Club fencers attended the event with fairly low expectations as most of our fencers were either young in their age-group or fairly inexperienced. But they exceeded expectations with some really good results.
On the Saturday the Girls Under 16 and Girls Under 12 events took place. Starting first was Amelia McCormack had a very hard poule with all her opponents having fenced for far longer than her and she ended up losing all her first round fights, however with 3 running close. In her direct elimination match she drew Ellen Bradley who had been fencing for over four times as long as Amelia and Ellen won 15-9. With Amelia still in the Under 16 age-group next year, I am sure she will place far higher than this year’s 47th place.
The lunchtime start saw Grace Wyer-Roberts, Rachael Lever and Maisie McCormack compete in the Girls Under 12 event. The first round went extremely well for Grace who after a first fight loss to Jacqueline Oien, who was one of the top seeds, Grace won the rest of her fights to win 4 out of 5 fights and be 6th seed going into the knock out rounds. Rachael also fought well in a strong poule, winning 4 out of 6 fights to be seeded 9th with Maisie, after a slow start, winning 2 fights out of 5 to be seeded 21st. In the first knock out round Maisie beat number 12 seed Alex Stewart from Scotland 10-7 to reach the last 16, Rachael beat North-West’s Hannah Heap 10-1 and Grace defeated another North-West fencer, Caitlin Lockwood 10-5.
In the top 16 fight offs Maisie and Grace were unable to beat their opponents losing 10-5 and 10-7 respectively to Taylor Ashby and eventual winner Charlotte Slater from Northern Ireland. Rachael continued her good day with a great 10-8 win over South-West’s Becci Curwen to reach the quarter finals. The quarter-finals saw Rachael matched off against the number 1 seed and event favourite, Ellie Parmar; who was one of Chris Howser’s fencers when he coached in Surrey. Following a very exciting first period Rachael was only down 7-5, however Ellie’s superior experience showed as she defeated Rachael 10-5. Rachael’s final placing of 7th was the highest of any girl in the event with another year left in this age-group, so a very impressive result. With Grace in 9th and Maisie 16th, this was a great haul of results for this event.
Sunday saw Christy Schulman and Tabby Pattison in the Under 14 Girls fencing, along with Oliver Lemmon in the Under 12 Boys and Josh Myers in the Under 18 Boys. Having only started fencing in September, Christy was really only attending this event to gain experience, having surprised everyone qualifying for the event by taking 2nd at the East Midlands qualifier, she started the event well and was 2 fights up and 3 down in the first round to take 30th seed and then drew 35th seed Olivia Nicholl from the West Midlands in the last 64. The far more experienced Nicholl won through to place Christie 35th. Tabby qualified to this year’s final via her 3rd place in the under 12 event in 2012. In round 1 Tabby lost her first match to eventual champion, Tia Simms Lymn, however fenced well to win all but 1 of her other 4 matches to take 22nd seed. In the Last 64 Tabby beat Eve Megaw 15-6 before losing to London’s Larissa De Liedekerke to place 24th. Though not as spectacular as last year’s result, being in the bottom of the age-group makes a huge difference at this age and next year will again be her chance to perform to her potential.
Ollie Lemmon only started fencing in September and again did well to even qualify for the Under 12 boys BYC finals through the East Midlands qualifier, like Christie he out-performed expectations, in the first round, winning 3 out of 5 matches and beating fencers who had fenced 2 or 3 times as long as he has and only losing the two matches by a single point. That placed him as 15th seed and gave him a bye into the last 64, however a two hour gap before facing 18th seed broke his concentration and was defeated by Scotland’s Robbie Brown to place 21st out of a field of 41.
Josh Myers was our only Under 18 entrant and started with a 4 win, 2 loss (one 5-4 loss to eventual champion, Tommy Curren-Jones) to take 9th Seed into the DE. With a bye through the last 64 and a close win 15-14 against 24th seed William Parr in the last 32, Josh met 8th seed Thomas Hoffman and was defeated to be placed 10th, which considering Josh has only fenced a few years compared to many of his opponents 8 or 10 is really impressive and shows potential for the future in Under 20 and senior events.
Monday saw Theo Edwards and Dax Beresford-Wylie representing the club. A 5-6 and 4-6 win-loss record for Theo and Dax respectively saw them take 8th and 20th seed into the DE. In the Last 64 Dax lost narrowly 15-14 to 45th seed Tete Essien to place 33rd, with Theo having a bye to the last 32 with his high seeding. The draw was then not kind with Theo drawing eventual champion Ollie Steed, however Theo only lost 15-9 which is a step up from past matches against Ollie and ended up 18th. Disappointing as almost any other fencer around Ollie’s seeding would have given Theo a great chance to progress, however that is fencing for you.
As an overall picture the club’s fencers have done remarkably well considering that 2 years ago the club did not actually even exist. To get 3 top 10 finishes along with additional top 20 spots shows the club is starting to develop strength in depth, which is the long term goal for the club.
Well done to all that qualified, which shows you are some of the best fencers in the region, let alone being competitive at National level fencing which I felt everyone showed at the weekend. Yu all did the club very proud.