Great Britain Judo star Sam Potts dishes out capital punishment again

Gosport judo stars Sam Potts and Ronnie Crampton-Reid
Gosport judo stars Sam Potts and Ronnie Crampton-Reid
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Sam Potts hit top form to win the London Senior Open for the third year on the bounce.

The Gosport Judo Club man fought his way to four wins to seal the title.

His opening two fights were comfortable as he won both.

The semi-final was arguably the toughest contest when he took on his training partner Ashley Mathias.

If the draw had kept them apart it could easily have been the final.

But instead the duo, who both train in Bath, had to fight in the last four.

I managed to throw him for yuko but not for maximum score. That made it a tactical fight again.

Sam Potts

They know each other well and that made it a tactical battle.

Fortunately for Potts, he came out on top and then went on to complete his hat-trick of titles.

He said: ‘I’m happy to keep the title for the third year running.

‘In the semi-final I was up against Ashley Mathias who I train with in Bath.

‘He’s the same weight as me and I’ve beaten him twice before.

‘In the week leading up to the competition he was saying “it’s going to be different this time.”

‘There was a bit of banter. We thought we might meet in the final but the draw made it so it was the semi-final.

‘It’s quite hard to fight him. I changed my judo because he knows what I do.

‘He was not doing what he normally does as well because he knows I know it.

‘It made it a tactical fight and I won it on penalties. He got three penalties and I got one.

‘I was happy to win it. If I didn’t win it, I would have got some stick back in Bath in training.’

Potts came into the competition off the back of a disappointing day at the English Open when nothing came off for him.

But the Great Britain squad member was determined to put that right in the capital.

It added to the tension in the final because Potts was focused on not making any mistakes.

He added: ‘In the final, I had the same person who I fought last year, Craig Holmes.

‘He’s tall and quite long limbed so it’s hard to get in close.

‘I managed to throw him for yuko but not for maximum score. That made it a tactical fight again.

‘I needed to reassure myself after I had a terrible day at the English Open.

‘So once I got that score I made sure I kept it and dominated the fight.

‘I knew my fitness was good enough to be able to last the fight.’

Potts returned from Bath for half-term to train in Gosport with coaches Derek and Sarah Hopkins and that was a boost as he looks ahead to the national team event in July.

Meanwhile, Gosport’s Ronnie Crampton-Reid picked up a silver medal in the capital.

Coach Sarah Hopkins was pleased with a confident display.

‘Although in her first contest she went down a big score, she kept her head and pulled it around to win with maximum points,’ said Hopkins.

‘This set her up for the battle for gold and she started out well but the young girl got the better of Ronnie and she lost on a minor score.

‘Ronnie, being the lightest in this weight group of over-78kg and the oldest by a number of years, did really well and can be proud of what she has achieved over the last year in fitness and experience.’