth place earlier in the year at the European Masters Games, went one better, picking up a bronze medal. However, the best was to come later in the afternoon where both Nick Hawke and James Hornsby showed true class, both blasting through the competition – each taking gold in their respective weight divisions. With the British Championships coming up fast in December, watch this space for another update.
Based in the leafy Nottingham suburb of Beeston, Rycroft judo club caters for judo players of all ages and abilities. New players are always welcome, kit can be supplied if needed, and the first session is free! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org