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2019 Southern Counties

Photos courtesy of Sam Solarfly, Matt Marsh Photography

On August 10th, The Camberley Theatre played host to the fourth edition of the Southern Counties which was without a doubt the best to date. 82 athletes of incredible quality roared on by a packed house made this a day to remember.

The results were as follows:

Teenage Men

1 - Owain Hoppe

2 - Joel Gunner

3 - Max Dyson-Brown

The first class of the day saw a razor thin decision splitting the first two places, with Owain triumphant ahead of a very closely matched Joel. Where Joel was a little thicker in the upper body, especially apparent side on Owain was a touch harder and notably better developed in the lower body, giving him the slightly better balanced overall package and the win. Max was incredibly impressive in his own right and with harder condition today could have made this a judging nightmare as all three men would have been near impossible to split.

Junior Men

1 - Josh Bailey

2 - Harrison Jones

3 - Izaak Thacker

4 - George Osborne

5 - Daniel Norris

6 - Liam Tarrington

Just as competitive was the incredible junior class but this time with a clear winner in Josh who was just too big, cut and well-structured to be touched today. If he reproduces this package for the finals then he will surely be among the front runners. The next three were very closely matched with second and third being another split decision between Harrison and Izaak who were both rock hard with particularly impressive legs. George in fourth had the tools to disrupt the placings ahead of him without a doubt had he been a little harder today but boasted a superbly balanced physique. Daniel and Liam completed the class, with Daniel needing more condition and Liam more overall size.

Masters Men

1 - Clifton Morais

2 - Ian Stevenson

3 - Paul Harradine

4 - Matt Hall

The masters title was lifted by an impressive Clifton, who out massed and out shaped the rest of the class by some margin. If he tightens his condition for the finals he could be tough to beat. Defending champ Ian was his best yet, rock hard and full and looking bigger than ever. A worthy winner in most line-ups he was just unlucky to run into an athlete of Cliftons calibre today. A tough battle for the final placings took place between two polar opposite physiques. Paul took the nod with a shredded upper body over the more balanced Matt who was not quite in the shape he needed to be on this occasion. If Matt tightens up and Paul brings up his lower body to match his upper then future success is inevitable for both men.

Grandmasters Men

1 - Mario Watts

2 - Gary Arbon

3 - Glynn Bell

4 - Mar Sleimann

5 - Adrian Hampton

Also competed: Richard Hall, Paul Thorpe, Tim Sharp, Ian Preston-Kleine and Shawn Howard-Greenfield

Ten men took the stage next in possibly the strongest Grandmasters line-up ever seen at a UKDFBA qualifier. A come backing Mario, a week away from his 60th birthday took the title in a close fight with last years UK Championships runner up Gary in a tightly fought contest which could have gone either way without complaint. Both men were heavily muscled and well balanced with Mario the harder and more detailed and Gary the more aesthetically pleasing. The rematch in October will be an interesting one as we can expect Gary to be at his best condition wise by then. Glynn was a clear third, fending off the other athletes with his big lean and well balanced physique which is also worthy of finals contention. Mar was beautifully balanced and boasted a lovely shape but needs to be harder but good enough pip Adrian into Fifth. Adrian was the best he had been for the last few seasons condition wise but needed a little more fullness and size to push for a higher place today.

Outside the top 5 was first timer Richard who was in incredible shape but a little out massed today, Tim who was beautifully shaped and posed incredibly well but too needs more mass to place higher today. Shawn was his best ever and again was just unlucky to be in such a top quality line-up. Rounding out the class were Paul, a little short of his usual shape today as he continues to battle his injury which would keep most from even entering a gym and Ian in his best shape yet as he continues to transform his physique.

Masters Ladies Figure

1 - Sara Morais

2 - Marcelle Williams

Although small in numbers both of the ladies Figure divisions were packed with quality starting with the Masters which was won by a best ever Sara Morais, vastly improved from her win last year with added muscle and fullness and overall looking vastly improved. Marcelle in her first contest looked great with a superb structure and shape which when she tightens up a little more should see her earn her place at the finals. On a slight side note, it was an absolute pleasure to host and meet Marcelles father, Gary Williams at the contest. A bodybuilding star of the 1960’s who shared the stage with greats like Albert Beckles and Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was fascinating speak with Gary briefly and humbling to have him choose to attend his first contest since the late 1960’s today.

Novice Men

1 - Malcolm Treneman

2 - George Harris

3 - Jay Bangha

A solid win in the Novices form Malcolm who was just too big and heavily muscled for the others in the class today. Much improved from his USN Classic showing of 2018, Mal continues to evolve as a bodybuilder after his incredible transformation of the last few years and will be one to watch at the finals. Runner up George looked superb, neatly balanced and hard and although not quite big enough overall to push the winner, was a worthy recipient of a finals invitation of his own. Jay held his own nicely in third with a lean and muscular physique with a well-shaped upper body but needs a little more size overall and some emphasis on his legs to complete the picture.

Open Ladies Figure

1 - Zoe Cooke

2 - Leah Partridge

Our second Figure class of the day was an incredibly close run affair with both ladies similarly developed and with superb balance, both ideal for the class. Zoe took a razor thin decision by virtue of her slightly more aesthetic shape but the decision could have gone either way without argument. Both ladies could feature strongly at the finals with a touch more condition.

Open Ladies Fit Body

1 - Tsuki Harris

2 - Alison Story

3 - Sara Morais

4 - Zoe Cooke

Four ladies took to the stage in a superb Fit Body class, with Tsuki taking the title in a cracking battle with runner up Alison. Both ladies were lean and muscular, perfectly fitting the class criteria in that respect with Tsuki taking the win due to her slightly bigger and wider shouldered upper body giving her the perfect shape. Both ladies look towards the finals now and will be up there with the best of them in October. Third and fourth were taken by Masters and Open Figure winners Sara and Zoe respectively, with Saras superior condition getting the nod today but both ladies being better suited to the Figure discipline.

Open Men Lightweight

1 - Andrew O’Connor

2 - Lee Chambers

3 - Tara Gurung

4 - Eric Pawlikowski

5 - Jordan Seward

6 - Joshua Lewis

A shredded and thickly muscled Andrew took his second consecutive Southern Counties title in superb shape, fending off a strong class of opponents. A massively improved Lee took a clear second, bigger and harder than his 2017 appearance with a vastly improved back he is capable of putting forward a very strong challenge at the finals. A tough battle for third place ended with Tara pipping Eric for the final trophy slot. Tara possessed one of the most aesthetically pleasing physiques in the whole contest with particularly impressive quads and shoulders. Had he been in true contest shape he could have challenged for the class win without doubt. Eric was a little more heavily muscled but without the natural shape and flow of Tara and was also a little soft giving Tara the edge due to his aesthetic appeal. Jordan took fifth with another very well structured and balanced physique but needing more size and maturity at this stage with Joshua rounding out the class, also in great shape but needing more maturity to make a harder impact in this class. Both Jordan and Joshua are relatively young however and have time on their side in this respect.

Open Men Middleweight

1 - Gene DaBreo *** Overall Winner ***

The sole middleweight entrant was the incredible first time competitor Gene, who was jaw droppingly good! Massive, thickly muscled and round muscle bellies to die for he looked absolutely incredible. Even though his condition was not bang on this time round, there was no denying the quality of his physique. Despite being unopposed in the class, Gene would have been likely to have beaten anyone put before him today and went on to prove this by taking a decisive win in the Overall a few moments later. If there was such a thing as a rookie of the year award, Gene would be a dead cert to take it. One of the best new talents in years and sure to have a bright future if he pursues it.

Open Men Heavyweight

1 - Luke Dunne

2 - Steven Read

3 - Scott Jezzard

The final bodybuilding class of the day proved to be the closest and toughest, with all three athletes of the very highest level and capable of beating the other. Luke was tall, wide and heavily muscled with great condition, Steven was rock hard and dense with the most detailed physique of the three and Scott was the most pleasing to the eye and massively built himself but not as hard as the other two men. Picking these three apart was a solid test of the judges ability, and in the end they called it impeccably with Luke taking a unanimous win and Steven and Scott landing 2nd and 3rd on a split judges decision which could have gone either way. If all three men take up their finals invitations this will be a re-match worth seeing for sure.

Ladies Bikini, Short

1 - Ally Lantos *** Overall Winner ***

2 - Nicola Osbon

3 - Sylwia Kruczkowska

4 - Chloe Brebner

5 - Leanne Lockwood

6 - Danielle Middlemass

The first of the ladies bikini divisions was taken by debuting Ally, who was a clear winner with ideal levels of muscle and condition for the class and a superb shape and structure. Apart from a few rookie errors with her posing, Ally was pretty much perfect and went on to take the overall and throw herself into the mix as a potential favourite for the finals. A much improved Nicola took runner up spot, also ideally muscled and conditioned but not quite as impressively structured as the winner. She fended off an athletic looking Sylwia in third who was very impressive, towards the upper end of muscularity for the discipline and well presented. She too will make an impact at the finals. Chloe in fourth has huge potential with a great shape and condition, needing just a little more muscle to place higher today. Leanne and Danielle rounded out the class, both looking great but needing to be a little sharper to climb the placings today.

Ladies Bikini, Tall

1 - Beth Bainbridge

2 - Rose Victor

3 - Atefeh Nasrollahi

4 - Raquel Diogo

5 - Jeannie DeGray Birch

Also competed: Nichole Cross and Klaudyna Merda

The tall class saw a razor thin battle for first place between Beth and Rose, with both looking lean, athletic and aesthetically pleasing. It was a true “coin toss” type of decision which could have gone either way with no complaints. Atefeh and Raquel were closely matched for the next two places. Both ladies required significantly more muscle to trouble the first two with Raquel a little too hard for the criteria, leaving Atefeh taking the trophy by a fraction. Jeannie has some very strong body parts with particularly well-muscled quads and calves. Structurally, she is probably better suited to figure and should shoot for this class in the future without doubt. Nichole and Klaudyna rounded out the class, both requiring more development and condition to impact on the placings.

Mens Physique, Short

1 - James Mathews *** Overall Winner ***

2 - Jamie Croucher

3 - Michael Ashley

4 - Kalim Allen Santos

5 - Nick Chapman

Also competed: Joseph Deverell, Nathan Abbott, Paulo De Oliveira, Alex Blakemore and William Jeffs.

The first and strongest of the three physique classes took to the stage next. With pretty much all of the top 5 capable of beating the other in front of any subjective panel of judges it was a battle for sure. James took first place with the best combination of muscle, condition and shape before going on to a dominant win in the overall later on. Jamie was hot on his heels with a very similar physique, perhaps a touch smaller and less visibly detailed due to his heavy tattoos. Third placed Michael was his best yet, as big and cut as he needs to be for this discipline and losing out only on shape and flow, which he could create a better illusion of with smarter posing in future. Kalim had a dream of a physique, but was considerably softer than he needed to be. Once he hardens up he is an overall champ in the making. Nick was vastly improved size wise from his last outing, still stronger from the front and side than the back but with a great shape. He needed to be a little harder today to place higher definitively.

The five men outside the placings all looked great and generally needed more muscle to trouble those ahead of them.

Mens Physique, Medium

1 - Ben Stubbs

2 - Joshua Wingfield

3 - Mohammed Reza Eskandari

4 - Chan Kin Wai

5 - Tam Sharp

Also competed: Thomas Walters and Antonio Alarcon

Ben took a clear win in the medium class, with an unrivalled shape on this day. A touch harder for the finals and he will be well in the mix. Joshua was just as clear a runner up, with good development and a nice shape, also needing to be harder for the finals, but more so than the winner. Mohammed and Chan fought hard for third place with condition once again being the factor that split the two. Tam took fifth in lean and muscular shape but lacked the width in the back and shoulders required to create the ideal shape for this class. Thomas and Antonio missed out on the placings today, both needing more muscle and condition to trouble those ahead of them.

Mens Physique, Tall

1 - Kurtis Jacques

2 - Matt Cox

3 - Francesco Pavone

4 - Federico Lardini

5 - Tom Henstock

Also competed: Paul Cullum, Harry Lamb, Alex Rossoman, James Marshall and Joseph Gordon.

The final class of the day was one of the closest calls of the contest, with Kurtis and Matt tied on points before being split by the head judge. Kurtis was muscular and cut but lacked the shoulder width and narrow waist to give him the ideal mens physique shape, whereas Matt had the greater taper but looked a little shallow side on, perhaps rectifiable by some tweaks to his posing. Again, no complaints could have been had if it went the other way. Francesco and Federico were very evenly matched and again could have placed the other way round quite easily. Both needed more muscle to trouble the top 2, with Tom in fifth needing to be a little harder.

The men outside the top 5 generally needed more muscle to place today, with the exception of Joseph who was an absolute tank with muscle to spare and huge quads, apparent even in shorts! Switch to bodybuilding Joseph and you’ll be surprised at how much damage you do.

And with that ended our third qualifier of the season. Onwards now to the Northern as we get closer to the big one in October!

Overall Winners