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York claim long-awaited Karate win

York won the Karate in a packed Dance Studio today, giving Captain Ashley Clews-Jones his first Roses win in four years at the university. (Thumbnail credit Arran Bowen-la Grange)

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York won the Karate in a packed Dance Studio today, giving Captain Ashley Clews-Jones his first Roses win in four years at the university.

The York men's Kata and men and women's Kumite recorded victories to give York a 3-1 win over their opponents from Lancaster. It was Damian Freddi who sealed the win for York, winning his long and punishing fight to seal the men's Kumite and take the overall score to 3-1. His team-mates and the crowd erupted in jubilation as the points from a hard fought encounter headed to the home side.

In the early stages, however, the crowd were muted as they watched the disciplined Kata - competitors performing choreographed movements individually. As each member of York's women's team lost, the hall fell silent in a mix of disappointment and confusion.

The men, however, evened the scores with Captain Clews-Jones looking particularly impressive. It then fell on the more spectator friendly Kumite - one-on-one sparring - to decide the fixture. York's Maxine Mutten opened with a massive statement of intent - instantly defeating her Lancaster opponent in the first match-up. Vice-captain Jo Meara then won her spar to put York 2-1 up and on the verge of a crucial four Roses points. The increased physicality of the men's Kumite, and the closeness of the match, caused the crowd to increase in volume as York fought on to a brilliant victory.

It was a fantastic end for what has been a difficult road to the fixture. Due to a split in the Karate national governing body earlier this year, York and Lancaster's karate clubs found themselves members of two different, and opposing, groups. Only through dedicated organisation by both clubs were referees from both bodies able to be found.

Clews-Jones was emotional in victory, thanking the great support and saying how "proud" he was of his team. He said that the afternoon showed the "spirit of Karate, of being knocked down but getting up again" and said that Damian Freddi, in particular, demonstrated this spirit.

He added, "I don't want to sound cliche, but we honestly did this for the University." The four points his team gained by the victory, contributed to this hugely successful York afternoon.

Team Line-ups:

Men's - Ashley Clews-Jones (c), Ian Van Roosmalen, Will Jarvis, Paul Jennings, Damian Freddi, Chris McCormick

Women's - Jo Meara, Maxine Mutten, Anna Kiciak, Emma Maksymowicz

Credits for YSTV: Simon Jones, Anna Bucks

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