First gold for Pipers Vale boys

THREE young gymnasts from Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club, based at Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich, took part in the Boys National Development Plan national finals held at the Benfield Gymnastics Centre, Newcastle.

THREE young gymnasts from Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club, based at Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich, took part in the Boys National Development Plan national finals held at the Benfield Gymnastics Centre, Newcastle.

Teams from all over the UK were competing including Scotland, Yorkshire, London, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Ipswich youngsters Robert Banthorpe, Lloyd Clark and Harry Clarke were part of the East Region squad along with boys from Huntingdon, Basildon and Hemel Hempstead.

Banthorpe competed on Saturday in the Primary 2 section for boys aged 10/11 years.

The East region team finished fifth out of 11 and Banthorpe finished in 24th position, an improvement on his placing last year.

He also managed to maintain his position as number two in the region.

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The other two Ipswich boys competed on Sunday. Lloyd Clark was part of the Primary 3 section for boys aged 9/10 years.

The regional coaches had high hopes for this team and all the lads, including Clark, produced good routines which enabled the team to finish in first place.

Individually Clark finished in 18th position out of 51 competitiors which was excellent considering the high standard of the competition.

More significantly this gave the Pipers Vale club its first national gold medal on the boys' side.

Harry Clarke, who was competing in his first major competition, was part of the Primary 4 section for boys aged 8/9 years. The team finished in 5th position out of 11 and Harry ended up in 41st place.

The boys' contribution was well rewarded when, at the end of the two days of competition, the East Region was announced as the runner up to the overall title (when all the scores from all of the grades are added together).

Coach Andrew Crawford said: "This is an improvement on last year where we came away with our first national bronze medal. The boys worked really hard over the last few months and it has paid off"

Will Banthorpe, the boys' other coach, was equally pleased. He said: "It's hard for the boys as for some of them it is their first experience of a big national event, but they all performed."

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