? EPiC Start To Fighting 2020 ?

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On Friday we took a team of 9 to Venice for the 2020 season opener, the Golden Glove ??

The squad consisted of Sean MacDonald, Teia Doyle, Ellie Doyle, Harvey Pollard, Rhiannon Bater, Ryan Chapman, Connor Chapman, Finlay Cozens and Matt Roberts. The coaching team was Matt Roberts and Rakan Sabbah.

Firstly to allow you to understand the results better here is a key to refer to:
U9 – under 9 years
YC – Younger Cadets (10-12 years)
OC – Older Cadets (13-15 years)
SM – Senior Male (18-35 years)
PF – Points Fighting
LC – Light Continuous
‘Clear’ – beat opponent by 10 points (thus counts as a TKO defeat)

Teia Doyle started the weekend off with a cracking opening performance to secure a gold in her -37kg LC division. Through great movement and slick lead hand attacking she went on to secure further golds on day 2 in her YC -28kg PF, YC -32kg PF and YC -37kg PF divisions. She stepped up to fight in the OC -32kg PF division and battled her way to the final but lost narrowly to take a silver. Her performances and results earned her the ‘fighter of the weekend’ accolade, with both coaches agreeing unanimously.

Teia‘s results
YC -37 LC : 1st
YC -28 PF : 1st
YC -37 PF : 1st
YC -32 PF : 1st
OC -32 PF : 2nd

Connor Chapman and his younger brother Ryan stepped onto Italian mats for the first time and adapted very well. With Ryan spending his first season in the YC ranks this year, it was always going to be a tough task after winning several major accolades in the U9s last year (including British Champs and Irish Open) but he settled well early on with two crushing displays to ‘clear’ his opening opponents, before coming up against a strong British fighter and taking a bronze. He added another bronze to his tally on day 2 to come away on the podium. Connor took his LC division apart, stopping both of his opponents with inspiring athleticism and brute accuracy. A fantastic sweep in the final summarised his performance well as he dismantled his opponent to take gold in the YC -47kg LC. He also added a bronze on day 2.

Ryan’s Results:
YC -37 LC : 3rd
OC -37 PF : 3rd

Connor’s Results:
YC -47 LC : 1st
YC -47 PF : 3rd

Harvey ‘Pingu’ Pollard started his 2020 season knowing that this would be one of his final competitions in the U9s as he will be 10 shortly, so he stepped up to his new YC categories too. Day 1 was a tough day but he started day 2 with some strong performances against a Solid Russian opponent in the U9 -29kg LC division but came up against an even stronger fighter in the final. He was moving well and scoring solid combinations before a controversial refereeing call meant he lost points and couldn’t quite muster up the technique to turn it around in the final 30 seconds, taking silver. He came back strong in his U9 -27kg PF category and weaved his way through the rounds with some memorable victories and won the final with flare to record a season-opening gold!

Harvey’s Results:
U9 -27 PF : 1st
U9 -29 LC : 2nd
YC -28 PF : 2nd
YC -32 PF : 3rd

Rhiannon Bater started 2020 by battling back against a tough opponent and current world champion. She was drawn against her twice on a tough weekend and lost to her by 1 point in her final bout of the weekend in the semi-finals of her OC -65kg PF category to secure a bronze. She moved much better and countered a very awkward leg (the other girl is a strong kicker) very effectively. She pulled out an aggressive front-foot style in her LC division, which saw her progress to the semi-finals before falling to the division winner in the semi-finals. She claimed a bronze in all 3 of her categories.

Rhiannon’s results:
OC -65 LC : 3rd
OC -65 PF : 3rd
OC +65 PF : 3rd

Finlay Cozens stepped onto the mats on day 1 just a couple of hours after touching down in Italy but got straight to work, powering through his first two opponents in style. He was aggressive and ruthless in his style and landed some solid combinations before narrowly losing in the Final in a great match. Fin, nicknamed ‘flingo’, also waded straight into his opponent in round 1 of his OC -63kg LC category, which epitomises his maturing mentality and at times he moved effortlessly across the tatami, which goes to show his intelligence with distance. He went on to take a bronze to add to his earlier silver.

Finlay’s Results:
OC -57 LC : 2nd
OC -63 LC : 3rd

Ellie Doyle took on some tough divisions in the OC -47kg weights for both styles. She had some tough calls go against her but ultimately couldn’t find form in the PF divisions but she fared better in the LC -47kg LC category. She moved smoothly and attacked off of the line, which made it difficult for her opponents to counter. She was leading her semi-final but slipped to a couple of good combinations by her opponent, who was displaying quality kicking. She fell short by just 2 points, taking home a bronze medal.

Ellie’s results:
OC -46 LC : Bronze

Sean MacDonald battled against some quality opponents in his earlier rounds, schooling them with slick movement and gaining great distance with his lead leg kicks. Scoring with long blitzes and following his shots up well, he went through to the semi finals. He unfortunately didn’t adapt quickly enough to an awkward-kicking Italian, who was 5-0 up before Sean started to work him out, which was too late by then. Sean ended up fighting against the same fighter again in his next division. He fought him differently and was holding a quality 1-0 lead until his opponent was scored a 2-point technique when Sean had blocked well, but he got on with the fight- not using a judging mistake as an excuse. He went on to lose 2-1 but took the defeat amazingly well, which shows his maturity.

Sean’s Results:
YC -37 PF : Bronze
OC -37 PF : Bronze

Coach and fighter Matt Roberts was selected, along with 23 of the other top fighters at the tournament to make a 24-man roster for the ‘Kombat Zone’. The arena came to a standstill for this event, a first-to-score tournament which is fast-paced and exciting. Matt didn’t secure the win, but went on to win in a nail-biting first round against a strong Italian in his SM -94kg PF category. He countered with a strong kick with 3-seconds to go. After stopping his quart-final opponent with a brutal back-kick, he lost to the current European Champion in the semi-finals to claim a bronze. He cleared both of his first-round and second-round opponents in the SM +94kg category before losing to the current world champion in the semi-finals. Matt took a silver in the SM -89kg LC category on day 1.

Matt’s results:
SM -89 LC : Silver
SM -94 PF : Bronze
SM +94 PF : Bronze

The advanced fighting squad move on to the Watford Open Nationals (WON) on Sunday 26th January.

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