Friday 4th April was the date set for the fifth Ashes at the astonishingly beautiful Pennyhill Park Hotel. The Ashes is a fundraising event to support the Charity which is Camberley Judo Club and it’s dedicated full time athletes on the journey to the next Olympic Games in Rio 2016 and beyond.
The event includes a team competition between Camberley Judo Club players and an international team which changes each year. The event began with a drinks reception followed by a delicious four course dinner. Between each course we witnessed some breath taking judo skills from both, the Camberley Judo Club athletes and this years’ opponent, which were from Ireland.
Camberley Judo Club is an established charity and Danny Pecorelli, who chairs the board, has a huge impact on the support the athletes receive. Danny has been supporting the club since 2009 and expressed how pleased he was with the evening: “Fantastic! We raised £20,000 for the club and the athletes, this will put us in a good position to be able to get some incredible results at the Commonwealth Games and looking ahead to Rio too. Camberley Judo Club is thriving… it is lovely to see such amazing, dedicated young individuals succeeding. We have a great team here with a great coach and everything is just getting better and better.”
Besides Mr Pecorelli, the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Beverley Harding was also in attendance at the event: “We had a wonderful evening, it is fantastic how well Camberley judo club is doing actually nationally and internationally so we are thrilled to be here and be part of the success. The Surrey Heath Borough Council will continue supporting and if anyone living or working locally is considering supporting the club, they should do it! The enthusiasm and the hard work in the judo club is incomparable, these guys really do everything they can to achieve their dreams”.
The first contest of the evening was fought and won by Owen Livesey in the U81 category. It was the young judoka’s debut for CJC at an Ashes event. “Fighting at the Ashes is nerve racking! I didn’t realise how much support the club has and they are all practically sat on top of you. It was a great atmosphere and it was an enjoyable experience.” – he explained.
The second contest saw Francesca Paine representing CJC at -63kg succumb to a hold down against an older more experienced competitor, drawing the score line to 1-1. After the short interlude for the main dinner course CJC really hit their stride striking up wins from Nathon Burns, Frazer Chamberlain and finally Ashley McKenzie. Camberley Judo Club once again retained the Judo Ashes title with a convincing 4:1 lead to the Irish team.
Head coach of Camberley Judo Club, Luke Preston was very impressed with the evening: “I was very happy with the money raised and would like to thank everyone that supported the night. The money will help the players with their training costs but also towards self-funding events where they can gain valuable world ranking points. The highlight was just the atmosphere in general that was electric. Thanks to coach Keith Gough and the whole team from Ireland”
Click here to view our highlights video from the evening. Thank you Oliver Baldwin for the editing job!