Day 2 at BUCS and aching bodies get dragged back to the venue for the team competition. With a stronger team than we have been able to field in recent years we were hopeful that we could improve on recent results but still very aware of how strong the competition has become.
The draw was held first thing in the morning and we were rewarded with a place in the only 4 team pool, facing Edinburgh, Imperial and Warwick. None of the teams were outright favourites but all very strong – getting out of the pool was suddenly looking like a bigger challenge than anticipated.
Edinburgh were on the mat first against Imperial and it was a bit of a surprise to see Edinburgh lose 5-0 and they were suddenly very interested in the outcome of the other matches in the pool!
Southampton vs Warwick
Our first match was against Warwick and with lightweights fighting first, Will was our first man. In a very close fought match, he just failed to convert opportunities for an armlock and strangle and was robbed of a hold by a hasty refereeing decision but was holding a slim lead in penalties. Then as we headed into the end of the contest he conceded a yuko and was behind. With a great display of determination he kept fighting and scored his own yuko with tomoe nage with only seconds left on the clock.
Marc was the next man out with a cagey contest against a strong 1st dan. Eventually he was able to pin his opponent for ippon with 20 seconds remaining.
With a 2 win lead, Szymon was facing Warwick’s strongest player, Thomas Grandjean. He put in a very solid performance, taking a lead by penalties earlier on but struggling to convert his many attacks into a score. At just over 3 minutes a tomoe nage attempt was countered with a strong pin for ippon.
4th man in our team was Callum, feeling good after a strong performance on Saturday but well aware that he would be facing much stronger opposition in the team event. That proved to be the case here, with his much stronger opponent throwing for ippon in 14s the fastest contest so far.
That left the result 2-2 as we headed into the final contest with Alex fighting up a weight in the over 90 category. With instructions to keep the pace fast to play to his size advantage he did exactly that and was able to pull off a lovely ippon throw to give us victory in the match.
Warwick were then straight back on the mat against Imperial who showed they were clearly on a mission also beating Warwick 3-2.
Southampton vs Edinburgh
Next up was the match we expected to be hardest with Edinburgh having brought Roy Shepherd, silver medallist from the previous day back into the team to replace a player injured in their previous match.
Will was clearly not in a losing mood today and this time he opened our account with ippon from a counter in just 20 seconds.
Unfortunately the strength in depth of the Edinburgh team meant that we were unable to make any further inroads ending up 4-1 down.
Southampton vs Imperial
With Edinburgh having defeated Warwick they were now on 2 wins and very keen to see what would happen to the overall result after our match with Imperial who also had 2 wins.
Once again Will fought a blinding match and reversed his opponent’s attack with a powerful ura-nage style counter after 1m20s. After a little referee debate and video review he was awarded the contest and we were off to another strong start.
Imperial were also determined however and despite strong attacks Marc was not able to get close enough to their second man who eventually won with 2 waza-ari throws.
Szymon then threw everything at his opponent and clearly wearing him down eventually secured a strong reverse juji gatame armlock to win by ippon and put us into a 2-1 lead.
Callum then faced his toughest contest so far against the u90 individual silver medallist. Unfortunately it wasn’t a huge surprise when Imperial evened the score to 2-2.
That left us with everything to play for in the final contest. Alex was sent out with the same game plan but faced with an o100 kg player while he had weighed in at 86kg it was a big ask and this time despite some strong attacks he was not able to dictate the fast pace that might have helped him to win and was eventually overpowered and thrown for ippon.
That left us 3rd in the pool with Edinburgh and Imperial going through to the knockout.
In a reversal of fortunes from the pool, Edinburgh were able to secure a bronze medal while an unfortunate draw put Imperial into matches against first Bath and then Anglia Ruskin.
Final team result:
- Heriot Watt
- Anglia Ruskin, Edinburgh
Full team results can be found here : http://www.judotechnologies.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/BUCS-National-Championships-2014-Results.pdf