A KENDAL Judo Club player took to the matt for his first competitive experience into the contest arena at Wolverhampton Leisure Centre.

Sam Dean competed at the weekend along with 82 other Coloured Belt grade competitors as he entered the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) Championships.

The Judokas were representing not just themselves but also their universities with points going to the team in the national multi-sport competition.

It was a nervous student representing the University of Cumbria who faced Alex Donaldson from Strathclyde University in his first contest, but it was a happy smiling Kendalian who came off the mat having thrown his opponent for ippon (the winning score) with a rear reaping throw - O Soto Gari.

His second contest against Matthew Lloyd from Liverpool did not go so well when Sam lost on a technicality.

His next two contests went to the Cumbrian with a throw followed by a hold and full point wins including throwing a blue belt grade with an inner reaping throw (O Uchi Gari) to Sam’s two grades lower orange belt for the points which put him in the fight for the Gold Medal.

His opponent in the final was Julian Homann from Cambridge a veteran of the Championships having won the previous year.

It was a close match. Sam lost to a shoulder throw (Seoi Nage) in the last minute but a well-deserved silver medal in his first ever tournament.