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First ever Gold for Arthur

Sharon Jones reports on a successful weekend for Fernwood Sword Club

It was a very pleasing weekend for the Club with some great results and good effort by less experienced fencers.

Two of our fencers were in action at the East Midlands U12 beginners and intermediates mixed foil in Clifton. This was Arthur Eakin's second ever competition last year and he finished in last place, so was hoping to make more of  a splash this year - and so he did. This was Alexander Forsyth's first competition and he learnt a great deal from it. He picked up 18 hits over two poule rounds and kept his opponent, tall 4th seed Max Thorp of Foiled Again in Derby, down to a lead of just 1-3 at the first break in his L16 DE, before falling behind to a 2-10 loss. Meanwhile, Arthur won all his poule matches over two rounds, the only fencer to do so. Arthur's personal highlight was beating Charles Miles-Hayler of Radcliffe Sword 5-0 - Charles had knocked out Arthur in the competition last year.

Arthur had a bye in L16 and faced Nancy Penn of Chilwell Blades, who was a very feisty fencer. Arthur won that match 10-4 and then went on to beat Alex Wood of Radcliffe Sword 10-6. This meant a final against Finlay Maclachlan of Radcliffe Sword, who started his fencing at Fernwood and had a year's more experience of competing than Arthur. However, we had a game plan and Arthur executed it perfectly, going into the first break with a commanding lead. Finlay then picked up a few more points but Arthur kept his cool and finished with a 10-6 win, for his first gold medal.

Meanwhile, the GB U23 foil Championships were going on at the Leon Paul Centre in London. Ed came 3rd last year, but with a larger entry of 56, almost all the competitive U20s and a number of formidable U23s, a repeat looked like a very tough ask. He beat Scottish U23 Jack Douglas 5-2, junior Anton Fenyk of Lazlos in Durham 5-4, very strong cadet Jean-Baptiste Baigneres of Camden 5-1, junior Will Yun-Farmbrough of London's Salle Boston 5-2 and Adam Murawski of the Fencing School in London 5-1. His only loss was to U23 Josh Burn of Cocks Moors Woods, 3-5. This left Ed as 8th seed. He had a bye in L64 and faced Sebastian Monnet of Salle Boston in L32. Monnet had knocked out Alex Jones, a GB junior at Nottingham University and one of Ed's sparring partners, in L64. Ed took command but at 13-8 up started thinking of the win rather than the process. Monnet caught up and Ed squeaked a 15-14 victory. His L16 opponent was Rob Williams, also of  Salle Boston, who had narrowly beaten Ed in Newcastle in the autumn. Ed wasn't having that again and completed a confident 15-7 win. His winning streak against Salle Boston fencers finished in L8 against the top seed, Connor Head. Amongst other things, Ed's A Level driven sharply reduced fitness regime told against him and Head won out 15-4. Ed finished 7th which, in this strongly competitive field, was a very good result indeed.

Regular guest fencer Serena Patel was fencing in the women's U23 Championships. She beat Bthany Ellis of Wrekin Swords, Becci Curwen of Millfield and Gabriella Mann of Cambridge Sword 5-1 and Ceri Linton of Durham University 5-4, whilst losing 2-5 to Hannah Smyth of Fencers Club London and 3-5 to Ayesha Fihosy of Salle Boston, leaving her as equal 7th seed. After a bye in L32, Serena fell behind in her L16 fight against Becci Curwen, but fought back to make it equal at 10-10. Each fencer took points in turn and Serena won through with a 15-14 scoreline. She faced Salle Holyrood's Mhairi Mclaughlin in L8, but couldn't prevail against the competition's eventual winner, with an 8-15 loss, finishing in an excellent 6th place.

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