Being held alongside the regional was the Annual England Vs Wales tournament so in the absence of mats (which at this stage were stuck in traffic) it was decided to hold the Kata event first. As luck would have it the mats arrived just as the first Kata team walked on. Both teams displayed some fantastic kata and once this was over everyone jumped in to get the mats down. And on with the Knockdown.
First up was the Novice mens middle weights and we had three fighters in this category - all first timers. All three fought well and showed great heart and determination but sadly all three lost in the first round by decision. Well done to Sean Murtagh, Johnathan Glennon and Daniel Perello. Im sure we will see more of these in the future.
Next in the Novice Mens Heavyweights we had two fighters - Jaroslaw Goralczyk and Artur Smolarek. Artur had a tough first fight and unfortunately lost on a narrow decision. Jaroslaw fought very well and won his first fight and found himself in the Semi-finals. He had a hard fight in the Semi-final and lost on decision but fought a very measured fight, It was hard to believe it was his first tournament. This was our first trophy of the day - 3rd Place.
Last up in the Novice section was Emilia Cahill in the Novice Ladies Lightweight. As there was only five fighters Emilia found herself fighting in the only quarter final. Early on in the fight Emilia injured her foot but fought on for two rounds before loosing on a close decision. Once the fight was over it became clear that the injury might be more than we first thought so off she went to Hospital with Sensei Shane Mulhall to get it checked out. It turns out that she had broken a bone in her foot so she returned on crutches. Incredible spirit to fight for four minutes with a broken bone in your foot.
With so few fighters entered in the open event all of our fighters found themselves in the Semi-finals so all were guaranteed a trophy but what would the trophy be?
In the Womens open Heavyweights Patrycja Calka was up first but sadly lost after four minutes by decision. Another Trophy - Third Place. We also had Aneta Meskauskeine who fought in the final over four rounds to take first place. Another great performance from Aneta and yet another trophy for her.
In the Mens open Middleweight Patrycjas husband Bartek got a bye to the final where he fought one the BKKs up and coming fighters Over four rounds and lost on a very tight decision. Another Trophy - Second Place.
In the Mens open Heavyweight Dave King was up first and after 4 minutes took a well deserved decision. In the final he fought a very tough competitor and again this went four rounds before he lost on decision. Dave has improved a lot in the last year and this was a well deserved trophy - Another Trophy - Second Place.
Last up we had Ben Kelly who was supposed to fight in the Novice Mens Lightweights but as there was no one else entered in that category he forewent his last novice event and moved up to the Open categories. He had a bye to the final where he started explosively and really took the fight to his opponent. Shock and Awe was how it was described and it worked as he won by Ippon in 56 seconds. Another Trophy - first place.
Jaroslaw Goralczyk - Novice Mens Heavyweights 3rd Place
Bartek Calka - Mens Middleweight - 2nd Place
Bartek Calka - Best Spirited Fighter
David King - Mens Heavyweight - 2nd Place
Ben Kelly - Mens Lightweights - 1st Place
Aneta Meskauskeine - Womens Heavyweights - 1st Place
Patrycja Calka - Womens Heavyweights - 3rd Place
So there we had it - six trophies in all. But it turns out we were not finished yet as Bartek Calka also took the trophy for the Best Spirited fighter. All that was left was to go to the Airport and go home which never would have happened if Shihan Liam and Shihan Alex and another friend gave us a lift to the Airport as taxis were nowhere to be found.
All in all a great day and great experience for all of our fighters. Also for our coaches - Sensei Ken Fitzpatrick, Sensei Patrick English and Sensei Shane Mulhall and our Referee/Judge/man on the mike - Sensei Shane Lalor.
Thanks also to all of our supporters - Gytis Meskaukas especially.
Ps Many thanks to Gytis and Aneta for kind permission to use their pictures.