CRICKLADE’S Laura Halford proved to be the dominant force at the British Rhythmic Championships as she put in a superb display to retain the title she won last year.

Having already won the Welsh title so far in 2014, Halford treated the Stoke crowd to an awe-inspiring display as she swept to victory in the combined competition.

Halford retained her crown with a score of 61.465 across the ball, hoop, ribbon and clubs, sending her into this summer’s Commonwealth Games full of confidence.

Frankie Jones took the silver medal after three solid routines with the hoop, ball and clubs, but an unfortunate mistake during her ribbon routine cost her the title on her first appearance at the event since 2012.

Jones finished on 59.448 while Mimi-Isabella Cesar completed the podium on 54.399, but the title was Halford’s.

“I’m so happy to have won, it was really unexpected,” the Cricklade youngster said.

“I just wanted to go out and do my routines well and didn’t really think about the scores.

“I knew how difficult the competition was going to be so I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself.

“I’m really excited about the Commonwealth Games in the summer now, I’m hoping to make the team and I think Wales will be really strong.”

Having dominated the combined event, Halford went on to win three of the four individual competitions yesterday.

She won both the hoop and ball ahead of multiple national champion Stephani Sherlock and then took the ribbon crown ahead of Francesca Jones. However, Jones to get a small amount of revenge as she took the clubs title, forcing Halford out of the gold medal position for the first time all weekend.

However, Swindon’s Jade Faulkner did not enjoy such an impressive championship, which are likely to be her last.

The 2012 Olympian could only finish 10th in the overall event, comprising of 13th on the hoop, 12th in the ball, 11th in the clubs and 10th in the ribbon.


This Is Wiltshire: