We drove all night...
Ok, so we didn't drive ALL night but Luiza didn't finish work until 2130 so we were on the road late and what with a diversion on the way and some roadworks we didn't get to the Premier Inn in Dartford until 0045. So it was straight to bed. Luckily I was not fighting until 1345 so I was able to sleep in a bit.
I have to say that I love the Dartford Judo Club for events and I really like the English Opens as competitions. The two I have been to have been smoothly run and if you are going to get thrown a sprung Judo mat is what you want to get thrown on to. Registration was super smooth and, amazingly, I managed to get a event t-shirt in small (usually I end up with XXL, which, you can imagine is pretty pointless). Oddly they didn't call our weigh in until the very last second so Marc, Ivo and I were all warming up when there was a 'very urgent call' for us to weigh in...
Fight 1: Marc Thompson
Marc proved to be pretty strong in stand up, from the point of view that he didn't offer any openings. Later he told me he was also a Judoka and he showed me a nice tactic for keeping wrestling grips off him. Seriously, pushing his arms was like pushing on tree branches. That said I did manage to get over the top of him but then screwed up my drag down and he got a deserved two points doing a decent leg grab. I was pretty annoyed with myself on that one but I tried to stay calm and play my game. Once I had calmed down I managed to get a sweep from half guard and then get things back on my own terms finishing with Rear Naked Choke.
Fight 2: Ivo Ganchev
I'd fought Ivo before at Kleos in High Wycombe however I knew that on that day he'd been well under weight (he fights at Light Feather) and not feeling great. He was a lot more relaxed in the stand up than Marc and as a consequence it was easier to get closer but I could not really get a decent underhook. Once I did get over the top of him he sat back and then I spent a fair amount of time dealing with his half guard due to my habit of trailing my rear leg (Note to self; must drill more!). My last match with Ivo went to points and this one was pretty similar as he was really stubborn in defence, constantly moving and altering his angles. I did hear the corner shout '30 seconds' and put a push on at the end and managed to get a Rear Naked Choke with a couple of seconds to go.
All in all it was a good competition. Both Marc and Ivo are really nice guys who I really appreciate competing against. I love the venue and the organisation and I'm looking forward to going back in November for the English Open Gi. I'm pretty happy with my NoGi game but I've got plenty to work on. Next up is the British Open Gi!