The University of Nottingham Karate Club set the tone for what would become a complete wipe-out of Trent in this year’s first Super Wednesday.
It was a solid performance from the Green and Gold. It wasn’t perfect, with a few hiccups here and there, but it was certainly a result that the team will take after last year’s disappointment.
With it being only the second year that the Martial Art has featured in Varsity, they are still experimenting to find the right layout. There were no mixed events this time around – and there were no entrants to the Novice Female Kata, Intermediate Male Kata or Novice Female Kumite categories.
But this did not detract from what was an inspiring start to the day at the David Ross Sports Village. Will Howell got us started in the Novice Male Kata – and as the only competitor, found little trouble winning his category. The pressure might have been off – but his 16.4 total score suggests Trent were better off staying at home anyway.
If only they were all so straightforward. Rachel Evans (NTU) and UoN’s Veronika Poniscjakova were up next in the Intermediate Female Kata. Evans took a misstep and then went wrong – whereas Poniscjakova looked far stronger. Still it remained close but UoN narrowly won this category by a total of 32.9 points to Trent’s 31.1.
In the Senior Female Kata, Izzi Bruce and Alicia McKay were up against NTU’s Cloe Johnson and Gabrielle Street. After two rounds, Bruce and Street were tied on 46.1 points – so the judges demanded both perform another Kata to determine a winner.
But Izzi was to make an out of character mistake at the decisive moment, and UoN deservedly took the win. Alicia snatched third place however, adding to UoN’s overall points.
In the Senior Male Kata, Jake Robson was up against three from the Green and Gold – but wasn’t fazed an inch. The totals of 45.7 (Stuart Coton), 45.4 (Ian Richards) and 46.1 (Matthew Dowling) were not enough to match Robson’s 46.3 score Kata.
Then it was time for the Kumite – one of the rare Varsity events where competitors actually get to punch their rivals.
Shak (NTU) was defeated by Connor Hulme (UoN) 3 points to nil in the Novice Male Kumite. Vicky Hill then built on this by beating Trent’s Rachel Evans 4-2 in the Intermediate Female category.
In fact, the Intermediate Male fight was to prove the only one where UoN would lose in the Kumite. James Benham-White found James Moawad too tough a challenge, losing 4-0.
In the Senior Male Kumite, Elliot Duxbury and Tom Smith restored order by claiming the top two spots on the podium.
The highlight of the morning was undoubtedly the contest between two of UoN’s finest; Zoe Evans and Izzi Bruce. The two met in the final of the Senior Women’s Kumite, after Izzi had absolutely teared through the Trent opposition, winning both her previous rounds 8-0.
After a close and sometimes emotional bout, I spoke to the eventual Kumite Champion, and queen of Varsity Karate, Zoe Evans.
Firstly, congratulations – but how did it feel to be up against someone from your own club?
“Thanks. It’s always hard fighting someone in your own club – you never want to really hurt them. But I don’t think I’d have fought any differently if I was up against a Trent opponent. It’s different though because we train together – we know each other’s style. Izzi throws a lot of punches so I knew I had to defend against them.”
Halfway through there was a bit of an injury, how did you manage to compose yourself and go again?
“It hurt. But you’ve gotta get that out your mind otherwise you’ll just back off. So, I just had to forget about it.”
How does it feel to take gold for UoN at Varsity?
“I’m really happy because I took time out for a while. I’ve only been getting back into it this year so I’m really happy!”
The overall score was UoN 88 – 50 NTU.
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