University of Leeds 135 – 74 Aberdeen
- Uni dominant across foil, sabre and epee disciplines
- Jordan Au and Josh Stuart deliver sterling performances
LEEDS men’s fencing team got their cup campaign off to a terrific start on Wednesday, with a truly dominant performance against Aberdeen 2s. As always the teams used a round- robin system, by which each swordsman would play each of the opposing swordsmen in a race to 45 points.
The first of the three different disciplines (sabre, foil and epee respectively) got underway, with Leeds’ sabre athletes limbering up to get the day’s competition off to a strong start. Alex Coleman (who participated well with each sword) set the winning tone of the day, breaking into a 5 – 3 lead. This being sabre, the clash was characteristically physical, with fencers advancing with aggression. This led to some truly formidable displays of athleticism and skill from both sides, and consequently the score was a dangerously close 9 – 10 to Aberdeen after the second round. Luckily, Jordan Au managed to deliver an impressively dominant performance, which seemed to kick-start the Gryphons’ collective engine into gear. As a result, the team surged away to a more than respectable 45 – 27 victory in the sabre.
The foil was the next class to be undertaken, and the Leeds men were once again able to step up to the plate. It was by no means a walkover however, as much like in the sabre contest, Aberdeen competed intensely from the first en-garde. As a result, the score was level at 11-11 midway through Alex Bolton’s first encounter of the day. However, the Leeds foil fencer displayed a steely cool-headedness under pressure and (much like Au in the sabre class) was able to get the team back on track, to a 15-11 lead. Unfortunately, the foil (the most restrictive of all classes in its rules) was plagued by numerous stoppages, many of which can be attributed to the somewhat lacklustre equipment that Aberdeen had at their disposal. These technical malfunctions and the expected stoppages which arose from off-target hits, meant that the foil class progressed slowly. However, team captain Josh Stuart managed to maintain his team’s morale (in part due to his ‘lead-by-example’ performance) and consequently, his side roared away to a staggering 45-14 victory.
Though victory was totally assured by this point, the Gryphons did not relent when it came to the epee class, and displayed an impressively ruthless streak that saw them through to the end. Coleman in particular looked impressive in this final stage of the competition. The Gryphon showed a dangerous riposte, which Aberdeen struggled to cope with and thusly, the away team effectively bled points. The final class also allowed for other fencers such as David Dunbar and Josh Sanbrook to show off their skills and ultimately, the victory was a satisfying team-effort, with Stuart suitably closing out the day’s events and achieving a solid 45-33 victory.
Meanwhile, the women’s fencing team also enjoyed a staggering victory over Edinburgh, winning with a score of 135-65. The women were sensational across the foil, sabre and epee, and their Scottish opponents were simply unable to compete.
Both fencing teams can go into the next rounds of the cup with massive amounts of confidence. If the Gryphons fencing teams can continue this dominant form across the board in the weeks to come, then there will be much to celebrate when the year comes to a close.
Featured image: The Gryphon