Fencing
En Garde! Lancaster’s Fencing Team Slashes the Competition After Crossing Swords with York

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After stomping victories for the men’s 1st and 2nd teams and a nail-biting match for the women’s 1st, Lancaster’s fencing teams have slashed and thrust their way to six points.

Lancastrians and Yorkists of the fifteenth century fought each other with halberds and poleaxes, but in the twenty-first century, they’ve had to settle for foils, sabres, and épées. Rather than being weapons of medieval carnage, these blades are instruments of pure skill and dramatic tension, as the showstopping fencing matches for Roses 2022 made clear.

With Lancaster and York each fielding 1st and 2nd teams for men and women, the title was Lancaster’s to lose after winning their 2019 Roses bout 365-350. But once again Lancaster managed to prove that roses are indeed red, going on to claim victory with a total score of 497 to York’s 485.

The Lancaster men’s 1st team handily delivered a 126-109 win against York, adding four points towards the Roses tally. This marked a turnaround from 2019 Roses, which saw a victory for the York men’s 1st.

The Lancaster men’s 1st captain, Gavriel Athanasiou, was very happy with his team’s performance and was particularly enthused by the awesome crowd support. Man of the match was awarded to Miguel Nóbrega with a +7 indicator.

Not to be outdone, the Lancaster men’s 2nd team equalled this with a 17-point win of their own, securing 129 points to York’s 112.

Sadly, in a turn of events, York women’s 2nd team triumphed with 133 points to Lancaster’s 112. Finn Hansen, captain of the Lancaster women’s 2nd, said that their team “fenced amazingly well in our match against York, with extremely close scores in épée and sabre.” Hansen pointed out that much of their team was new to fencing, only taking up the sport this year. A feat that makes their skilful performance “especially impressive.”

The most climactic match was between the women’s 1st teams. With the current York women’s 1st team at the top of the BUCS league, this was always going to be an event to watch. It started with the foil, where “Anastasia Yim did a fantastic job with anchoring,” said Lancaster team captain Inés Sánchez Valer. But York ultimately won the foil and the sabre by one point each.

However, this match’s épée saw Lancaster’s Anastasiia Lytvyniuk perform an epic comeback, bringing the score back from 30-44 to 44-45. “It was insane,” one fencer commented, a feat astounding enough to earn Lytvyniuk woman of the match, also with a +7 indicator.

But like with the sabre, this match’s épée saw York win by one point, earning 131 points to Lancaster’s 130 and adding four points to York’s Roses tally.

Fencing as a whole is an intense sport, but the thrill of these couple of days has been the best in terms of having this fencing community as family!

Hannah Trinidad Dueñas
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