Pipers Vale trio book trip to nationals

Three promising youngsters from Ipswich's Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club took part in the regional qualifying competition for National Development Plan Grades for Boys.

Three promising youngsters from Ipswich's Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club took part in the regional qualifying competition for National Development Plan Grades for Boys.

The trio – Joshua Travers, Robert Banthorpe and Lloyd Clarke – were all competing against boys from Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.

Travers, competing in the Primary 2 Competition and up against boys who actually won the national finals last year, finished in a creditable fifth place.

Banthorpe was also up against tough opposition and competed brilliantly to take second place and the silver medal.

Clarke had the hardest task as his age group was an unknown quantity. But the Pipers Vale prospect kept to the game plan and claimed a creditable third spot and the bronze medal.

All of the three now make the team for the national final to be held at Lilleshall national sports centre later in the year.

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It was the first time that an Ipswich-based club had ever competed boys at this level and the first time that boys from an Ipswich club have qualified for a national final.

"This is a fantastic result for the club and the boys," said Pipers Vale head coach Andy Wood.

"The girls have had a fantastic year so far but to have success at this with boys as well just shows what a brilliant team of coaches we have at Pipers Vale.

"A special mention needs to go to Andrew Crawford and Will Banthorpe, the boys' coaches, who have worked so hard to achieve this result."

Two Pipers Vale gymnasts took part in the British championships for women, which is the biggest competition of the year for the gymnasts.

From these championships gymnasts are selected for national squads and international competitions.

Pascal Craymer took part in the Junior Event (13-15 years) and was looking to beat her 24th place of last year.

She competed extremely well and actually beat some gymnasts that are already part of the national squad and some seasoned internationals.

Craymer finished the competition in eighth place, which earned her an identical national ranking.

Emma Grisdale took part in the Senior Competition (15 years-plus) and the 19-year-old was one of the eldest gymnasts competing.

She too had a fantastic competition, again beating some national squad members as well as seasoned internationals.

Grisdale was lying fourth overall until she made three mistakes on beam, which put her into eighth place and a corresponding national ranking place.

"It's fantastic to have two more gymnasts to add to Rosalie Hutton now ranked in the top ten in the country," said Wood.

"It is the first time in history that any club in the county has had so many members ranked so highly."

The two girls also qualified for individual apparatus finals – the first time any gymnast from an Ipswich club has done so.

Craymer made the asymmetric bar final where she finished seventh.

Grisdale qualified for vault, bars and floor finals.

She finished eighth on vault – eighth best vaulter in the country – fifth on bars and seventh on floor for the best results any Suffolk gymnast has produced in the last 20 years.

It now means the girls have to wait to hear if they have made the national squad and whether they now qualify to compete in any internationals.

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