Leeds put down a marker for the rest of the season as they maintained their 100% record in the mens fencing this season, beating Manchester Uni 131-111 on Wednesday.
They faced off against Manchester 2’s and made sure that they got off to the strongest possible start by choosing to start with the sabre event, which is considered their strongest discipline. Their superiority over Manchester was clear to see as Alex Coleman, James Foreshaw and Jordan Au helped Leeds to a 15-4 lead after the first round of bouts, through a combination of lightning-fast footwork and clinical shots.
Although Leeds were still dominant, the away team were gaining a foothold in the contest – which was briefly interrupted when one the Mancunian sabreurs broke his blade during a contest. Rather than fight on with what now resembled a toothpick, Leeds generously lent him a spare sabre, but at the cost of a yellow card. Towards the back of the round, Leeds stretched their advantage further, with venomous play from all 3 men resulting in a 45-25 lead after one weapon.
It was now the turn of the foilists to take up the mantle and after a quick fix of the scoring apparatus by the old familiar ducktape, the contest was back underway. Coleman returned, but found the going tough as neither he nor the others were specialists at the discipline. Nevertheless, they stepped up to the plate with Coleman producing the performance of the round, scoring ten hits to one of his opponents.
Leeds looked set to pull off a remarkable triumph with the weapon until Manchester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to keep their faint hopes of an overall win alive. The last discipline, the episte, saw Leeds wrap up their triumph. Josh Stuart kept Leeds in the driving seat, with Harry Jamson and Rob Ward maintaining that advantage. Manchester could now not catch Leeds’ total score, meaning the contest was effectively over. Manchester soon gained renewed impetus and took the lead in the final weapon, but Stuart’s experience stood him in good stead, and turned around the outcome in spectacular fashion.
It finished 131-111, and Stuart mentioned that after losing to Durham last season, Uni are favourites to finish top of the league this time around. After Wednesdays performance and the trouncing of UCLAN the previous week, they can rightly be confident of making it 3 wins on the bounce when they visit Bangor in 2 weeks time.
Image courtesy of Alice Greenfield