Blades battle on to great success

Club president Henry Watson writes about the Fencing Club's exploits with the sabre, épée and foil at BUCS Nationals

Henry Watson
27th February 2017
The Fencing team left Sheffield with a bronze medal and good memories. Image: Newcastle University Fencing Club

The BUCS Individual Championships was the most successful for the fencing club in recent memory, with 18 individuals competing in three weapons over three days of competition.

Épée: big pointy sword, hit anywhere on the body

Sabre: shiny jackets and slashy sword

Foil: thin pointy sword, shiny torso and an unfathomable set of rules known as ‘priority’

Friday: Men’s Épée and Women’s Sabre

The day started off well for Newcastle fencers, with everyone getting through the pool stage with relative ease (though I swear mine was skewed!).

Unfortunately, the day stopped at the first round of direction eliminations (DEs) for Dan Nicholson, Alex Ip, Melie Hide and myself, with the first three losing valiantly in close, well-contested fights and me having my arse handed to me.

Molly Jowsey and Sammy Chan managed to get through to the last 32, but where also stopped in their quest for glory, leaving Sam Ridley to carry the Newcastle standard. Despite his best efforts at intimidating his opponent, Sam could not quite get round the size of his opponent’s quads and was also stopped in his pursuit for victory.

Saturday: Men’s Sabre and Women’s Foil

Day two started in much the same vein as day one, with all Newcastle fencers making it through pools and avoiding the dreaded cut. The first round of DEs saw the expulsion of Matt Dugher, Melie Hide, Ellie Irwin and Craig Turner (largely due to shear bewilderment at the ‘rules’).

Through years of practising their art, Navneet Kandhari, Molly and Ginn Artesi made it through to the next round. This is where the foil and sabre dream (if you can call it that) stopped for Molly and Nav. With Molly achieving another last 32.

Ginn soldiered, with all remnants of the hangover flushed out of his system and left on the piste. His soldiering led him to the next round and then the next, reaching the lofty heights of the last 8 (or quarter finals) achieving the highest place at for Newcastle at fencing since 2013.

Sunday: Men’s Foil and Women’s Épée

The final day of BUCS began with the same regimented fun as the other two days, with pools. Here the day ended in heartbreak for Andrea Flores, not managing to escape the cut. The other fencers solemnly carried on vowing to avenge the loss of their comrade.

Max Sharp and Veera Laitinen then were bested in the next round of their debut BUCS, with the rest carrying on through to the next challenge.

Jack Scott, Wise Lim, Navneet Kandhari and myself were faced with actual, real-life foil-ists and were subsequently defeated, leaving Molly and Ellie tocontinue.  And continue they did, with Ellie reaching the last 32 before bowing out.

3rd for Molly Jowsey in Women’s Épée

This left Molly in contention. Upon reaching the last 16 and passing through with relative ease, Molly reached the last 8 and decided to give the crowd a proper work-over with the match reaching a nail-biting, next-hit-wins scenario, with Molly getting the last hit in!

She then progressed to the last four and was guaranteed a medal. Not pleased with the previous reaction she got from the crowd, Molly was in the lead by two points going into the last ten seconds and the win looked all but sealed.

Her opponent managed to score two more hits, bringing the score level. This led to the second next-hit-wins scenario of the afternoon. A double was scored, someone tore their hair out, then Molly’s opponent craftily got a last hit in, prematurely ending Molly’s pursuit for the title.

Congratulations to Molly Jowsey for claiming third place in the Women’s Épée in her final BUCS Individual Championship!

I hope this gave an insight into the Fencing Club, and if you would like to try fencing please contact the club or visit our NUSU or Facebook page to find out when and where we hold our beginner sessions.

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