Varsity Judo: Three wins out of four as Light-Blues dominate

Megan Sorensen 14 March 2013

In a fantastic day of sport, Cambridge University Judo Club demonstrated a breadth of quality that Oxford lacked to win the ‘City’, the Men’s ‘B’ and the Women’s trophies and come close to a clean-sweep in the Men’s ‘A’ match.

First up was the match against the Oxford City team which ended 6-2 in favour of Cambridge. Jamie Sutherland was up first, and surprised everyone with a lovely foot sweep to win by ippon without even using his groundwork skills. Andre Martins, who had returned from a couple months of judo-less rugby training, then showed he hadn’t forgotten everything with an impressive ippon win with a foot sweep. Following the roll, Lee Beamiss fought through his tiredness and pulled off a beautiful throw that scored another clean ippon victory. Jonathan Toner out-manoeuvred a fast opponent to score ippon with a quick counter.

Fighting to secure the victory, Captain Chris Coward almost lost his chance after he failed to follow up in ground work after his throw didn’t score the complete ippon win. Fighting on, Chris pulled off another throw to bring the score up to 5-0 to Cambridge. Chris McGee put up a strong fight but lost to a well-executed drop throw. Giovanny Antalika unfortunately failed to catch his opponent and a long fight took its toll, until eventually he was held with a pin. Last up for Cambridge was Yvette Soesbergen, who didn’t even get a chance to properly get into her fight before her opponent went for a leg grab and so was disqualified. So it ended up with a very clear Cambridge victory.

The Cambridge Men’s ‘B’ team fought against a mixture of student and city players, resulting in the Oxford City team getting beaten for the second time. First up, was Will Sonnex whose fight was almost over straight away as a nice foot sweep followed up by a pin gave Cambridge their first ippon.Vladan Martinović did very well for his first competition but got caught for ippon by a more experienced opponent. Josh Falconer Roberts fought well and won with a nice throw. Next, Dom Lentrodt had the crowd at the edge of their seats as he only barely escaped from a hold down but then within seconds had taken the advantage and won with an arm-lock. Andrew Tam took to the mat and had only just got started when his opponent went for a leg grab and so was disqualified. Rob Blackburn fought well against a higher-graded opponent but unfortunately could not quiet pull off his technique and was caught by two hip throws that combined to give his opponent victory. Last on, Liang Wu wasted no time and won almost instantly with a hip throw to leave the score at 5-2 for Cambridge. The Cambridge ‘B’ team showed some excellent Judo, especially considering that for some this was their first competition.

So on to the Women’s Blues Varsity match. Abbie Lawrence was up first but within seconds followed her instincts and so unfortunately went for a leg grab and was disqualified. Madeline Ang performed fantastically against a black belt, in a long fight Mady pulled off first one big throw and then a second to win by ippon. Next up, President Megan Sorensen was unfazed when fighting a partially sighted girl, and quickly won with a leg sweep. It was down to Women’s Captain Rachel Moore to secure the victory. Rachel had a really tough fight but in the end dug deep and pulled off a hip throw to win by ippon. Last on making her debut was Nina Voigt. Nina fought incredibly well, and managed to score a yuko, but in the end she suffered a narrow loss after a throw. Despite this Cambridge secured a fantastic 3-2 victory

It was then left to the Men’s Blues team to secure a clean-sweep. With Oxford having an incredibly high calibre team that including several national and international players this was always unlikely. Yet the team were unfazed and put up a heroic performance, which meant Oxford had to work hard for every victory. Up first Gergely Racz thoroughly tested the Oxford President before being eventually caught by an arm-bar. Lawrence Rowles then performed well against a Norwegian international player, attacking well before being thrown in the end. Michael Bockmayr had a really impressive fight and despite facing a much stronger player managed to score twice to take the win. Luc Darme also fought well in a high-speed match, and really demonstrated his spirit but despite some impressive avoidances he was thrown for an eventual loss. Charlie Whittaker faced a much heavier opponent but still managed to put in some attacks, and really made his opponent work for it before he was defeated. Men’s Captain, Jesse Olszynko-Gryn, completed the series of good performances but couldn’t quite get his attack in, and at the end of a long fight was caught out. Josh Hunt faced an opponent who was almost twice his height, but managed to put up a good fight before his opponent threw him! The Men’s A Team proved that they were made of tough stuff, and had fantastic performances in the face of opposition that on paper should have had an easy day.

Overall it was an incredibly successful day with three trophies to take home and some really impressive demonstration of true fighting spirit. If the club keeps training as it is, the players will move from strength to strength and hopefully the Cambridge domination will continue for years to come.

Megan Sorensen