Fantastic foray into the women’s Premiership

After last year’s success the women’s team started their first season in the premiership with a super awesome result…

After last year’s success the women’s team started their first season in the premiership with a super awesome result…

After a successful season last year the women’s fencing team started their first season in the premiership. Rather than the usual weekly round of matches we were asked to host a weekend tournament for all 5 teams. Saturday started with the foil competition with our first match being against Bath which we were hoping to be a slightly easier match for us than we were expecting either Oxford or Cambridge to be. The Bath match started well for our foilists with them taking an early lead and then retaining this lead to take a comfortable victory over the Bath team 45-11.

Up next was Cambridge, the only team we had previously fenced before, when they knocked us out of the cup last year before going on to win overall. We could take encouragement from the fact that one of their foilists had now moved on to Bristol whilst our team remained unchanged. The match started with Emily facing Cambridge’s captain, both normally epeeists, having to readjust to fencing each other foil. Unfortunately this was not the ideal start with the first bout going in Cambridge’s favour. But team captain Hannah quickly corrected this taking a 10-0 victory over her opponent. Other than one slightly difficult moment for last years captain Joan, who had unfortunately been unable to train in the run up to the competition (who would have guessed there would be no fencing in Macclesfield) and also struggled slightly in her match against Cambridge’s captain, the match went smoothly and gave the foil team a second win.

After a brief break during which Bath faced Bristol and Oxford fenced Cambridge – a match that went to Oxford who we were yet to face and looked like being our biggest rivals, we were up against Bristol. With one of last years winning Cambridge team now on the Bristol team they gave the foilists their closest match of the day so far, even if this was still a win of 14 points, which left only Oxford to fence. With both our team and the Oxford team having won all their matches and by similar margins this was bound to be a close match. Again Emily was up first against the oppositions captain, and had an excellent start taking the first two points, from this point on the match remained close with only two points in it by the time it came to the final bout between the respective captains. It was an extremely competitive (and at times loud) fight which at the end of the three minute time limit was tied on 43 points all. This was not the outcome either wanted but there was nothing for it but to head home for an early night and hope that the sabre and epee on the following day would give a more conclusive outcome.

At what seemed to certain members of the sabre team as a ridiculously early time for a Sunday morning we were all back at Ethos ready to start the sabre competition. With matches following the same order as the previous day, Bath was our first match of the day and provided us with just the start to the day we were looking for with another victory. The subsequent match against Cambridge was extremely close all the way through with our sabre team taking the eventual victory by only one point. The Bristol match again went our way with sabre ending again with Oxford and again with both teams having won all their previous matches. Knowing that Oxford were our biggest challenge our points were currently tied and they had an extremely strong sabre team there was no pressure at all! Much to Joan and Beth’s embarrassment despite Hannah taking a 17-2 victory over one opponent both struggled against the Oxford team. Despite Hannah not entirely agreeing with the president over all the calls the sabre match went to Oxford 31-45.

After a quick lunch break the epee competition was up. Due to the victories in foil and sabre, the epee team knew that the Bath and Bristol matches were easily ours and the win was just purely for their own pride. Both the Oxford and Cambridge matches on the other hand could still go either way, with Oxford having an overall lead on us of 14 points and us having a lead on Cambridge of 18 points. Needless to say the Bath match was won by our epee team giving us maximum 135 point score to Bath’s 71. Cambridge we knew was going to be difficult, with their captain being an international level epeeist. Our epee team put up a strong opposition to the Cambridge team taking them to their closest match of the day, unfortunately and much to epeeist Emily’s annoyance the match went to Cambridge. Due to such a close epee match Cambridge had not managed to gain the 19 point lead they needed for the victory and the final score was in our favour 128-117.

With the Bristol match looking like being another fairly straight forward win this allowed Joan to swap with reserve epeeist Eleni, giving Eleni a chance to fence and Joan a well deserved breather before the Oxford match, again a win in all three weapons gave us a victory of 135-92. The final match of the day was the Oxford match with them going into it with a 14 point lead there was everything left to play for if we wanted the perfect clean sweep of victories. To their credit our epee team did a much better job against the Oxford epee team than either the foil or sabre teams had managed and ended with a 10 point victory. Unfortunately this was not enough for the win overall and after two days of fencing there was only four points in it with Oxford taking it at 123-119 and the sabre team resolving to make sure this did not happen again on the return match. With three wins out of four this put us in a fantastic 2nd place in the league with with 1st place still within our grasp providing we beat Oxford next time.