The first fencing premiership BUCS tournament was held in Oxford two week ends ago, where the home crew as well as Cambridge, UCL, Bristol and the mighty Imperial crossed swords once again.
For two days, the valiant teams competed to take lead in the race for the coveted league title. Saturday started with an early 9am match against Bristol. Winning the weapon’s order toss, we decided to start with our foilists who were so pumped they had begun their warm-up the night before. Despite a tricky opposition, the team pulled off a promising 45-42 win. Sabre was up next, and we decided to sharpen the game. A ruthless and almost perfect performance by Chris “8pak” Lawrence lead to a 45-15 sweep, and left no time for the opposition to realise that their match was getting out of hand. This inspired the epee to finish off the match, scoring 41 points and giving the newly named “Pimperials” a comfortable win, 131-102.
Next on the list was the talented Cambridge team, an old rival that has been known to give Imperial fencers a hard time… Foilists were put up first and trailed by a few hits against a strong side. However as the match progressed, Imperial fencer “Super-Soren” Pfizer got increasingly angry, leaving no chances for a terrified Cambridge team. A beautiful finish by Glen “The Beast” Ostacchini turned the tables round and ended the match in a 44-42 win. Sabre was up next and felt pressured to perform after the textbook foil win. But the sabreurs were too proud to be outdone by another weapon and slashed their way through the opposite side to fetch a brutal 45-18 win. This provided a precious lead against Cambridge’s tricky Epee team. The epeeists did not take this as a sign to rest though, and battled to the finish getting an impressive 35 hits. This totalled to a 124-105 for Pimperials, showing the opposition who was really dominating the tournament. Not this year, Cambridge2far.
After a long tiring day of winning, the Imperial fencers gathered their forces to fight the Blues for Saturday’s last match. To the keen Imperial foilists’ disappointment, the weapon’s order toss was lost so the sabreurs reluctantly warmed up to start the match. Just kidding, they absolutely could not wait to kick some butt. The trio sharpened their swords and slew the Oxford sabreurs 45-15 with a star indicator by Didier “Old-School” Nolhmann. As Oxford’s strengths lying in Foil and Epee, the next match promised to be challenging. However Pimperial foilists kept it together, and with some swift attacks from Clyde “The Beard” Fare, reached a safe 36 hits against their on-form adversaries. The tension was at its peak as Epee started the last leg, needing 25 hits to win against the Blues. A difficult start showed that it was not going to be an easy finish. Wanna-be epeeists Camille Van Hoffelen and “M-Iron Man” used their sabre speed to confuse the opponents, pushing the Oxford team’s pride a little further into the ground with Maiyuran’s toe shattering foot flick. In the second half of the match however, Oxford changed tactics and played time. They were trying to avoid being hit, betting that their anchor would be able to catch it all up against our second-finisher. Little did they know that Jonathan “Ice-Croft” Ashcroft was the coolest man alive, and slowly took apart the top Oxford epeeist’s game in a thrilling penultimate bout. This gave the leverage for Harry “The Flick” Gulliver to finish off the match 45-25, winning overall by one point. Or as we like to call it, “one-ing” against the Blues.
After a well deserved lie-in on Sunday, Pimperials got ready for the last match of the tournament against an impressive, newly promoted UCL team. Sabre was set to start. The on-form UCL side fenced really well, but the sabre trio kept focus and won a comfortable 45-25. Epee was granted the arrival of resident star Jamie “The Hulk” Simpson direct from Bratislava U20 World Cup. His intimidating shouts and signature Green Mask spurred the team forwards. Harry “The Flick” Gulliver proceeded to destroy the opposition with his flawless technique in a 12 hit run, leading to a huge 38 points against an international standard UCL side. This left foil with a tense finishing task. A combative UCL side grinded away hits and kept up the suspense down to the last few seconds. Despite the building tension, a solid performance from “Super-Soren” and “Is it a sabreur, is it a foilist, is it an epeeist, no, it’s M-Iron Man” carried the Imperial team 2 points from the win in the penultimate bout. This paved the way for Glen “The Beast” Ostacchinni and his imperturbable concentration to shine at the tensest of moments and take the win by scoring 4 consecutive parries over the UCL finisher. Pimperial won the last match of the weekend 118-114, coming back home with a clean sheet and hunger for many more.
This week end proved to be a massive team effort, where the 10 Imperial men came together and showed how strong and talented they were. The other universities of the premiership have now been warned. Imperial is the team to fear for this year’s BUCS title.
Camille Van Hoffelen
Mens 1st Captain