Imperial Girls make us proud

An injury-stricken team make the crowd shout with excitement at the finals BUCS Champs…

Having scraped a win against Cambridge in the quarter-finals the women’s fencing team were heading to Sheffield for the BUCS championships. In the semi-finals the team were facing Birmingham. It was decided to start the match with epee, knowing that Birmingham had a strong epee team, this was not going to be easy. The Imperial epee team consisting of team captain Emily Bottle, Hannah Bryars and Joan Chang, did a fantastic job of keeping the match close throughout and limited what could have been a significantly worse loss to 2 hits. The same team then continued for the foil, this time though the odds looked to be more in their favour. Things started well with the foil team taking a quick lead to 10-0. After this the problems started, a few unfortunate yellow cards, with the Birmingham team starting to catch up, then Joan fell and twisted her ankle. This meant Gabrielle De Brouwer, who was sitting out as she was recovering from a knee injury gained earlier in the season, had to go on for Joan’s final bout. Despite everything the foil team maintained their lead to win the foil. Finally in the sabre Hannah was joined by Clare Harding and Beth Jelfs. The sabre proved to be a much more straightforward win for the sabre team, who took the lead from first bout and maintained it throughout. With a final score of 128-93 the Imperial team were through to the final.

With Oxford having won their semi-final, the final was looked set to be a close match. The teams had already faced each other twice in the premiership league matches and had a win a piece. Starting this time with the foil, the injured Joan sat out with Gabrielle replacing her. Unfortunately with two extremely strong foilists (including one due to go to the world championships in a few weeks) in the Oxford team, the foil team lost the 30-45. The sabre followed, with an unchanged team from the semi-final. Again the sabre went without any problems winning 45-27. This gave a lead of 3 hits going into the epee. During the break between matches, Clare and Beth had tried their hand at epee. Emily adjudicated that Clare was the least bad of the two but that if Joan could in any way move she was still better than both. Joan made it through her first bout before she was forced to withdraw and Clare had to substitute for her, making a valiant attempt in her first ever epee match. The match remained close throughout, with everyone on the edge of their seats. Unfortunately despite everyone’s best efforts the Oxford team took the epee 45-40 giving them an overall lead of two hits 117-115. Despite the frustration of having come so close in the final, this was a fantastic end to the season which saw the Imperial women’s team lose to only one team throughout the year and gain the silver medals in the team championship. All that was left was to head to the BUCS party to see if Emily could win the chance to dance with Austin Healey.