Lancaster’s fencers complete clean sweep in the men’s competitions

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One of the first fixtures of the weekend, the Men’s 2nd Fencing began soon after the teams had made their way over the Penines at the crack of dawn that morning. A newly put together Lancaster 2nds team meant that it was unclear who was going to take some of the first points of Roses 2015.

Although the crowd was small to start with, the tension in the room was palpable. York started strongly taking the first bout 4-1, but as Lancaster’s Captain Matt Haslam stepped up to the piste, it was clear that Lancaster meant business as he reduced the deficit to 8-6 to York. A weapon failure from York meant that Lancaster got a free point and suddenly the game was on, as Lancaster’s Jacques tied the score at 13 all. York began to pull away, eventually creating a 7 point lead at 30-23. Lancaster’s Rif Ideris showed he wasn’t about to give up, as he produced a great 9-4 win in his final bout, reducing the deficit to 39-35. The Foil ended at 45-42 to York, but it was clear this was going to be a closely fought match.

The Sabre began soon after. With a very confident performance from Lancaster’s Broadbent and Douglas, the Red Rose was soon pulling into the lead. With some stylish jumping and flicking of his sword, Douglas left York’s Fraser Griffin standing, winning a bout 5-2 to take the score to 20-6 to Lancaster. In his first university fencing match, Lancaster’s Sritej Kalas superbly supported Broadbent and Douglas confidently winning his bouts and helping the team to a 45-21 win in the Sabre.

The Epee brought Lancaster’s Broadbent the chance to show his multitasking skills as he stepped up to the piste once again. With York giving away yet another point for a failed weapons test, it was already 1-0 to Lancaster and the fencing hadn’t even begun. York’s Captain, Tom Chan, showed his prowess, giving York a lead of 5 points early on. Jonathon Burns kept up the lead with several roars as he got points on Lancaster, York stretching their lead and ending the Epee with a strong lead at 45-36. However, solid performances in the Foil and Epee weren’t enough to counteract Lancaster’s superb Sabre performance, leaving the overall score at 123-11 to Lancaster.

Lancaster’s Captain Matt Haslam said ‘it’s a fantastic feeling to get a good result against what was a very confident York side!’.

Mens 1sts Fencing

As the only Lancaster team in the Premier League, this was a fixture that was widely anticipated. However, after a loss which shocked the club the Wednesday before Roses against Leicester, confidence in the team had been shaken.

Once again, the match started with the Foil, and as had been the case with the 2nds, York took an early lead. With Foil specialist Michael Higgs on their side, York were clearly the stronger team. Despite an impressive performance from Devon Boyd, Higgs extended their lead as the match went into its 3rd bout. This time it was up to Lancaster’s Captain, John Simmons to claim some points for Lancaster. After a great bout in which Simmons scored 11 hits to Roderick Maclean’s two, Lancaster took the lead for the first time at 18-17. York Captain Peter Jordan however, exacted his revenge for his team and York retook a more confident lead at 25-20. From then on York were in command of the weapon, despite Lancaster’s Jennings’ best efforts in his final bout scoring 7 points to 5, York had truly taken the lead winning the weapon 44-30.

Lancaster’s increasing desperation meant that the Epee became increasingly violent with both teams literally running into each other and the frustration was evident from several of the Lancaster side. President Chris Anwyl produced a stunning bout to keep the scores close but York once again were the stronger team, leading 40-25 just before the final bout. Although it looked like there was no way back into the match for Lancaster, the cacophony of cheering from the Lancaster camp continued and it seemed hopes were still high. Anwyl stepped up for the last bout, winning that 7-5, and leaving the Epee at 45-32.

As spectators began to fill the room, it was clear that Lancaster had a lot of work to do. York needed just 18 points out of a possible 45, but with 2 Great Britain Sabre internationals on the Lancaster team, it would be a miracle but not impossible for Lancaster to claim the four points. You could hear a pin drop in the room as the tension was palpable. Simmons and Jennings, with the help of Wai Yu Kwan, needed to keep York at bay. As Jennings made it to 30-10, the cheers from the Lancaster team and supporters got increasingly louder and more raucous as they realised a miracle win could become a reality. Hearts were racing as York reached 16 points. But Jennings finished them off in style with some impressive flicks and York were destroyed with a 45-16 win for Lancaster in the Sabre! Lancaster’s Captain Simmons said ‘we’re thrilled to have overturned such a big deficit, everyone fenced extremely well, especially under the pressure’. Jennings, Simmons and Kwan’s impressive performances throughout the match had held York to a thrilling 110-105 defeat giving Lancaster a breathtaking win.

Claire Starr

SCAN Sports Editor 2014-15

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