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As central hall filled up with spectators for Fight Night on Friday evening, many would be forgiven for thinking it was the only big event to take place. However, for all the exhilaration and tension each fight produced, it would have been little more exciting than the riveting battle taking place in the Maths department.
After the two victories earlier in the day from Lancaster’s Men’s Fencing team there was hope that the female team could clinch the last batch of points.
The game started as it finished. A victory for York’s Hennenburg in the first Epee bout put the home side 5-3 up, and immediately highlighted one of the key figures in the fixture. Her victory over Lancaster’s Caselli gave York a lead which lasted until the third bout, when Hills won 3-2 over York’s Forsythe to even up the standings at 12-12.
Hennenberg came back once more within another formidable performance to regain York’s lead, but this was narrowed and then swiftly overtaken. Lancaster captain, and SCAN Sports Editor, Claire Starr brought down the deficit before her team-mate Hills overturned her opponents lead, now putting Lancaster four points in front. Victories for Lancaster in their next, and last, two epee bouts gave the team a six point lead heading into heading into sabre.
Even to a novice it was obvious that Sabre required a different tact than epee. As I was informed by a member of the fencing society during the matched it was more slashy, whilst Epee was jabby, in some seriously dumbed down explanation. York seemed to benefit from this change, taking the first two bouts, before Stocker once more opened Lancaster’s lead.
However Lancaster fought back with a series of improved performances. By the end of the Sabre round, the lead had been solidified, with Lancaster now eight points ahead. The opening round of Foil however revealed the York teams ability in this part of the tie. Caselli lost 5-0 to the extraordinary Hennenberg, which is perhaps unsurprising as a quick Google search reveals that Hennenburg once competed for Germany U-23s at a European level.
Starr was not yet willing to hand over the lead, winning her next bout 10-2 to extend the red lead to 11 points. Whilst this was a strong lead, York’s ability in Foil was paramount. After a series of good results for York the two Universities were left even with two bouts left. Despite Liet’s consistently strong performances for York, Caselli put in a great performance to end the bout 4-4 leaving the score 121 each with Hennenberg and Starr left to battle out the decider.
Ultimately, Hennenburg was a class above anyone else in the room. Despite Starr’s tireless efforts, the Lancaster captain and star player was unable stop the German from giving York a 127-123 win. The unfortunate result did not however take away from the immense efforts from the Lancaster team. Starr told SCAN, “I’m so proud of the team’s performance, we pulled out our best performance of the season and everyone fought really hard for every point! Being quite an inexperienced team against a far more experienced team, we really gave them a run for their money. It was a great match to end the year with!”