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Lancaster may have lost in the first round of the Mens Trophy, but will count themselves unlucky after putting up a brave fight against a well organised Nottingham side. Impressive displays from Sebastian Wysk, Ben Nevitt and Chan Chun On epitomised Lancaster’sperformance, as they won the foil round and were only defeated in the closing stages of thefinal epee round.
From the start, this match had all the makings of a cup tie. Wysk was first up for Lancaster’s foil team and won his first round 5-2, with some strong hits. The next Lancaster foil player,Nevitt, coasted through his first round with some incisive sword control and pin point accuracy as Lancaster sailed into a 10-3 lead. What Wysk provided in power, and Nevitt provided in control, Chan Chun On provided in speed. He was too quick for his opponent and showed a fantastic change of pace and clever movement to win by 5 hits to 1 and put Lancaster 15-4 up.
As the game progressed, it became a scrappier affair. Nottingham got themselves right back in the game in the next round. Nevitt did not demonstrate the same accuracy as his first round, making a lot of off target hits. This, coupled with vastly improved hitting fromNottingham, reduced the deficit to 20-12. Wysk’s round was a fast and furious encounter, theLancaster player scoring some chest hits, commanding territorial advantage and staying focussed throughout to edge Lancaster further ahead at 25-15.
There was the occasional disagreement between the home referee and Nottingham’s players,and vice versa, with sparks flying on and off the court. Chan’s second round was in disappointing contrast to his first, as Nottingham again clawed their way back into the matchat 27-24. Nevitt re-established his authority in the game in his next bout through some quickchest hits which stretched Lancaster’s lead to 35-28. Controversy never seemed to leave this match; Chan’s final foil round created disagreement between Wysk and a Nottingham official over decisions called against the Lancaster player. In spite of this, Chan resisted his feisty opponent with a series of clever attacks and Lancaster were within sight of winning the round at 40-34. Wysk went all out for the victory, with a few initial invalid target hits from theLancaster player amended by incisive hitting when it mattered to win the bout 45-37.
The sabre bout was a test of Lancaster’s resolve. It did not get off to the brightest of starts for the home side, with Josh Livesley convincingly beaten 5-2. Team captain Sean Macur was next, and as he himself admitted, the sabre sword is not his strongpoint; his position as makeshift showed, as Nottingham stormed ahead 10-4. The downfall for Lancaster in this round stemmed from the fact that the players were unfamiliar with the role or inexperienced,as illustrated when Tom Bowey-Strange came on for his first competitive game. In spite of this, he put in the performance of a seasoned pro, but could not stop Nottingham re-asserting their lead 15-7.
Macur’s form picked up in his next round, only marginally losing 5-4, leaving the score at 20-11 and fairly evenly poised at 57-56 to Nottingham overall. The next round saw an outstanding comeback from Lancaster in which they retook the lead. With both players biding their time,Livesley eventually got the better of his opponent via quick thinking and sharp hittingand although Nottingham reached 25 first, the scoreline of 25-23 meant that Lancaster had edged infront at 68-62. After the away side got back into the game and created a lead of 40-30,Livesley could not repeat the heroics of his last round and Nottingham won the bout comprehensively 45-30.
The final epee bout promised to be a lively spectacle, and lived up to its promise. The first round with Matt Amlot was frantic, if a little physical; one standout moment was a thrilling jump from both players, in which Nottingham won the first hit. The game’s physicalitycontinued when Macur came up against Nottingham’s star player Dan Wood. Both players went at an exhilarating speed, and Wood came out on top to put Nottingham 10-6 ahead.Wysk returned to the court and continued to persevere, keeping his opponent pinned back and hitting at crucial moments. However, they seemed all too willing to use Wysk’s over exertion against him and caught him off guard to win the round 15-10.
With the scores at 97-80, Lancaster had lost hold of the game, and it seemed that Nottinghamwould progress through to the next round. Wysk went some way towards saving face whenhe played Dan Wood midway through the bout and managed to reduce Nottingham’slead from 26-15 to 29-24, 111-99 overall. But this did little to prevent the inevitable, and with Macur and Amlot seen off by a combination of speed and acute accuracy from Nottingham, Lancaster lost 127-118.