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NPA South West 2016

NPA South West Championships 2016

Report and photography by Michael Phillips & Fivos Averkiou

The 10th year of the NPA South West Championships saw the competition return to The Corn Exchange in Exeter for the second year. The Corn Exchange has been the home of the NABBA West Britain for a number of years, and is a fine venue, no doubt about that. Held on Sunday July 10th, this was the second of the NPA’s five qualifiers of 2016, for the NPA British Finals to be held in Brighton on Saturday October 1st.

Main Show Sponsors were BS-X BODYSHOX NUTRITION (based in Bristol), and UDO’S CHOICE who supplied supplements to all class winners and runner-ups, and many thanks to Adam Cox and Tony Barnes at Bodyshox and Udo's respectively for their great support!

Truth is, the NPA South West has never been better sponsored than it was this year, and additional thanks go to all the class sponsors who were:

Matt Bembridge – The Gym Professor; Julia Hubbard, the current NPA British Trained Figure Champion; Sonny Topham PT; Ian and Michelle Humprey’s Oxygen Gym, Penzance; Emma Corry – Vegan Warrior PT; Sean Lewis’ Sowton MoT’s, Exeter; and trophies by Fox Mouldings Ltd of Thirsk.

27 competitors on the day lined up, with some top class physiques among them, here’s the results and scores, with a few comments from yours truly.

Juniors Under 21’s

1 – Ashley Healey – 3 (points)

2 – Jahanzeb Shafiq – 6

100% first places from the judges for Ashley; a very complete and proportionate physique – wide back, superb abs, good level of muscle separation throughout his physique, and a stand out front stance. Posed very well, and did an abdominal retraction / vacuum shot as well, a rarity on bodybuilding stages these days! Jahanzeb also won the best under 18 award, and at 17 years of age, he has a structure all young lads would like – big, tall, tons of muscle-growing potential, but needs more detail, needs to pose better, and needs to hammer the legs!

Masters Over 40’s

1 – Ian Stevenson – 3

2 – Darren Stephens – 6

3 – Darrell James – 9

13 of the 15 available first places went to Ian, who successfully defended his NPA South West title! Ian’s heavy lifting background has given him a very impressive amount of muscle, the thickness and size of his upper body too much for his competitors; yes, he could have been sharper, especially on the legs, but saying that, this was a comprehensive win. Darren has never looked better, he was in superb condition, and his natural shape stands him out in round 1, he simply needs more muscle thickness to challenge competitors like Ian. Darrell, in third, was in good shape, with superb legs, but still, like Darren, he needs more upper body muscle thickness. All 3 posed very well in their individual posing routines.

Lightweights Under 70kg

1 – Scott Fruin – 3

2 – Jimmy Pattinson – 6

What a battle this was! Only two in the class, both very, very good yet contrasting physiques. Scott the taller, weighing in at 68.1kg, longer muscled, in very close to his best ever shape; very complete and balanced, wide back, good leg separation, washboard abs, he was about at 95% of the razor shape crisp condition he was in when he won the SW Overall in 2013. Jimmy the shorter, weighing 66.6kg, more compact, a Herculean physique with tons of muscle, huge legs, and a just a couple of lbs lighter could well have seen him challenge Scott even more. As it was, this very well supported clash of two top Lightweights saw Scott take the title with 11 of the 15 available first places, and let’s hope they both go for the NPA Britain Lightweight crown in October!

Middleweights Under 78kg

1 – Scott Chaplin

2 – Peter Roche

Fair to say Scott has never looked as good as this before – he was carved from granite, with deep, muscular cuts all over his upper body, he was incredible, and took the class comfortably. Still needs to work on his stances and his back shots though, and has to show more of the legs; the muscle and shape are there, but the legs weren’t as sharp as the upper body. Scott’s round 3 posing went down a storm, it was obvious that this was a personal statement as he posed, it was emotion charged, the audience knew it, and responded accordingly! The wide shoulders to slim waist taper of Peter in the runner-up spot helped him stand out in round 1, very good legs too, another couple of weeks dieting / conditioning were needed though to challenge Scott, who clearly had peaked on the day of the contest!

Trained Figure

1 – Emma Corry

Speaking to Emma a few days before the contest, I told her she would be the only girl entering the contest – she was as baffled as I was regarding this especially as there were 23 girls entered at the NPA Yorkshire just 7 weeks earlier, and indeed, 6 girls had entered the Trained Figure class at last year’s NPA SW! So Emma knew she would be on her own; she wanted to earn her invite to the NPA Britain, fair to say she did! After being talked through her quarter turns and 7 compulsory comparison poses, Emma then posed superbly to ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince, displaying the shape, lines, and level of trained figure muscle and condition all want to see in the NPA Trained Figure class!

Masters Over 50’s

1 – Massimo Poli – 3

2 – Paul Thorpe – 8

3 – Richard Davies – 12 (then 19)

4 – Anwar Ghaith – 12 (then 20)

5 – Filippo Artusa – 18

6 – Dave Cotton – 21

A class dominated by Massimo, taking 14 of the 15 available first places. Full muscled, great separation, in top muscular condition, with great healthy looking skin texture, and a simply magnificent, sublime posing routine, a great win for Massimo on his NPA debut. The imposing size, shape, and structure of Paul saw him take second. Richard was third, hard as nails, could well have been different if he had been a bit more fuller muscled, and with a better tan, which was running, and when that happens it can obscure the cuts! Anwar, good shape and balance, got fourth after intially tying with Richard. Filippo got fifth, he was in good shape, and was clearly disappointed, his music had a problem with it so affected his routine, and Fil is a great poser; Dave in sixth has the upper body to place higher, but no improvements in his legs, hence his sixth place. A very good class of Over 50 competitors! These results have been amended after Simon Woodham-Owen, who placed third on the day, was disqualified after failing a polygraph at the 2016 NPA Britain Finals.


1 – Matt Smith – 3

2 – Joshua Pearce – 6

3 – Adam Atkin – 9

4 – Lee Clarke – 12

5 – Kristian Cumberbatch – 14

6 – Jamie Rosser – 18

7 – Dan Smith – 20

8 – Richard Barth – 21

9 – Alex Catton, Luke Foster – 21

As soon as the 10 competitors for the Novice class walked out and stood in the front stance, in the words of my fellow judge Richard Walker, there was a ‘stand out winner’ and he was correct. In fact, Matt stood out so much that Richard didn’t even think he should be compared! Wide shoulders, tapered upper body shape, with awesome legs especially the quads of which the outer sweep was incredible. Matt was first all the way in his first ever contest! Runner-up Josh looked superb; back, delts, and abs excellent, very good legs and calves too. Adam got third, very good back and legs, awful tan though which didn’t help his condition, which was excellent, but if the tan is poor it can hide your cuts, this was the case with quite a few competitors in this year’s NPA South West. Lee was a clear fourth, very impressive and muscular upper body, showing top class abdominal and lower back separation, Lee has progressed very well from his debut last year, still needs more legs though, which he knows! Kristian was a clear fifth, wide back, very good legs, his condition was what let him down, had he been sharper he could well have placed higher. The same thing has to be said for Jamie in sixth. Tons of muscle, exceptional arm development, and overall a very thick and balanced physique, but too heavy on the day to challenge higher. Dan in seventh, biggest competitor on the day at 101.9kg, loads of muscle, very good potential, but must be sharper to challenge. All with 21 points, Richard, Alex, and Luke all looked unprepared for the contest. Richard actually got some sixth places, good shape, very good abs and calves, no tan; Alex, good arms, but more mass needed; Luke surprised me, another competitor with good arm development, but looked better last year, he wasn’t ready for this contest, and when you compete in really good shape one year, and come back the following year, you must improve, there are no excuses, especially at the Novice level.

A very good Novice class!

Men’s Overall

1 – MATT SMITH – 4

2 – Scott Fruin – 5

3 – Scott Chaplin – 9

4 – Massimo Poli – 14

5 – Ian Stevenson – 15

6 – Ashley Healey – 17

Ashley got one fourth from the judges, Ian and Massimo two fourths each, and the combination of other placings saw them place sixth, fifth, and fourth respectively. Scott Chaplin got every third place, deservedly so; the battle for top spot was obvious to all there imho – it was Matt Smith vs Scott Fruin. It went to the wire…sat on the judging table talking the competitors through their comparisons, the first two sheets I got were from Richard and Rob, and I saw it was 1-1; next I got the sheets from Roy and Charlie, face down, and I was still studying the physiques of Scott and Matt. I didn’t know at that time that it was then 2-2, I only looked at the sheets of Roy and Charlie after I had made my own mind up. It really could have gone either way. Matt was bigger, had breath-taking shape, with those legs; Scott showed more detail, was sharper, and knows how to hit every comparison shot very well – I chose Matt, and that made it 3-2 in the Overall to Matt Smith. Speaking to both afterwards, Matt seemed genuinely overwhelmed by it all, and his family were so happy! Scott was disappointed, but philosophical, I think; I told him that while he looked very good, he was a fraction off that incredible shape he showed when he took the Overall in 2013. I’m nit picking, but at this level, that is what happens, that is what can determine an Overall title. A superb Overall contest, and very well done to Matt Smith. He was compared to Steve Reeves by Rob Feesey, high praise indeed; I would say more Bob Paris though, and with that shape and structure Matt can do very well indeed!

Best Presentation – Massimo Poli

Best First-timer – Matt Smith

Judges: Richard Walker, Robert Feesey, Charlie McKee, Michael Phillips, Roy Jones.

Polygrapher: Andrew Armstrong of Forensic Vetting Ltd.

An afterword or two…A week before the contest, we had 2 entries in the Heavyweight class; then I got a message from one of them withdrawing from the contest, as he had just placed third in a UKBFF contest, qualified for the Arnold Classic, and felt he had to withdraw as if he didn't, he would be banned by the UKBFF for daring to compete in the NPA! Arghh...I said ages ago that I will never go to another UKBFF contest, and this is why, because of the way they treat competitors. How they get the competitor numbers they do is beyond me! The other lad in the Heavies actually was still eligible for the Novices, and made the move over to that class. Also, we had problems with the lights at the contest. Last year the lighting was excellent, this year, despite the staff at the venue telling myself and Fivos that the lights were the same, they simply weren’t. Three main lights were out, this affected the stage and photos. With paying just under £1k up front for the venue hire, there was no way I was going to get any sort of refund regarding this matter, even though I asked, on principle! Of course, this was pointed out on Facebook by a few people happy to criticise the NPA any chance they get, but there’s no denying the lighting was poor. Fivos and myself tried to get it sorted without success, and I apologise to all there for this, and hope you still enjoyed the contest.

For the second consecutive year the show was not very well attended, and made a loss, which is a big shame, and it is for these reasons that the contest will not be returning to Exeter. But worry ye not, all you NPA supporters down in South West England…the show will be back in 2017 at a different venue, to be announced in due course; and all being well, the competition will be promoted by someone in the South West area who approached me on the day with the intention of taking on the competition as a promoter for the NPA. I believe that is what is needed, as it’s not easy promoting any show when you don’t actually live in the area. The NPA Yorkshire held a few weeks back was so well supported with 600+ people attending, and with 71 competitors, it was just brilliant, and that is what I am sure we would all love to see in the South West area, at the 2017 NPA South West Championships, so watch this space for more news on next year’s show in the near future.

Many thanks to all who were there supporting the 2016 NPA South West.

Shows can only survive with your support! So make sure you are there in 2017!!

Michael Phillips

Secretary - NPA

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