On Sunday 7th November, eight Cambridge University Judo Club members entered the Littleport Open.
Kane Chandler and Chris Coward entered in the 1st kyu and dan grades U81kg category, which was pooled together with the U90s due to a relatively small turnout at the competition this year. Kane and Chris fought against each other first. Chris came out confidently, looking to throw Kane, but had his seoi-nage skilfully countered by Kane’s foot-sweep. Kane then went on to beat his other opponents, both 2nd dans, with another foot-sweep and a seoi-otoshi, taking gold in the 1st kyu and dan grades U81kg category. This competition gives Kane enough points to grade to 2nd dan himself. Chris continued to put up good fights but was overcome by his heavier, higher-graded opponents.
Rob Blackburn, Jafar Yousef and Max Wood fought in the combined U60kg and U66kg kyu grades category, alongside two entrants from Bedford. Leaving the morning’s joking at the edge of the mat, Jafar and Max fought first. CUJC new-comer Jafar put advice from the previous night’s training straight into practice, scoring ippon very early in the fight with an ippon-seoi-nage. Rob fought a Bedford green-belt next. It was a close match standing up, but Rob demonstrated much more skill and aggression on the ground, taking his opponent to the floor in the fourth minute and pinning him for ippon. In Rob’s next fight, the scores were level with a yuko each as the contest went into its final minute. In a last ditch attempt to score, urged on by his coach, the Bedford blue-belt attempted a tomoe-nage. As the crowd gasped, Rob managed to keep his balance and secured a dramatic hold-down in the final seconds to win by ippon. Jafar and Max then had less luck against their Bedford opponents, both losing by throws. After two fights each, Rob was leading the pool with two wins, Jafar had one, and Max was yet to score.
In Jafar’s next fight, he was again thrown for ippon by the other Bedford fighter. The next CUJC showdown, between Jafar and Rob, proved to be a close fight. Jafar eventually managed to get underneath Rob and execute a beautifully-controlled left-sided ippon-seoi-nage for ippon. Early in Max’s next fight against a Bedford opponent, Max attempted a morote-seoi-nage, and as the pair went to the ground, the tired Bedford fighter gave Max too much space, and Max turned him over and held him down for ippon. The category’s final fight was the much anticipated match-up between Max and Rob. Although Rob was the more experienced of the two, Max was fresher, his previous fights clocking up just 2 minutes to Rob’s 12. Rob scored an early yuko, but as the fight wore on, Max’s energy advantage started to show, and Max had plenty of opportunities to attack Rob’s back as they repeatedly went to the ground, eventually turning Rob over into a pin to level the scores. Max then took the lead with a second yuko for an o-soto-gari. With the fight in it’s 4th minute, the pair went to the ground yet again. From on top, Max caught Rob’s lapel, and using all four of his limbs managed to force Rob to submit to a strangle. Remarkably, this left all five fighters on two wins each by ippon. From this very tight pool, Max took gold in the U60s, whilst Rob took gold in the U66s and Jafar bronze.
Similarly, the U73kg and U81kg kyu grades were combined into a single pool, with David Saxton and Igor Gotlibovych entering from CUJC. David lost his first fight, but came back out stronger, winning his next fight against an Anglia Ruskin entrant with a beautiful harai-goshi, without doubt one of the day’s best throws. David demonstrated further skill with another big throw in his next fight. Igor, eager to impress at his first competition, was thrown for ippon in his first fight, but quickly became more competition hardy, and pulled off an impressive win in his next fight. The CUJC battle between Igor and David that followed was an exciting match, with both scoring points. Eventually, David managed to get the better of Igor and won the match. CUJC continued to do well in the medals, with David taking gold in the U73s and Igor silver in the U81s.
Finally, Matt Jayne fought in the kyu grades U90kg category. Long-time CUJC member Matt dispatched his first opponent swiftly with a ko-ouchi-gari. He then proceeded to dominate the group, winning next with a ko-soto-gake for ippon, and then with a sasae-tsurikomi-ashi for wazari, finishing off his opponent with a pin. The final fight proved more difficult, with Matt first scoring wazari with an uchi-mata, and then securing victory with an uchi-mata/ko-ouch-gari combination to score a second wazari. With four wins out of four, Matt took a well deserved gold medal in his category.
Overall, CUJC performed excellently. Including competition debuts for several members, the Littleport Open was an excellent start to the year’s competitive judo, and important practice as we build up to the varsity match and BUCS next term. Well done to everyone who entered, and thank you for Alec, Nick, Matt and Kane’s coaching so far this term, the benefits of which clearly showed.
You can check out the pics in the gallery.
The club will next enter the Eastern Area Closed Championships on the 5th December in Thetford.