Blog Archives

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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New friends made in French twinning events

Coaches and players from Court Lane have participated in recent twinning events with French judo clubs.

In May, Tony, Kev, Craig and Dean (and Brett’s mum!) along with representatives of Holbrook Judo Club, travelled to Royan in the Bordeaux region, for a weekend of Judo, sightseeing and socialising.

We look forward to them visiting us next year.

At the beginning of June, members of Le Havre’s Judo Perrey Guerrier visited the Portsmouth area and were hosted by Holbrook Judo Club.

Members of Portsmouth area judo clubs were invited to join with a training session and friendly competition with the visitors.

13332761_491866707684192_5534276740323114499_nTony, Jonty, Mieszko and Maya represented the club during the morning training session, with Jonty taking part in the afternoon competition.

Hopefully we can visit JPG next year.



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Tony appointed as joint junior squad manager for Hampshire Judo

IMG_5529Club coach Tony Brown has been appointed with Holbrooke’s Paul Vella to jointly manage the Hampshire junior squad. The decision was announced at the recent Hampshire AGM.

Tony has previously supported Hampshire Judo in a PR role, helping to set up the website and Facebook pages, as well as securing much local press coverage.

Both Tony and Paul are keen to return Hampshire junior judo to the level of success it enjoyed in the early 2000s – both Tony and Paul were involved in this, working with other coaches to lead busy Hampshire sessions and totally dominate the Southern Area intercounties tournament.

2002 Intercounties Champions

2002 Intercounties Champions

Many of the players involved during this time went on to secure GB representation – Brett Caswell, Andy Gould, Joph Spencer, Ben Garside, Vince Skillcorn, Craig Tullett, Sarah Patterson Sam Potts, Lewis Dolman, Lisa Stevens…

Initial training dates have been set and will be announced shortly. These are open to ALL players, not just County medallists.

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Please support Tony’s Stonehenge Trek on behalf of Alzheimer’s



Tony will be undertaking the 25 mile Stonehenge Trek to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research, this September.

Full details of the Trek can be found on the Alzheimer’s website.

If you would care to sponsor Tony, donations can be made via JustGiving, at


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Adventures in France

Court Lane players in Royan

Court Lane players in Royan

Tony, Andy, Simon, Jonty and Azhar have just returned from a trip to Royan, France, where they trained with the local judo club.

The visit was undertaken with Holbrook Judo Club, as part of the official twinning events between Gosport and Royan.

Whilst there, players trained with their French counterparts on the Friday evening and Sunday morning, before taking part in a “friendly” competition, where Andy, Jonty and Azhar all took on players considerably bigger than themselves and higher graded. All three performed with distinction, Jonty and Azhar scoring some good wins.

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Andy also took part in the Monday evening fitness and newaza session, so look out for some new exercises and more variations on sangaku and juji gatame!

It wasn’t all Judo however, with trips to Blaye and La Rochelle forming part of the itinerary , we also took advantage of an opportunity to go sailing.

Royan will be visiting Gosport in 2015, with Holbrook hosting Judo activities.

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Court Lane preparing for international adventures

Court Lane Judo Club is preparing for two forays into the international judo scene.

Tony Brown and Andy Read will accompany Jonty Bassil, Azhar Baree and Simon Bassil on a trip to Royan, France at the end of May to train with the ROC Judo Club.

This trip is being organised by Holbrook Judo Club, in Gosport, as part of the twinning arrangement between Gosport and Holbrook.

Tony took part in this exchange visit two years ago, with Brett Caswell and Greg Anderson. Brett also travelled to France with Holbrook in 2010. Court Lane players have taken part in activities organised by Holbrook when French players have visited the UK.

Training in Royan

Training in Royan

Players are also focussing on the Kent International, held at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, at the end of June. We have decided to add this competition to our schedule this year following the strong performances of our players at the recent Hampshire Closed. All the players who competed with such distinction are encouraged to consider entering the Kent International as a development opportunity.

Brett throws for ippon Kent International 2004

Brett throws for ippon Kent International 2004

The Club has enjoyed success at this competition previously:

2000 – Brett Caswell, bronze
2001 – Brett Caswell, bronze
2002 – Andy Gould, silver; Brett Caswell, bronze (Youth)
2003 – Andy Gould, gold; Brett Caswell, silver (Youth) and bronze (Senior)
2004 – Andy Read, bronze; Brett Caswell, gold (Senior)
2007 – Craig Jones, bronze
2009 – Craig Jones, bronze (Youth)

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Choosing an Award winner

Following on from the announcement of our Award winners, we thought it would be useful to reiterate the process that we go through to decide our nominees and eventual winners.

Firstly, we are only considering the year just gone. Prior awards are not taken into account, as a rule. However if one player is plainly monopolising an award over several years, as would in the past have been the case for perhaps Brett Caswell, Andy Gould, then they will be excluded from the selection. This will be explained to that player.

Secondly, we are very much guided by The Judo Code:
Fairplay – be a good sport, encourage equality, don’t stand for bullying.
Respect – show good manners to your Coach and each other, always be polite, follow judo etiquette in the dojo – bow when you go onto and leave the mat, bow to your Coach at the beginning and the end of the session, bow to your partner at the start and end of each practice.
Hygiene – pay attention to personal cleanliness, keep fingernails short and clean, wear clean clothing, no footwear on the mat, wear zori (flip flops) off the mat.
Self-discipline – work hard, listen to instructions, be punctual, don’t miss lessons.
Friendship – be a good friend, welcome newcomers, be helpful and kind.

Looking back, it is useful to note that in previous years, some players who you may have thought would have been a shoe-in for an awards perhaps because of judo prowess or competition success, have failed to win, because they have fallen down in other areas – usually Respect or Self-discipline. General behaviour and attitude on the mat is just as – if not more – important than being able to score a perfect Ippon every time. Competitiveness is good; so is the ability to lose gracefully. Consideration for your training partners means that you will still have training partners next week. Some of the afore mentioned players have fallen in this category!

Competition success and general judo development is obviously taken into account however, but it is not the be-all and end-all of everything.

For this year, the club coaches reviewed each name on the register in January and nominated their choices. Each nomination had to be backed up with a justification by the nominating coach to the other panel members as to why they felt that person was a suitable recipient.

This year, players were also invited to nominate candidates for consideration in certain categories, again with an explanation as to why they felt that person was worthy. Both the nominations received in this way in fact made it through to the final decision making process, one in fact ending up as a trophy winner.

Some categories were quite oversubscribed – Most Improved for instance had 8 nominations, which we whittled down to 4 names. The final decision in each case was then made on a one person one vote basis.

We are aware that we can not please everyone; indeed, sometimes we are not pleased ourselves when our nominations are rejected. We have sometimes found ourselves advocating for or against our own children, thsoe of fellow coaches, committee members or friends.

The Kiss of Death effect
We have also noticed a bizarre and unexpected side effect of awarding trophies.

There have been many cases over the years when our trophy winners have then promptly quit! Or displayed a marked deterioration in the very elements that originally made them a trophy winner… Why? Is it perhaps because they think they have peaked, cannot achieve any higher things? Do they struggle to maintain that standard, mentally? It is interesting to notice that many top competitors across all sports often expereince this post World or Olympic success.

It does sometimes make us very nervous about awarding a trophy!

Conversely, some of our longest serving and most dedicated players have received very little silverware in recognition of their hard work, but still turn up and support the club and their fellow judoka. Craig Jones and Andy Read would be two perfect examples.

Tony was lucky enough to be nominated for a British Judo Association coach of the year award by our regional development officer last year, partly in recognition of twenty years service to the Club. Whilst it was an unexpected surprise, it is not why Tony gives up a minimum of 7 hours every week – sometimes a lot more – to Judo. In fact, Tony found it quite embarrassing and would not have attended the Awards evening if he had been successful. Jill Brown also found the same when nominated for a Portsmouth News Coach of the Year Award. It’s not why we do it…

Awards then are a double-edged sword. If players do have concerns as to why they were unsuccessful, they are quite welcome to ask any of the club coaches areas where they think development is needed to improve.

Some players, a month into 2014, are already emerging as strong contenders for future awards if they can maintain progress they have made during January. Some 2013 winners are already showing signs of slipping back… we are watching…

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Awards Evening

Our Awards evening, commemorating and celebrating achievements for 2013, will be held on the evening of Thursday 30 January.

We will be considering nominations for the following categories:

Star Player
Most Improved Player
Best Beginner
Spirit of Judo

and for the younger players, the Kano Cup.

We have several players in mind already, but if there is anyone you would like to nominate, please speak to Tony, Kev, Craig or Andy.

Timetable for the evening:
6-7pm – Training for all players
7pm – Commencement of awards presentation

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A Collection of Firsts #1

Just been reflecting on some club history…

Here’s a shot of the first coaching line up at the Club – Tony Brown, Jill Brown and Roger Spreadbury – taken in 2002.


Roger retired from the Club in 2003, and Jill in 2010.

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