Middleton and Wirksworth Freestyle Wresting Club members competed at the 34th Kruibeke International in Belgium last weekend.
This is regarded as the toughest, as well as the best, junior competition on the European calendar with the cream from Europe and Egypt competing.
Lewis Brown (31kg) felt the full brunt from the EU’s best as points were traded over three thrilling rounds with a French champion.
Going all out for victory, Lewis just failed to get the upper hand in an important opener, but fought extremely well over two days and got a commendable fourth place,
In a packed 41kg group, Shaun Thorpe was well up against it with five bouts to get through on Saturday alone.
Much more mature wresting was witnessed from Shaun and, backed up by good groundwork that made all of his opponents up their game, by the end of the weekend he came an unjustified fifth place.
Competing for the sixth time in Belgium, and a relative veteran at Kruibeke, was Jack Lawley (61kg). He got cracking in his first bout, which was maybe thrilling stuff for the spectators but not necessarily for Jack, who lost the first round.
But he listened well to his coaches’ advice, pulled it back in the second then went on to beat his German foe in the third, which was in many eyes, the bout of the competition.
With nine in this group, Jack spilled a little blood, gave plenty of sweat and took an excellent bronze medal,
Super siblings Thomas (26kg) and Harriette (36kg) Phillips rose to the occasion yet again, pulling out all the stops to get to their category finals with golds on the cards for the pair, Thomas having to put up with many types of wrestler, from aggressive to super fast to just pure brilliant technique.
The Wirksworth lad did his coaches proud all weekend to take silver.
Harriette’s final pretty much mirrored Thomas’s with fast aggressive attacks that put her on her back foot in the opening round.
She battled back well through sheer determination and took another silver for the Dales club.
Still harbouring a shoulder injury from earlier in the year, Katy Colebourne (63kg) relied on good defence and was attacking more selective targets that carried her through the first day, but her recurring injury let her down on Sunday, to take an unfortunate bronze.
A resurgent and more confident Abbi Lawley (53kg) put in some solid performances.
As with Katy, the older female categories are as competitive as they get and, on a high after winning her gruelling opening bout, she looked unstoppable on Saturday but met her match on Sunday and received the club’s third bronze,
Brandon Harrison (46kg) put in some crowd pleasing performances, improving all the time and never giving up.
He was so close to taking control of his group as he smiled his way throughout the competition and sadly just missed out on the medals with fourth place,
M&W’s last medal went to 38 kg James Colebourne. Untroubled on the Saturday, he found himself up against a Belgian champion in his final bout, fought well but couldn’t upstage the opponent on his home soil and he accepted silver.