Halton out-pointed in national semi-final
THERE will be no second national title for Westlands (Torquay) schoolboy Nathan Halton, at least not this year.
The 14-year old, who trains with Apollo ABC at Barton Downs, had hoped to emulate 2008 having reached last weekend's semi-finals of the ESABA National Schoolboys Championships in Surrey.
Unlike two years ago, however, he failed to make the final after suffering a points defeat to London qualifier Jamie Branch (Repton ABC) in the 70-kilo (Class 3) category.
It wasn't for lack of trying after an aggressive start in which Halton went for broke in the hope of an early finish.
Branch, the son of a double former ABA senior champion of the same name, was alive to the game plan, dealing with the heavy bombardment in his stride before taking charge of sessions two and three to win by 19 points to 11.
"I must take the blame. I should have advised Nathan to stand off and box." said Apollo trainer-coach Barry Walmsley afterwards.
"My information was that the other lad (Branch) wasn't that strong, which was why Nathan went out all guns blazing to begin with.
"He looked as if he was going to do the business at first, but it took a lot out of him stamina-wise.
"In the second and third rounds, Branch just stood off and picked Nathan off.
"It was disappointing, but Nathan should be proud of himself for reaching the last four. When you get to that stage of a national championship, you are only going to meet the best and Branch deserved his place in the final."
The victory extended Branch's unbeaten record to five contests, while Halton suffered only his fourth defeat in 12 starts.
Nathan Mackin (Torquay Community College and Apollo ABC) was also entered in this year's championships, losing on points to Michael Dunphy (Guildford) in the 48-50 kilos pre-quarter finals at Sittingbourne.
"Dunphy also went through last weekend, so at least the two Nathans have gone out to finalists," added Walmsley.