There could have been more medals, had Frith not lost his balance on the rings when, in attempting a handstand, he fell backwards and lost the rhythm of his practised routine.However Frith, at 24 a veteran of Island Games having competed first in the Isle of Wight as a 14-year-old in 1993, was just as delighted by his team-mates’ efforts as he was by his own.’The standard has gone up so much, even over the last two years,’ he said, ‘and if we’re not careful we’ll fall behind if we aren’t given the right coaching facilities.
But I was pleased for Matthew and Ferret.”Ferret’ is Evans’ nickname, and it was with considerable affection that a large Jersey contingent cheered him on as he went up to receive his bronze medal with a score of 8.05.
Alex Hodges from the Isle of Man won gold with 8.55.Maletroit also received a huge cheer as he went up to collect silver for a score of 8.6 on the pommel, 0.3 points behind Hodges, who so far had two golds to his credit, another one to come.’A month ago I took the pommel home with me,’ Maletroit said, looking down at his medal.
‘I’ve been practising on it every day.
I won silver at the last Island Games and was determined to do at least as well again.’As for Frith, whose every limb is cocooned with muscle upon muscle after those six months away, the actual competition was, in his own words, ‘a relief after I’d trained so hard’.His two golds came in the parallel bars (8.0) and pommel (8.9), his silver on the high bar where his 7.6 score seemed surprisingly low in comparison to that of the winner’s – Hodges, again – whose gold medal tally couldn’t outshine Frith’s smile once the competition was over.Whether or not he will compete in the Island Games in the Shetlands is a matter Frith will think about at length, conscious that although there are older men in the other teams – one of the Gibraltar men is nearly 40 and a Faroe islander is 30 – he wants to concentrate on coaching in the foreseeable future.The other members of the team, including Robert Guiton, who finished eighth on the pommel, appreciate that.
‘Ben has good quality,’ said James Evans.
The Faroes and the Isle of Man won all of the other medals, including a Faroes’ gold for Helgi Winther Olsen on the rings.
The other competing islands were Ynys Mon and Gibraltar.