Female Blades cut above

The afternoon’s fencing was kicked off by the Women’s 3rds against the old enemy in the épée. In the remote, scenic location of Unit 3 in Benfield Business Park, captain Arran Mackay conclusively won the 9th match 5-1 to reach a score of 45-36.

In the following round, Mackay battled well in a tense deciding match, but lost 4-6, as Northumbria pipped Newcastle 44-45 in the foil, even though both Lia Thamrin and Sonja Felder ripped through one opponent in under half the allotted time.

To win, all Newcastle had to do was to reach 38 in the final weapon, the sabre. Newcastle dominated throughout, winning all but one of the nine matches, with Ana Pîrnău wrapping up the contest in the eighth match.

“all Newcastle had to do was to reach 38 in the final weapon, the sabre”

The overall score of 135-113 was representative of the dominant performance by this talented side, three of which (Sonja Felder, Irene de Best and Saravi Ratwatte) only took up the sport in October. The girls have won 4 out of 4 so far this year and look to be favourites for promotion at the end of the year.

Unfortunately the men couldn’t replicate the women’s electric form. However they battled hard, with President Nav Kandhari drawing the seventh match 5-5, with his dynamic ‘bobbing’ approach.

In the sabre, the lads did themselves more justice. Frenchman Olivier Tournié initially struggled but recovered well to contribute to the score with some nifty bladework.

However the stand-out performer was Ginn Artesi. The sabreur finished with an indicator of +9, and finished the fifth match as a 6-0 winner. His style relies on his electric footwork, aided by his Theo Walcott Mercurial boots.

Despite this success, the lads again couldn’t compete with the Durham team, this time in the épée. Once again, Nav Kandhari was the stand-out fencer. Having only started competing in the sport since he came to university, el Presidente has had a meteoric rise to the top.

“His style relies on his electric footwork, aided by his Theo Walcott Mercurial boots”

Both Matt Bannon and Waleed Aldadah battled hard, and were unfortunate not to reap more from their efforts. The 45-28 scoreline flattered the opposition, but overall it’s probably fair to say that Durham were the better side, and deserved the win.

Whilst the men struggled, the women demonstrated a masterclass in fencing. Having only brought four competitors, the team had to demonstrate versatility. Molly Jowsey and Maddie Ivanova participated in all three weapons.

After getting off to a slow start in the épée, Ellie Ivanova led the resurgence scoring seven in the third match. Jowsey wrapped up the first weapon by fencing well to give Newcastle a 44-41 lead. The girls extended their lead greatly, with Maddie Ivanova winning all three of her matches, and Ellie Ivanova finishing it off with a 5-0 whitewash in the final match.

For the sabre Ellie Irwin replaced Ellie Ivanova. The switch proved to work in Newcastle’s favour as the game was clinched 45-42 by an exceptional performance from Maddie Ivanova in the final match, winning 8-2. The overall score of 134-116 was what the girls’ deserved.

“The girls extended their lead greatly, with Maddie Ivanova winning all three of her matches, and Ellie Ivanova finishing it off with a 5-0 whitewash in the final match”

The win consolidates Newcastle’s second place in the Premier Division, as main competitors Durham lost ground to St Andrews. Although it’s a tough ask to catch Edinburgh at this stage, the team will look to continually improve throughout the season and hopefully challenge for the Fencing Championship that kicks off in February.

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