Imperial’s men’s 2nd in nervy victory.
Imperial’s men’s 2nd fencing team won a nervy victory over UCL’s 2nd team – touted as their main competition for this season – as they once again begin a campaign for promotion.
The match got off to a controversial start with the captains unable to agree upon which weapon to fence first. UCL were keen to get under way with epee, to allow one of their fencers to attend afternoon lectures while Imperial were waiting upon the arrival of key epeeist Sjoerd Miedema who had found himself stranded on a bus stuck in traffic and were willing to fence any other weapon first. In these situations the regulations stipulate that the order of weapons should be drawn randomly; Imperial received a lucky break as first Sabre, then Epee and finally Foil were drawn out of a mask.
Charlie Hennings, having been displaced from the first team spot he occupied last year by an influx of talented freshers, made his experience count in the opening match in which he effortlessly dispatched his opponent 5 – 2. Team captain Maurice Berk subsequently found himself on the very wrong end of a 4 – 8 loss and Imperial continued to drop points as stand-in Chris Namih lost his first match 3 – 5. Matters continued to worsen as Maurice failed to redeem himself in his second match, going down 3 – 5 before Charlie showed the team how it’s done by romping to a 10 – 2 victory. Chris went close with a 5 – 6 loss in his second match to leave the score 30 – 28 in Imperial’s favor before the final round of sabre matches. Maurice finally found his stride with a 5 – 3 victory, quickly followed by Chris’s 5 – 4 win. Charlie kept his cool right to the end, brushing aside his final opponent 5 – 2 and leaving Imperial 45 – 37 in the lead going in to epee.
Another former first teamer, Sjoerd Miedema, was nominated anchor for epee and despite reportedly suffering from tuberculosis he validated the decision with a fine 5 – 3 win in his opening match. Fresher Chris Jackson also produced an excellent debut display to win his first match 5 – 2 before Tim Harford-Cross made it 3 out of 3 with a 5 – 3 victory. Chris could only manage a 5 – 5 draw in his second match and Sjoerd fared no better, going down to a 5 – 8 defeat, a sure sign of the disease ravaging his body. Tim got Imperial back to winning ways with a 5 – 4 win but the elation was short lived as UCL surged to the finish in the final three matches, Chris, Tim and Sjoerd losing 4 – 10, 3 – 5 and 3 – 5 respectively. This left UCL with a close fought victory in epee, final scores for that weapon standing at 40 – 45 and leaving Imperial with a slender 3 point lead with just foil to play for.
Club president Chris Namih, clearly back in his element after his rare foray in to sabre, stormed to a 5 – 1 victory in the opening foil match. Nathan “Badger” Harmston experienced a mauling by UCL’s captain, limping his way to a 5 – 8 defeat and setting the nerves racing. Fortunately 2nd team veteran Alex Bishop restored faith with a solid 5 – 2 win before Badger (barely) made amends, winning his second match 5 – 4. Chris continued to run rampant, demolishing his second opponent 5 – 1 before it was Alex’s turn to find himself on the end of a brutal battering courtesy of UCL’s captain, eventually finding his way to a 5 – 11 defeat. Badger, clearly feeling the effects of physical exertion, made way for substitute and omnipresent 2nd team fixture Nathan Blundell who made a strong case for a place in the starting lineup next match with a 5 – 0 win. Alex continued to struggle against his final opponent, losing 5 – 9 and leaving the scores 125 – 117 in Imperial’s favor before the final match. With a potential 10 points up for grabs for UCL, Chris needed to ensure he made the most of his years of fencing experience to prevent the UCL captain from almost singlehandedly winning them the match. Never one to baulk in such times of crisis, Chris overcome his opponent 5 – 3 in a fine display that finally settled Imperial’s nerves, final score standing at 130 – 120. Imperial now face a three week wait before hosting Portsmouth in their next match up.