OUR King Eddies hopefuls approached the senior South West Preliminaries at Taunton with high hopes – and judging by the haul of medals we returned home with, those expectations were perfectly justifiable!

For many of our competitors the weekend was a long and tiring one as we had to be up and at the Wellsprings Leisure Centre by 7am on the Saturday and didn’t get back to South Gloucestershire until late that evening.

So while there may have been a few bleary eyes come Monday morning, there would have been some satisfied expressions on faces too after a fantastic tournament saw several of our gymnasts make it through to the national finals, to be held at Fenton Manor (Stoke) in May.

Our fab foursome in the Grade 1 men’s pairs of Finley Austin, Joe Kennedy, Joel Compton and Alex Reeve claimed a gold medal, while in the Grade 2 women’s pairs Poppy Small and Ellise King conjured up a silver medal between them and in the same section, team-mates Rhiannon Holt and Holly Stone, and Ellie Shepherd and Sophie Noble, did well to finish-up in fourth and seventh-spot berths respectively.


Rowan Attfield and Isabella Beckhaus settled for a splendid silver award in the Grade 2 women’s pairs out-of-age category, and James Offer and Kirsten Owen produced a fine display to walk away with gold in the Grade 2 mixed pairs event.

There was a top prize too for our Grade 2 out-of-age women’s trio of Erica Holford, Lilly Herbert and Gracie Faulkner, and the same applied to our Grade 3 partnership of Brieanne Foster and Ellie Maggs, who clinched gold in the women’s pairs.

Also emerging top of the pile were our Grade 4 women’s double-act comprising Dove Strachan-Wills and Millie Battensby, who finished a little ahead of club-mates Jade Gibbs and Paige Weeks as commendable runners-up.

Ryan Bennett and Amber Thrush (Grade 4 mixed pairs) and Marcus Flint and Harry Hole (Grade 4 men’s pairs) won their respective categories, while Abigail Hipkiss, Maisy Hanham and Isobel Davey took the honours in the Grade 4 women’s groups class.

Other King Edmund results –  Grade 1 women’s pairs: Maddie White, Sasha Sage, 16th; Megan James, Olivia Trott 33rd; Grade 2 women’s groups: Rhian Streeter, Anna Campbell, Charleigh Mills, 15th;Grade 3 women’s groups:  Courtney Reeves, Hannah Pallot, Katie Sillick, 6th; Rachel Holehouse, Rebecca Adams, Fiona Cornick, 7th

A week later our loyal band of seven dedicated coaches and judge were overseeing the South West Prelims equivalent for aspiring lower-graded gymnasts in the region, which took place at the Gryphon Leisure Centre in Sherborne, Dorset. Again our entrants produced an excellent display of acro-gymnastics, winning medals in most of the categories we entered.

Coach John O’Mahony said of their efforts: “We felt proud and encouraged by how our fledgling gymnasts did and it certainly bodes well for the future of King Eddies.

“They all conducted themselves well and showed what good spirit there is at the club by the way they cheered one another on.”

A round-up of how the King Eddies’ gymnasts fared at Sherborne will appear here shortly . . .