- Emma Kurtis deemed Woman of the Match
- Gryphons defeat Brimingham 132 – 99
A remarkable season for LUU Fencing was continued on Wednesday, and is set to culminate in a final promotion play-off against Warrick. Having been nominated for team of the year, and finishing top of their league, the fencers already have a lot to be proud of. However, an impressively clinical performance against Birmingham in the first of their two play-offs demonstrated that they will not be satisfied until they are promoted.
The Epeé was the first class of the day, and it initially proved to be a cagey encounter, with each fencer appearing wary of the other. The action was cautious, with neither making any rash lunges. However, once each team had a chance to figure out their opponents, the action became discernibly more lively. The likes of Emma Kurtis (who was outstanding all day) and Captain Ava Martinez-Lambert managed to secure a healthy lead in the Epeé, with some aggressive lunges and expertly-timed parries. With the score at 40-36, it was up to Shannon Sweeney to close out the round, which she did with consummate authority – this ensured a respectable victory of 45-39.
The Foil would prove crucial now, as a comfortable victory in this class would potentially ensure Leeds’ success. The on-form Kurtis, began the round with a 5-0 victory over her opponent, which acted as a clear statement of intent. Miranda Carins followed, and despite a tough start (against what was undeniably Birmingham’s strongest fencer) she managed to grow in confidence and flourish as the Foil class progressed. Consequently, Leeds won the Foil in rapid time and attained a scoreline of 45 – 15, which although impressive, meant that they still had ten points to score in the Sabre.
Leeds’ Sabre specialist Madeline Ee was tasked with getting the round off to a good start, and she most certainly delivered. Her aggressive attacking style both put her opponent on the back-foot and at one point took her off her own feet, when a particularly savage lunge resulted in Ee toppling onto the floor. However, she soon got right back up, and managed to secure a 5-1 victory in the first round. Quite fittingly, it was up to Kurtis to secure the win, and the stand-out fencer did not disappoint – as she gained that tantalising tenth point that ended the contest. Although the match had undoubtedly been won, the Gryphons did not rest on their laurels. Instead, they displayed a reassuring tenacity that bodes well for the upcoming play-off. The contest became rather heated towards the end, with controversy surrounding the referee’s interpretation of what constituted a fair hit. Consequently, Leeds did lose the Sabre overall, with a score of 42-45, but crucially this was not because of any complacency or poor fencing.
Next week’s play-off is sure to be an exhilarating affair and one which is a must-see for anyone who supports Leeds’ Gryphons, and is being played right here in Leeds. After the season that the women’s Fencing team have enjoyed, it seems hard to imagine any team putting a stop to their victorious run.