Their young and talented team, overcame the five times Champions (2001-2005) from Liverpool by 2.050 points (Silver); the Bronze medallists from Huntingdon by 10.600pts and the last years Champions from Heathrow, in fourth, by 11.200pts. Park Wrekin finished in fifth, and City of Newcastle, in sixth, out of 15 Teams from all over the country that took part.
The key to the success of Notts (Becky Downie, Laura Jones, Jordan Lipton, Louise Mercer and Niamh Rippin, led by coaches Claire Starkey and Ian Kime) was their consistency on all four apparatus and particularly on A. Bars and Beam (41.300pts and 43.350pts respectively).
Liverpool, with their star-champion Beth Tweddle performing on three apparatus (without Bars, due to her shoulder operation in January), scored highest on Vault, 42.150 and on Floor, 41.600, but had a number of hiccups on Bars and Beam.
Beth was the highest scorer on Floor, 14.800, having added a triple twist to her programme.
Huntingdon, who didn’t have a full team in 2006, won the Bronze in spite of the fact that they had to perform on Saturday night while the strongest challengers were still on their way to Guildford. However, the team led by Marissa King and Emma White rose to the occasion presenting solid routines without major mistakes.
Said the happy Notts Head Coach Claire Starkey, who’s enthusiasm brought a new reliable generation not only to the Club, but also to the National Team:
“Before the competition we knew that we had a fairly good chance to win. The routines, the skills and the preparation of our gymnasts were of a very high level, and they have matured enormously over the last year. However, with the powerful Team of Liverpool around, including Beth Tweddle, and all the other strong challengers, I was not sure if they had grown enough to cope with and fight back the nervous tension. They’ve proved they have and now all of them are over the moon with their achievement. What’s more, I believe that they are now convinced that the hard work pays back.
It was most amusing and endearing for me was to see Jordan (Lipton), after she was awarded the Ursel Free Trophy as the highest scorer on any apparatus in the Championships (15.050 on Beam). “I am now so glad that last week you made me work on Beam so much more than everybody else in the team”, she told me!”
“I am also happy that, in spite of her not very clean landing on Vault, Becky (Downie) was the first British woman to have dared to perform a Yourchenko Double twist.”
Becky Downie was the highest Individual All-around scorer, 56.250 (Ace Awards Trophy), followed by her teammate Laura Jones, 54.950 and Marissa King (Huntingdon), 54.550.
A Gutsy performance from both sides