Skipper Paul Lowen took second place in the South East Regional Epee Championships in Canterbury and Adrian Medhurst took third in the Sabre. It was a fine return for the club and an excellent turn out, Saxon putting out seven fencers in total.
In the Men’s epee, Saxon fielded three fencers. Lewis Bassett-Butt, after a frenzied search for someone to lend him some fencing sock to allow him compete, won two of his six pool matches to earn himself a place in the first elimination round – and once there, he used his full reach against a smaller opponent to comfortably take his first ever elimination win in competition. Lewis, a decent chap, expressed some remorse at having bullied the smaller, younger fencer, but Grant who as meany of you remember has bitter experiences of battling diminutive youths, reassured him that it was far better than the alternative. Lewis went out honourably in the last 16, losing 15-10 to a strong opponent, and coincidentally the lender of his socks.
More experienced fencers, Paul Lowen and Grant Smith both had strong pools, winning six and four of their bouts respectively. Both earned byes to the last 16 and both won their bouts easily, but found themselves drawn against each other in the quarter final finals.
With a semi-final place guaranteed for one Saxon fencer, the two fencers fought their first to 15 bout. Paul, showing his habitual “south-paw” awkwardness took a large early lead and it looked like it would be a humiliating stuffing for the younger epeeist. Grant then started mixing up his tactics, fleching, fienting and putting in one lovely foot hit and pulled back to 13-13, before Lowen kept his head to take the final two points.
Lowen is a specialist with the foil, the lighter thrusting weapon with a limited target area and subtly different tactics. He is a British veteran champion and member of the Great Britain Veteran team in the discipline.
Although less practiced with an epee, he still won a semi final which the Ealing Gazette described as “tenaciously fought”, but “torturous” may have been more apt against another fencer of similar vintage. He ground out the win however to earn his final place against reigning World Veteran Epee Champion, Ralph Johnson.
Paul fought with his usual grit and skill, but he lacked Johnson’s technique and tactical acumen at epee, and the Ealing man went down 15-5 to take the runner-up slot.
In the women’s epee, in a field of 12, Catherine De Graca had a strong pool, winning three from five, but then had a disappointing bout in the first elimination round, going down to a heavy defeat.
In the men’s sabre, the elegant young Simon Whitaker and the less elegant, less young Adrian Medhurst, were amongst the 21 fencers.Both had strong pools and after byes through the first round, won their next bouts with panache.
Once again this meant that two Saxons faced each other in a quarter-final. After close early exchanges, Simon pulled away with his trademark cuts to the wrist, but Adrian dug deep and with a late surge, passed Simon to earn his semi-final place with a series of fast attacks.
Adrian was outclassed in his semi-final, going out to a superior fencer, but can be delighted with his shared third place.