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Fighting Falcons impress in tough Bristol event
12:00am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in Sport
Team Falcons were on the road again for the UK’s best and toughest competition, the Bristol Open.
Due to its growing size and success attracting top class fighters from the world over, the competition lasts two days with light contact on the Saturday and point fighting on the Sunday.
Callum Hollinshead was one of the smallest in the light contact -165cm division, giving away 9cm.
He continues to show improvement, winning his first fight and having to be pulled out of his second due to a chest injury.
Connor Burdock picked a tough competition for his light contact debut, but showed real heart and bags of potential.
Fighting in the -145cm mixed ability boys class, Connor landed some great shots in what was a close fight but his opponent from Bristol edged the win.
It was still a good sign of things to come for Connor.
Brandon Prince, in the boys’ light contact +165cm, fought well, winning his first fight comfortably but losing his semi-final to a WAKO GB fighter to finish with a bronze medal.
Jon Van Den Heuvel was up last in the Advanced Men’s 69kg – a strong division with some top class fighters.
Van Den Heuvel dominated his first fight and his semi-final – against another WAKO GB fighter – proved a great battle of wills.
Poor management of distance cost Van Den Heuvel the first round, new tactics in the second edged it – but it wasn’t enough and meant another bronze for Team Falcons. For the point fighters on the Sunday there were first round exits for Kane Leach, Callum Hollinshead, Brandon Prince, Adam Parfrey and Adam North – testament to the calibre of the competition.
All fought well – including Parfrey, who has improved massively since his last showing.
The first medal was brought home by coach Gordon Mitchell with a bronze in the heavyweight men’s veterans, going out in the semi-finals to a giant from Team Liechtenstein.
Weighing only 76kg, Mitchell fought a +90kg monster who combined his size with a good amount of speed and athletic ability. The reach advantage proved too much and this time Goliath beat David.
In the advanced ladies +65kg, Stevie Parker put on the best performance of her career to date.
With every fight going 2x2 minutes, Parker showed great composure and controlled the distance and the pace to beat top calibre opposition, including Ireland’s Elaine Small.
The final saw Parker against arguably the world’s best in Bez Sturzaker.
On their last meeting Sturzaker showed her class by stopping Parker with a ten clear lead within the first round. It was going to be a great test and a chance to see how far Parker had come in the past year.
The end score of 12-5 did not give a true reflection as Parker was the only girl to hold off Sturzaker and prevent a ten clear lead. She also drove her opponent back on a number of occasions with a stronger kicking display.
Technically they were well matched and Mitchell has no doubts that Parker will close the gap significantly over the next 12 months.
Three bronzes and a silver from this level is a significant achievement for a small club whose fighters are still in their infancy in terms of fighting career and experience.