Nailsea & Backwell Karate clubs reached new heights on Saturday, successfully defending the blue riband Team Kumite (fighting) title at the KUGB Southern Region Karate Championship in Reading – against their own 'B' team.
In an event that sees KUGB clubs from across the south of England compete for regional honours, both Nailsea & Backwell teams fought their way to the final, with Nailsea & Backwell B (Ian Connell, Steven Connell, Dan Salter & Jim Mateer) putting in an awe-inspiring performance against Red Lion in the eliminations. Last year's winners Nailsea & Backwell A (Dan Henley, Devon Troskie, Tim Griffiths & Ashley Hall) went through to the final undefeated, with the most notable performance being Dan Henley's win over 2014 kumite champion, Jamie Simms.
With club selections taking place over May and June, spaces on the A team are won on merit, so it would be easy to assume that an 'A' team winning would be a foregone conclusion. However with the first victory of a 'best of three' final going to Ian Connell (B team) followed by a tightly contested second bout, the underdogs were one point away from winning the title. In the second minute of the second fight the tide turned. Devon Troskie, who had just picked up Silver in the Individual Kumite event, delivered an immaculate head punch to win Bout 2. With all resting on the final bout, Nailsea & Backwell A took victory by a single point.
In all, Nailsea & Backwell members took home 12 medals and 4 titles from the championship, in what was the best performance in the clubs’ 36 year history. Tim Griffiths became Southern Kata Champion for the second time, Ashley Hall picked up gold in Junior Male Kumite and Nicole Tanner added to her 2013 national bronze with victory in the Below Black Belt Kata event. There were also medals and impressive performances from Aaron Mateer, Fergus Puddy and Nicki Watts.
At the event, club instructor Tim Griffiths said, "Medals at tournaments like this are hard won and rare, so for the club to pick up so many is particularly good to see! But the medals are not the end goal for many of the people that train with us – just a welcome reminder of the progress everyone is making at the club.
"We now have over 60 people at Backwell Parish Hall and Nailsea School who all train hard to improve their Karate skills and we will continue to do everything we can to help them to keep improving".