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Fencing brings home the beacon… and a plate!

Fergus Rees-Gildea

Fencing ClubOn Saturday the 6th of December 4 members of the Sussex fencing club woke early and took the train up to Victoria to take part in the “London Team Trophy 2012” and went on to Win the Plate. Unlike most fencing competitions the London team trophy was a tag team tournament made up of three man teams relying on the skill of the group as a whole rather than the individual. The tournament that was 90% composed of fencing groups from London, whose talent pool is so vast they rival the rest of the entire country in both skill and numbers. Sussex University certainly stood apart representing not only their university but the South East region. The Sussex team composed of George Burwood, assistant coach at the club, Fergus Rees, president of the club and Ramona Roller, the social secretary and key member of the Women’s team. The team entered the Sabre tournament, a category made up of 6 other teams {Editor’s note: The Sabre is a variation of the traditional fencing sword. It usually results in a faster paced match, as you can score points by hitting your opponent with the edge of the blade, as well as the traditional method of making contact with the opponent using the point of the blade – thanks to Wikipedia.} The team lost their opening 2 pool games 39-45 against Reading University and 43-45 against United College London. The teams were then split into two groups; the upper half competed for the medals and the lower half competed for the Plate Trophy.
Sussex Fencing clinched victory in the Plate with a comfortable 45-34 win against Imperial University. United London Universities (ULU), the hosts of the tournament, went on to win the Gold medal. As well as the Sussex University team winning the Plate, Céline Boest, Captain of the Sussex Women’s Team, unable to form a team of her own, joined two players from London Imperial University. She and her teammates managed to gain a place in the quarter-finals in Foil after two overwhelming victories in the pooling rounds and eventually getting knocked out after losing 43-45 {Editor’s note: The foil is the traditional fencing blade}. It is also worth noting that Sussex University graduate and alumnus, Pete Cronbach, now fencing for Southampton, managed to fight his way into the finals for épée, only to lose 45-35. {Editor’s Note: In épée, the blade is v-shaped and unlike traditional fencing, you can make contact and aim for every part of the human anatomy, rather than just the chest area – carnage. I ought to finally answer those pleas for donations to Wikipedia} Nonetheless, he takes home a silver medal, which Sussex should still be proud of given his many years of training at the University played a vital role in his success and development. All in all, it was a good weekend for the University of Sussex, whose teams competed well in all three sword events, with silverware in the shape of the Plate won in the Sabre event to show for it.

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