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Lancaster profited from York’s failure to provide fighters for the men’s over and under 90kg categories after being awarded two points. Neither university could compete in the women’s under 57kg division, with this contested consequently expunged from the records. Nevertheless, the three bouts would prove vital experience for a society that is restricted to a few national meetings each academic year.
After the traditional pre-match routine had taken place, Olivier Bertrand was first up for Lancaster facing York’s Baker in the under 81kg division. It was a nervy opening as both men tried focused on a sound defensive strategy to get through the opening minute. However, as the fight went on Bertrand’s black-belt class saw him begin to dominate. As the fight approached two minutes a crushing throw from Bertrand secured the Ippon that gave him the point needed for victory, and put Lancaster into an unassailable 3-0 lead.
After his contest Bertrand was extremely pleased with his victory and spoke to SCAN. He said:
“It’s the first time I have fought at this weight category, I usually compete in less than 60kg so it was hard work”.
Looking to build on Bertrand’s good work was Mark Wilkinson, in the men’s under 81kg category; he faced off against Coe in the second contest. Coe was much the bigger man and this weight advantage was to pay dividends in a short bout. The superior foot movement from Coe proved too much for Wilkinson, who had no answer and succumbed to an Ippon with barely 30 seconds elapsed. This gave York their first point going into the final contest, with the score 3-1 to Lancaster.
The final contested bout saw Lancaster’s Lucy Oliver take on Janssens in the women’s over 57kg class. Although Oliver’s opponent was three ranks above her orange-belt, the fight was extremely close with both women initiating offence. Janssens secured a Waza-ari but could not score an Ippon as time elapsed, unfortunately Oliver could not register a half-point of her own and was defeated. There are plenty of positives for Oliver, particularly impressive was the ground work that allowed her to escape from an attempted submission hold. Janssens protracted victory gave the final 3-2 score-line a sense of respectability for York.
The Karate was one of the final events of Roses – this year marked the first time Lancaster Karate Club and Society combined efforts in running the event. It proved to be hotly contested- both in the women’s and men’s events. It was split into two events, the Kata (choreographed moves performed in a specific sequence) and the Kumite (sparring event).
Of the two events, the Kata kicked things off, with the women going first. Three judges were to decide who won the points on a majority rules basis. York fared well in this event, winning the first two Kata sequences – however, this did not stop Lancaster pulling back a point at the end and maintaining pride. The final score was Lancaster 1-2 York.
Following this, the men’s Kata was also equally close- the last sequence would decide which side earned a point for their university in the Roses. Lancaster clinched this one, with all three judges awarding their decision to Lancaster- it was now 1-1.
In the Kumite, the women began as before. Again, York started strong- notching the first victory out of three fights. However, this time Lancaster showed discipline and composure – winning the remaining two fights convincingly. In particular, Becky Clark managed to completely dominate her opponent- being awarded ten points, while only conceding one.
Lancaster looked to maintain momentum gained from this in the men’s Kumite. They did exactly this, obliterating the York competition and winning all four fights. All four competitors out-manoeuvred their opponents with a range of kicks and punches, showing immense confidence and technique. This was acknowledged by the judges- Gareth Dunkerley receiving exceptional praise; Craig Noble, meanwhile, showed no mercy in a powerful 10-1 victory.
Lancaster showed tremendous strength and composure in earning a 3-1 victory overall. The Kumite proved particularly entertaining, and roused the crowd accordingly. Lancaster’s Tim Cottis spoke to SCAN about the performance. He stressed that the result
“avenged last year’s loss and proved why Lancaster are ranked in the top five clubs in the country.”
York’s Jo Meara echoed this sentiment Lancaster’s way, before remarking that she “was already looking forward to next year’s competition.”
Regarding York’s effort, she added:
“I’m really proud of the team, especially as preparation has been difficult (due to finals) – but thanks go to Lancaster for being great hosts.”
All in all, the Karate was a success for the university in the Roses – with Lancaster, quite literally, winning the fight.
By Tom O’Rourke, Matthew Todd and Ben Smith