Novice Fencers Bloom at Roses

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York’s Women’s Fencing and Men’s Seconds teams emerged victorious in matches this Saturday and Sunday – but not without remarkable resistance from the largely inexperienced Lancastrian teams. Each team fought three rounds, covering the three weapons – sabre, foil, and épée – on a stage provided by York to showcase fencing. The resulting display drew impressive crowds and vocal support for every point.
The women’s match began with York’s star fencer Louise Highton taking an early lead in épée. Captain Bethan Jones closed the gap with an aggressive second bout, but was unable to recover the round for Lancaster. Novice competitor Claire Starr maintained an extraordinarily strong defence in her bouts, but was overpowered by Highton’s onslaught. Despite strong bouts from Lucy Salmon, Jones, and Starr, York held the lead for a 45-20 win.
Highton led again in sabre, with another strong start for York. However, the second bout saw stunning attacks from Lancaster’s Kate Chandler reversing the score from York’s 5-1 to a 10-9 Lancaster lead. However, Jones and Ellie Silver were unable to hold the lead against York’s aggression. Chandler closed the round on a 45-30 win for York.
Foil saw impressively strong displays of footwork and defence from novice fencers Ellica Xu and Nadiah Nasir, who forced York to fight hard for every point. However, the experienced York team pushed their attacks towards a steady victory. An exhausted Bethan Jones finished the round with another 45-11 York victory.
Overall, Lancaster managed 61 points against York’s 135 – a respectable display for an inexperienced team against powerful opponents. Notably, Louise Highton was later declared York’s outstanding player of the entire tournament, showing the strength Lancaster faced.
Similarly, the men’s seconds match on Sunday saw the newly-formed Lancaster B-team narrowly defeated by York’s greater experience. Opening on foil, York held a steady lead despite formidable displays from Lancaster’s novices. Fantastic aggression from Chris Jacques, and Eugene Kuznyetsov’s fast defensive footwork, both made each point a struggle for York. However, York held their lead for a 45-12 victory.
Sabre was solidly held by Lancaster, in a striking reversal. Harry Scholefield opened triumphantly with rapid ripostes complimenting his quick footwork, which he continued throughout. Lancaster anchor Wai Yu Kwan showed fantastic speed and bladework in his three victorious bouts. Even novice George Broadbent went undefeated, impressively beating York’s strongest sabreur 5-0 in an energetic bout. Lancaster cruised to a 45-20 victory, leading to a tense third round decider.
In épée, York held their narrow lead against Lancaster’s determined assault. Broadbent repeated his powerful aggression and speed in three further bouts, remarkable after his frenetic sabre round. Most impressive, however, was first-time anchor David Parry, who narrowed Lancaster’s trailing score in a magnificent debut. Ultimately, a 45-36 win for York’s épéeists gave them a slender overall victory of 110-93.
Despite York’s victories, the strong displays from Lancaster’s novices showed great promise, with captains Bethan Jones and Eirik Haugsbak Hunt expressing immense pride in the teams’ performances against such difficult opponents. With a win for Lancaster’s Men’s First team, the Red Rose has a promising

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