2008 Slough Open Report

For those of you who may be interested in fencing the Slough open this year, here is last year’s report, from February 2008.

Men’s Foil

Saxon had an excellent turn out in the Men’s foil, but some of the fencers found the step up from club fencing a large one. The field of 129 was cut to 104 after the pools.

Grant Smith, Wyle Eisa, Tom Girn and Andrew Ashmore all failed to secure any wins in their pools, all missing the cut, although Wyle earned praise from other fencers in his pools for his aggression and attitude and Andrew, with Burnley optimism was smug that his 120th was ahead of three Saxon fencers who shared 127th.

With one win (against Tom) , Vangarian Mark Dearing missed the cut by the skin of his teeth to take 115th. Edz Maldoom perhaps due to thicker dental skin, just made the cut, but hisprecarious qualification pitted him against the current world veterans silver medalist in the incomplete 128. His day ended there, but his opponent spoke well of his potential.

David Standen fought well in his pool, taking 3 wins from 6 and earning him a mid-table ranking. His first DE however was disrupted by both fencers receiving yellow cards for kit violations, then David earning a red card (i.e. a penalty hit) for a corps-a-corps. This disturbed David’s rhythm and although he fought hard, he was eliminated.

Paul Lowen had a good pool, winning all but one of his bouts, just missing out on a bye through to the last 64. His last 128 bout, against a young fencer, was maybe closer than expected, but in the end he pulled away to earn his place in the ranking points. His opponent in the L64 was a tall,
slim fencer from Northern Ireland who fenced very well, mixing up his tactics and changing lines frequently. Paul fought with his customary tenacity, but in the end was comfortably defeated. None the less his good morning results gave him 38th place.

Fred Thomas had the best pool of any of the Saxon fencers, winning all his bouts and earning himself a bye through to the L64 by dint of his top 20 ranking. The bye, however turned out to be somewhat of a poisoned chalice, as he had a gap of nearly 3 hours between the end of his poules and his first DE. His opponent, was sharp after having fought a tough DE whilst Fred was cold and took a while to get into his stride, at one point finding himself 9-1 down. He recovered well to give the score respectability, but the gap was always going to be too big. His 34th was the best of the tournament by a Saxon man, but he will be disappointed not to have made the last 32.

Men’s Epee.

With four Saxons in the Epee, we were able to put pay to a calumny propagated by some of the Northampton fencers that Saxon Fencing was a figment of Grant’s imagination

Lewis Bassett-Butt, visibly nervous in his first competition, none the less put in a good showing in his pool. Although he didn’t record any wins and missed the cut, he made several hits and benefitted tremendously from the day.

Walid Haddad recorded two wins in the pool, securing him a place in the DE but ensuring he had a tough opponent. He gave good account of himself, but went out in 90th place.

Similarly Kin-Ming Looi’s two wins gave him a difficult L128, against Wing Commander George Liston, one of the top epeeists in the country. Ming stayed in touch early in the bout, being only 5-4 down at the end of the first period, until Liston’s class showed through and he pulled away to a 15-6 win, giving Ming 83rd.

Grant Smith fenced very well in his pool, beating some good fencers to record 4 wins, 2 losses and just missing out on a bye in 41st place, giving him what should have been a comfortable L128 DE. Then he lost 15-12 to a small boy. A VERY small boy. He left deeply disappointed as his hard work that morning had set him up for a good result, only to be thrown away in careless fencing in a match he should have won. His 65th evidenced he was the highest ranked fencer to go out at that stage, rubbing salt in the wounds.

Men’s Sabre

With a field of 61 there was no cut in the Men’s Sabre so Adrian Medhurst with his one win and Simon Whitaker with two were both guaranteed a DE match.

Adrian’s match was a see-saw affair. It was neck and neck up to about to 6-6, then he found himself 13-7 down. Unfortunately his (self-styled) “Gallant comeback” was too late and he went down 15-11

Simon lost out 15-5 to an allegedly excellent parry-reposter (parry-reposte? in Sabre?). According to an anonymous expert eyewitness (as well as armourer and amateur model) he also “didn’t have the decency to hang his hand out for Simon to stop cut him – the rotter!”. By my
calculation his 46th put him tantalisingly 1 place short of national ranking points.

Women’s Foil

Dawn Townsend was the only female Saxon in the competition and showed the men the way, being to only Saxon to make the last 32. Unfortunately as your correspondent had gone home in a sulk by this stage, details are sketchy, but the results page records a very creditable 26th.

Conclusions

The turnout by Saxon fencers was fantastic and although the results were mixed it was worthwhile for all. Those in their first tournament should not be dispirited with their results and will have learned a huge amount. Grant showed his great team spirit by contriving to come absolutely last in the foil to make his team members feel better.

Fred and Paul in the Foil, Grant in the Epee and Adrian in the Sabre will maybe be a little disappointed not to have gone a round further than they did but all the Saxons went out showing great fight. Dawn’s result, in a competition of this class, was excellent.

As a club we perhaps learned some lessons as well. although we have no intention of moving from our avowed purpose of being a “participation” club, we have been discussing a few measures to better prepare our fencers for competition, such as instigating some instruction on rules, encouraging fencers to referee bouts on club nights (especially at foil) and playing
more 5 point bouts as fought in competitive pools.

Well done to all who participated and I hope this will be the first of many in which we put in a large contingent, and the start of a successful competitive career for the debutantes.

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