Blog Archives

Celebrating 25 years – Part 3

It wasn’t just as competitors that Court Lane started to make a mark in the late 90s.

Club coach Roger Spreadbury was already qualified as an Area Referee, and went on to achieve his National C.

John MacEnri also achieved Area Referee qualification.

Brett Caswell and Chris Batchelor undertook the Junior Referee scheme, frequently refereeing at the Mountbatten Centre, which then hosted all of Hampshire’s judo tournaments. Brett achieved the highest level of junior referee award, and passed the practical exam for Area Referee whilst refereeing at Crystal Palace.

The Junior Referee scheme is certainly something we would like to see more players explore – not everyone is a competitor. There are also always opening for time keepers and record keepers to assist with competition.

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Celebrating 25 years – Part 2


Competition success wasn’t immediate for the club, although players were competing from day 1 – Simon Brown was a regular early competitor.

The first medal came from Brett Caswell, winning the 1997 Hampshire Closed Orange & Under tournament. This was also his first competition!

Brett followed this with a medal at the 1998 Southern Area Open, and qualification for the Southern Area squad at the end of the  same year.

His main club competition came from Chris Batchelor, who took his first medal in 1998. The two became regular training and competition partners. Chris’ younger brother Tim also followed on the mat, before following a successful hockey career.

Success rapidly followed for the girls, with Kate Borland claiming a podium place. Brett’s younger sister Tiffany later became a fierce competitor for the club, including competing at the Kent and London Internationals.

1997 World Champion Kate Howey MBE visited in 1999, in the run up to the World Championships held in Birmingham. On the back of attending the 1999 Kendal Summer Camp and some crafty initiative, Brett blagged himself a volunteer role at the World Championships, meeting judo greats such as Ryoko Tamura.

At the end of the year, Brett secured a top two placing on the Southern Area squad, which gave him entry to that year’s National Championships. A bronze medal here meant a place on the Great Britain cadet squad, with his first overseas competition (and a fifth place) coming soon after.

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Nekoda Davis treats Court Lane to Olympic masterclass

Nekoda with class

Court Lane Judo Club celebrated their 25th birthday with a visit from Rio Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Nekoda Smythe-Davis, on Saturday 5th May.

Guests included club founder and original coach Roger Spreadbury, and former coach and News Coach of the Year nominee Jill Brown.

Davis, who herself recently turned 25, demonstrated some of the techniques that helped her win a world bronze medal in 2017, and joined in practice with the players.

In an insightful and honest question and answer session, she answered questions about her judo career, how she prepares for competition and the pressures on her at the beginning of judo’s two year qualification cycle for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Davis was joined on the mat by Brett Caswell. Caswell won the inaugural -21 Commonwealth Judo championships in 2006, 2005 British Championships and represented Great Britain all over the world. Jonty Bassil was another willing uke.

The session ended with Davis and Spreadbury cutting a cake to honour the Club’s 25th birthday.

Current Club Coach Tony Brown said, “It was great to get a player of Nekoda’s calibre down to help us celebrate our 25th birthday. The Club is on the way back up, with several players being selected for Hampshire squads over the last couple of years, and this was our way of giving the players, and their parents, something to inspire them and motivate them to keep working hard at their judo. It is a tough sport, but as Nekoda amply demonstrated, the rewards are there for those who keep their focus and determination.”

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Looking forward to Saturday with Nekoda!

Nekoda Smythe-Davis in action

This Saturday we host Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion Nekoda Smythe-Davis.

Our own Brett Caswell will be in attendance, we also have a number of other former players and coaches coming along.

The school has agreed to open the main playground for car parking, this offers far more space than the staff car park we usually use, and will prevent congestion in Hilary Avenue.

The Portsmouth News have been invited to attend, we also will be taking photographs on the day. If you do not wish your child to be photographed, and photos perhaps published in print or social media, please let us know.

Your diaries include space for autographs, bring them along – it isn’t every day you get to meet an Olympian…

We will also be hosting players from Fort Purbrook and Holbrook, so please make them welcome.

Can players please arrive before 1pm, so that we can start on time. Please sign in upon arrival, so that we can keep track for health and safety purposes. The mat session is only available to pre-registered players.

Tea and coffee will be available on the day. We gratefully acknowledge the donation from Sainsbury’s, Farlington.

Can we gently remind everyone that the school is a non-smoking site.

Hoping everyone has a great time – look forward to seeing you all on Saturday.

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Isla picked for Hampshire team

We are pleased to announce that Isla Savellis-Fry has been selected to represent Hampshire in this year’s Intercounty tournament.

Isla will be competing at -63kg, at the southern area event being hosted in Gillingham, Kent on 13th May.

Isla is the first female player from the Club to be selected for this team event.

Well done Isla!

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Brett Caswell to attend Olympic session with Nekoda Davis

Brett at GB World Cup 2007

We are delighted to confirm that Brett, our own 2005 British champion and former -21 Commonwealth champion, will be attending the session with Nekoda Davis on 5th May.

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Celebrating 25 years – Part 1

You may have heard us mention that this year marks 25 years of Court Lane Judo Club…

It’s a remarkable achievement, but it seems only yesterday that the Club opened at Court Lane Junior School.

The Club was founded by Roger Spreadbury, Jill Brown and Tony Brown, in April 1993. We all met in  Cosham Community Association Judo Club,  but decided that we wanted to run our own Cub, free from outside management.

Originally lessons were held in the Small Hall, with mats stored in a shed across the playground – it was great fun carrying them in the wind and rain.

We then moved to the Old Dining Room (now demolished), where we put away tables and chairs to lay mats, then put them all out again at the end of the session.

Sessions were then split between the Old Dining Room and the Main Hall, with an eventual move to the Main Hall when it was redeveloped with additional storage, and the Old Dining Room demolished.

In 1998 we were able to purchase new 2×1 metre mats to replace those we had started with, these mats are still going strong today. (We still have four of the original mats in storage…).

We worked closely with Roger’s other club, in Havant, and players were able to attend sessions led by guest coaches such as the great Roy Inman MBE and 1997 World Champion and four times Olympian, with two  Olympic medals, Kate Howey MBE.


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Hampshire Closed success for Isla

Two players represented the Club at today’s Hampshire Closed, in Aldershot.

Kaiden Southey delivered his best competition performance to date, beating players graded a whole belt or more higher than him, to reach the 2nd round of pools in his weight.

Isla Savellis-Fry proved that her last competition medal was no fluke, with a totally focussed performance in the girls -63kg. 4 wins out of 5 secured her a silver medal, and an invitation to train with the Hampshire squad – the first Court Lane female player to receive such an invitation.

Well done to both players, great results in our 25th year!

Posted in Competitions, News, Results
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Olympic Judo with Nekoda Davis – Saturday 5th May

As previously announced, Rio Olympian and 2017 World bronze medallist Nekoda Smythe-Davis will be at the Club on Saturday 5th May from 1-3pm.

The event will be subsidised by the Club, however a £6 mat fee will be required, payable in advance. Any non-attendees will only be refunded at the Club’s discretion.

Bookings will open on Tuesday 6th March for club players and regular visitors. Your space is not confirmed until payment is received.

Spaces will be opened on a first come, first served basis to other clubs from Tuesday 3rd April. Final date for registration will be Thursday 3rd May. As above, spaces are not confirmed until payment is received.

No bookings will be taken on the day.

We hope to lay on a buffet social from 3-4pm, after the training session – details to be confirmed.

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Olympian Nekoda Davis to run session at Club

We are delighted to announce that Rio Olympian Nekoda Smythe-Davis has agreed to run a session at the Club.

As well as representing Team GB at the 2016 Olympics, Nekoda won Commonwealth Games gold for England at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and a bronze medal at the 2017 Budapest World Championships.

Nekoda will be at the Club on Saturday 5th May, running a session from 1-3pm, with a meet and greet and photo opportunities after.

Prior booking and payment for this session will be essential, with priority being given to currently active players.

Full details of pricing and how to register will be released after half term.

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