GYMNASTICS: Over the Moon with season end

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Chippenham Moonrakers gymnasts celebrate their recent success     Picture by Thomas Kelsey (tk678-01) Chippenham Moonrakers gymnasts celebrate their recent success Picture by Thomas Kelsey (tk678-01)

GYMNASTS from Chippenham Moonraker club ended their 2013 season with a bumper set of results over three hectic weekends of competition.

Starting off the rollercoaster ride, club coach Jennie Christensen competed in the British Veterans’ Championships in Newcastle for the third successive year, winning overall bronze in the Over 30 Pro event Christensen also placed first on the vault and fourth on both beam and floor events.

Eight club gymnasts took part in the Wiltshire Grades competition in Melksham.

Grace Langford was successful at grade four, with Millie Ambler, Megan Dowling, Teigan Higgs, Tegan Seed and Ella Stiles passing at grade three.

They were followed by successes in the afternoon competition for Morgan Sanderson at grade two and Mia Wright at pre-level.

The West Country League team of Ruby Beard, Jenny Francklin, Kacey Gainey, Megan Jones, Maisie Russell, Kelsey Stokes and Charlotte Townsend returned to action in the final round.

While the title was already out of reach, Moonrakers were locked in a battle with Baskervilles Gymnastics Club, from Bath, for the runners-up spot.

They gave an outstanding performance, against clubs from Melksham, Trowbridge, Bath and South Wales, to take the silver medal in the match and secured the runner-up position in the Division Three A League.

Individually, Beard took first place on the vault and third on the floor; Jenny Francklin took third on the vault; and Russell finished in third on the bars and second on the beam.

The last competition of the year was the South West National Development Plan Grades in Plymouth.

Emma Rhodes and Lauren Searle, both competing in their first full apparatus competition outside the club environment, rose to the occasion achieving their grades with distinction and finishing in first and fourth places overall respectively.

At NDP 12, Katie Strange and Lizzie Drew were awarded their grades with distinction and Strange placing fourth overall.

The final round saw Moonraker’s Dominique Cator battle through despite illness to another distinction at NDP 11 and second place in the overall standings.

Club coach Steve West said: “While it was an extremely busy period for the club, the girls remained focused and competed very well to achieve these phenomenal results.

“We are a relatively new and small club so to be able to match and, in some cases, exceed the performances of other, more established clubs across the region is very satisfying for the coaches, gymnasts and parents who put so much into developing the club”.

The club meets regularly at the Olympiad Leisure Centre. See chippenham gymnastics.co.uk.

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