Sharon Jones reports on a good weekend for Ed Howlett
Ed Howlett was on sparkling form yesterday as he picked up a gold medal at the Manchester Sword foil team competition at the Manchester Fencing Centre. His fellow fencers in in the whimsically named "Leave it to Doots" team were Alexander Jones of Nottingham University (who also trains at Sheffield Buccaneers and occasionally fences at Fernwood) and Nick Dootson, a former Scotland international.
There were 7 teams in the competition and the format was a poule unique, where each team fences every other team. Each fencer in the team of three fences each fencer in the other team, with fights moving up in increments of 5 points, to 45 in total.
Ed won all of his 18 fights in the six matches. The first match was against Marshall Fencing, with an overall win of 45-26. The highlight for Ed was a 5-1 win against Amy Home, who was the highest placed British cadet women's foilist at both the recent European and World Championships.
A 45-17 victory followed over University College Cork, with a pleasing 5-1 win for Ed over Chris Lennon of Salle Boston in London, who was guesting for the Cork team.
Team Valhalla, comprising Durham University fencers and Lazlo's Anton Fenyk, fell 45-11. Ed beat Fenyk, a former GB cadet, 5-1. Three's a Crowd (fencers from the Manchester Fencing Centre) were vanquished 45-13. The last match before the "final" resulted in a 45-16 win over a team from three different universities entitled "Scratch and Sniff".
The top seeds, "Mallet and Balls" from Salle Holyrood in Edinburgh finally faced our team, the second seeds. The Scottish team had also won all their matches. Ed kicked off with a patient 5-1 win over Charlie Broughton. He came back in for the fourth match with the score at 15-9. A frenetically fought 5-2 win over left hander John Webster (to whom Ed had lost twice in other competitions) took the score to 20-11. Ed next came in for the 8th and penultimate fight against Swiss fencer Alex Arbelet. Ed had lost to him on the two previous occasions on which they'd met. This was going to be tough, as the Salle Holyrood team were now ahead 35-32. There would be little to play with in the final fight if the differential remained the same. Ed fenced beautifully to take 8 points to Arbelet's 3, leaving Alex Jones to fence the final period against Charlie Broughton with the score at 40-38. Midway through, Broughton got two hits in quick succession and at 43-42 it was anyone's game. However, Alex kept his nerve and got the last two hits without reply, the winner resulting from a powerful attack.