Wednesday 28 June 2023

UK National Championships 2023

Back at Dunstable Downs, after almost exactly a year, for the 2023 National Championships. Like last year, only a single round over the two days. 

Generally, the weather was sunny, especially on Sunday. As to the wind, on Saturday morning there was a nice 7-11mph wind, which then gradually dropped down during the afternoon, becoming more and more thermal. On Sunday, the wind was very blustery and variable, up to 17mph, but often falling away very quickly. 

More competitors than last year, several of which were new to competition! Let's look at the various different disciplines, leaving dual-line pair for last.

Dual-line individual had three competitors: Fran Burstall, Daniel Hoath and Josh Mitcheson. Josh took the title.

Multi-line individual had four entrants: Daniel Hoath, Josh Mitcheson, Vee Griffiths and Ryan Hoath.

Dan grabbed the title, and special mention should be made of Ryan Hoath, doing very well in his first ever competition!

Only one entrant for dual-line team, Fracture, in a new line-up: Matt Constable replacing Daniel Hoath.

For Matt, this was his first competition, and he did remarkable well, given he only had very limited opportunity to learn the figures, tech routine and ballet. Not surprisingly, Fracture became dual-line team champions.

Also a single entrant in multi-line team, The Quad Mob, consisting of Josh Mitcheson, Harry Neale, Matt Constable and Chris Purssell. First competition for Chris as well.

No surprise that The Quad Mob took the title.

On to the pairs! Multi-line pair first, with one entrant: The Flying Squad (Stephen and Daniel Hoath).

Of course, they became national champions in this discipline, but I do need to say their ballet is one of the best pair ballets I've ever seen. Full of content, using all hooks and cues in the music, and with a good dose of humour thrown in as well.

And then finally dual-line pair! Besides Flying Fish, three more pairs entered: SkyTracks, Fracture and Spark (two thirds of Flame, Fran Burstall and Barry Savell). First time we wore our new outfit!

As to our own flying, we felt we flew precision pretty well on Saturday morning (we were lucky to be scheduled to fly in the morning rather than in the afternoon), but really struggled with the variable blustery wind during our ballet on Sunday.

In the end, Fracture deservedly took the championship, with Flying Fish coming second, just ahead of Spark. We got some very useful feedback from the judges as to what we should focus on to improve.

All results are shown in the table below:

One final thing: following me shadowing Vee as field director last year, I now served several stints as official field director!

Quite enjoyed it, to be honest, and I think I did a decent job for a newbie!