Saturday, May 25Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

#BearsDay- Fencing to Victory

“Come home with your shield or upon it” tweeted President Mike Smith at the Men’s first fencing team on the first #BearsDay of the year. If we had shields, we would have returned with them, in style.

The match saw our Men’s 1st team play the Sussex 2nds team, resulting in what I’d call a pretty impressive start to the year. We started out with Epée, featuring myself, President Mike Smith, and our STARS fresher Elliot Grover.

There was a flurry of blades and 50 minutes later we had secured a 45-23 lead- a rare score in a Epée, as a weapon regarded as very balanced in scoring. We can owe our lead in part to the fact that I was particularly on form and only conceded 4 points, which we can’t expect every match. Next came foil, an all-freshers team so talented that they have kicked me off it since last year. Calum Bodels, Northern Irish national fencer, Elliot Grover from the previous Epée match and Oliver Waddington, international Foilist competitor. I can’t really complain about being kicked off the team, since once they had finished with the opposition the score stood at 45-14, another phenomenal points difference which put the total score at 90-37.

It was now impossible for our opponents to win, taking a lot of pressure off myself, Mike Smith and our new Sabreur, Jon Owen. What followed was an incredibly close series of duels, with Sussex pulling ahead of us for the first time in any weapon and us clutching the score back, the final bout starting at 40-38 to RHUL. At this point I was up against their best Sabreur-first to 45 wins. This guy really knew his way around a sabre, and blows were traded to 44-44, at which point I decided I wanted to reach the maximum score of 135 and pulled out the big guns. Trying to ignore our foil team making absurd gestures at me from the viewing platform, I went for it, and a clash of steel and a swing of the blade and the game was won, a hard earned 135-81 to the Men’s team.

Stay tuned for news on the Women’s team and the Men’s seconds throughout coming weeks!