Three girls from Phoenix Gymnastics Club near Windsor spearheaded a successful weekend for Southern Region at the recent British National Grades Finals held in Birmingham.
The gymnasts were part of the team for National Grade 7 and were competing against teams from eleven other regions of the U.K. The girls had all qualified for the team at the recent regional championships in Portsmouth along with gymnasts from DMGA in Jersey and AGA in Aylesbury.
The team were competing in the final round of the finals and knew as they warmed up that several teams had already posted good scores. Danni Franklin [Phoenix] was the travelling reserve with the team, having made the finals by a hugely improved performance at this years regionals, but with the other girls warming up safely she then joined the coaches as the other team members went into action.
Starting on bars, Rachelle Flambard from DMGA immediately made a mistake on her first move and although she finished the routine successfully her score of 11.150 was lower than the team would have liked. Next to go was Jenna Arnot [Phoenix] who put in a great routine for a score of 12.30 which ended up as 3rd highest score of the day on this apparatus. Jenna was followed by Emma Green[Phoenix] who put in an immaculate performance to score 12.50 which was the highest score of the day on bars. With one gymnast to go it looked like the team was off to a great start but unfortunately the final gymnast, Honor Layton [AGA] had a fall in her routine , however she still score a creditable 11.90.
The team moved to beam for the second rotation. This apparatus often decides events because it is so easy to ruin a routine with a fall. However the girls all stuck their routines with Honor finishing in third place and Jenna in fourth place closely followed by Rachelle and Emma.
As they moved to their third piece, the floor exercise, everyone hope the team could keep up the high standards they were setting. Emma led the team off with a good solid performance for 11.20, Honor followed with a stunning routine for an excellent 12.00. Rachelle followed with an excellent 11.85 and Jenna finished off the rotation with a solid 11.75.
The team were left with just the vault to go. Honor was first to go, 12.35 scored a solid start. Next to go was Emma , 12.40 scored, a massive improvement on her score at regional finals. Jenna was next and produced an excellent vault for 12.65 and Rachelle round of the teams day with a 12.20.
Everyone knew the team had put in a really good all round performance but no one realised just how good it was until the results were announced, in third place Eastern Region 143.50 points, in second place South East Region 144.10 points and the winners SOUTH REGION 144.70 points.!!
As the girls went up to collect their team medals and the Championship Trophy they were unaware that there was an additional award for Jenna Arnot[Phoenix] who had also scooped the silver medal for second place in the individual competition, missing out on the gold medal by just one tenth of a mark to Emmeline Anghileli [ South East]
This really was a great performance by the Phoenix girls and played a major part in helping the South Region to it’s best performance in these finals for several years.
After a few days break over Easter the girls will be back to work in the gym with coaches Beverley Older and Richard Butler to get ready for the next run of competitions including the Regional Club Teams Championship which takes place in June. Hopes are high that this is a great start to a great season !!