Supporters cheer gym girls to bronze

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Even if the often excellent routines on show did not keep you perked up, the noise from the crowd certainly would.Yesterday in the Grammar School sports hall was no exception, with the Jersey support not lagging behind in the vocal stakes as their five-strong ladies team won a largely unexpected and enthusiastically received bronze.That all five have had previous Games experience probably played no little part in their success, behind winners Isle of Man and Bermuda.Nicola Booth (14), Jessica Marrett (15), Samantha Logan (16), Sophie Marshman (15) and Lauren McEwan (18), guided by coaches Julia Falle and Andy Rogers, are good all-round gymnasts and they put in a consistently high standard of performance on floor and the vault, finishing with 64.475 pts, well clear of old rivals Aland and Faroes.

Indeed, the leading two were not that far ahead and extremely close themselves, the Isle of Man edging out Bermuda by 65.975 pts to 65.300.

The latter, of course, were making their bow in the competition, but it was not an entirely happy baptism as their leading official was disgruntled, it appears, over the marks given to an Isle of Man competitor – not unlike the men’s competition two years ago.

But the rumoured threat to walk out, thick on the floor before the results were announced, never materialised and it was a smiling team who took the silver.’The standard is rising all the time,’ said Falle, ‘so it’s getting harder all the time to win medals.

But the girls are of a good standard and they all have a chance of individual medals later in the week, particularly in the set floor and vault.’The girls deserved the success, they put in a lot of hours – up to 18 hours a week leading up to a competition.’The floor routines are understood now to be scored more on artistic merit than in the past, so great care is taken to select the right music and work on it – often for years.

Logan, in particular, got it right on the floor yesterday, recording a nine.Later in the day Jersey’s men only just missed out on a bronze to Ynys Mon, 55.1 to 54.9.

In the spirit of the ‘Friendly Games’, Jersey’s manager Ann Frith also took care of a rival team while their coach competed …

Ynys Mon!Frith’s son Ben (24), one of Jersey’s top hopes for a medal this week, was in good form and was generally impressed with the commitment shown by his younger, less-experienced teammates:’Some gymnasts can train well but not compete well, but these lads showed good temperament,’ he said.Isle of Man made it a double by taking gold from Faroes, 55.95 to 55.85.

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