All the drama as Bristol triumphed in tense Varsity fencing fixture against UWE

‘Imagine losing to a polytechnic’


Good afternoon and welcome to this year's Varsity fencing match between Bristol and the University of the West of England. The two teams have been preparing rigorously for this annual fixture, with one UoB member confiding that "All I've had to eat today is a packet of crisps".

Set in the splendour of Wills Hall dining hall, this fixture has been conducted in a sportsmanlike atmosphere, with both teams going out afterwards for a meal at the Colston Arms.

Nevertheless the rivalry remains undiminished, with one Bristolian confidently predicting beforehand "We're going to dick on them". I don't know much about fencing (didn't go to public school) but I know all about hating another uni for abstract reasons that defy logic and critical thought.

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The UoB fencing team in all their glory earlier this year

Therefore all that remains to be said is come on Bristol and may the better Russell Group uni win….

13:51– Captain George Burton, described as the "great white shark" and "thirstiest fish in the sea" by his team, has kindly explained fencing jargon for an outsider like myself. There are three rounds: epee, foil and sabre, with 3 fencers in each.

14:00– Captain Burton has gathered the team in a huddle. One lad is supping on a can of Guinness as his words of wisdom speak. A lot of expletives aside, apparently "this is the one that matters" as the team can't "Imagine losing to a polytechnic"

14:05- The first round is already over after a 5-1 victory for Shaan. Fun fact, this guy can allegedly knock someone out with one punch.

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The team huddle pre match

14:07– George has won his match, already. Apparently it's 10-5 on aggregate, the team are in bullish mood.

14:09– Ferg is up. A fresh faced killer, sporting his trademark red laced trainers, he is holding his sword with aplomb. He won.

14:12– "Use your head" rings out from the crowd as Burton loses a point. That'll be a first.

14:13– It's 18:10 as Burton gets to hit anywhere on the lithe UWE fencer's body. He gets to 20 and another victory. The mask comes off and the easy smile returns. Apparently he gets docked a point for pres later in the informal scoring system "for being a tit".

14:15– "Red weather warnings" as Sharnado steps up. "The Beast from the East" unleashes on his opponent with all the force of a global warming phenomena, battering him mercilessly until he is begging for relief. Anxiety issues come out as he thrusts with force. He's "hemorrhaging drinks" apparently but he wins 25-15.

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They're hitting each other a lot

14:19– Ferg is up. "The Fergin" also known as "Spanks" for reasons unknown to me. He wins 5-2 in this mad, crazy world which makes no sense.

14:22– "We were actually taking advice from Google on how to work out algorithms for scoring" so says the self-proclaimed "brown and beautiful" gentlemen in breeches besides me. When in Wills, eh?

14:25– It's worth pointing out the junior team are also whipping their swords out today. They're winning, apparently, 30-19 whilst the big boys on the seniors are cruising to victory 37-21.

14:27– In the "most drinks to distribute" league, apparently there's lots of "fiscal analysis you can do here" according to club fixture Leo Gundle. We're now up 40-21 in the 'official scoring' apparently.

The match is being held in Wills because where else could it be?

14:29– "A second weather warning" for Shaan as he steps up. In the drinks tally he's accrued "a lot of minuses" but the crowd ooo in near orgasmic delight as he hits the hapless opponent with a flair normally reserved for the bedroom (allegedly).

14:31– "Confident but worried about my drinks tally". Captain Burton's verdict at the end of the three leg series. It's 45-27 overall as the weapon ends and a new one is selected. Next up are the foil boys- Eric 'The Moose', Harry and Ibi.

14:35– First up is Harry. Known as 'The Hot One', this veteran fresher lacks long songs but makes up for it in bags of confidence. A GB team fencer, he previously held the number 1 under 20 spot. "Harry's tip isn't very sensitive" says a top fencing source.

14:47– Harry wins 5-1. I ask him for comment on how he feels. "Exhilarated" is his answer as he whips off his sweat drenched mask. Eric is up next- "Use your feet" cries an exasperated Leo Gundle. "Press slow, finish fast". Oi oi.

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The event is part of the annual Varsity series between a uni and a poly

14:51- This is a nail biter. Eight apiece, Eric pulls out the shimmying footwork of Bruce Grobbelaar and goes ahead but his UWE opponent whips out his Zorro-esque tricks and pips it 10-9.

14:54– Ibi strolls up. -1 on the drinks tally for a typical flamboyant bellow. He wins, obviously. Eric follows. The Moose goes on the rampage, battering his smaller opinion with his rapier like jabs and the bludgeon of his efforts.

15:00- In a shock comeback, the Moose gets slaughtered 18-20 as a Blitzkrieg esque assault on his soft spots sees the big beast of Bristol fencing battered and overcome.

15:09– "Harry got more hits but not enough to put us in the lead", the verdict of 'Captain Spanks, Fergin Atlantic'. Ibi is up to save our bacon.

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The team have been training hard all year for this epoch defining clash

15:12– "I feel streamlined and good" says Ibi after a thumping triumph that puts 30-27 in the lead. The perfect rejoinder to those who'd say they'd rather be in UWE than in Wills.

15:17– Eric follows Ibi's lead and wins 35-32. However in the immortal words of Captain Burton, "Harry's been known to choke" #Edinburghmemories. But first Ibi is up to whip out his sword once more. Apparently "it's dodgy" and breaks quickly. Plus ca change.

15:27- Ibi wins 40-39, "It was close but the next one isn't going to be close". He strides off the stage as Prince Harry takes up. "Jumping through the legs if you can" is his team mate's advice as he wins a quick point.

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The team won 'Most improved society' at last year's SU awards

15:33– 'The comeback kid' stuns the crowd with a series of tit for tat points that leaves the round hanging by a thread on 44-44 all. Despite showing a curious penchant for hitting his opponent's shoulder, Harry turns a moonwalk shuffle backwards into a cavalier flourish that hits his opponent right in the back, winning the point and plaudits from spectators.

15:37– The final weapon, "one for Snapchat stories". It's sabre time, described by Dafydd from the Valleys as "the most elegant of all weapons". Emma Ballard, describing herself as "warm" steps up to train with her comprades Captain Burtain and Josh Maxwell, El Presidente of the Society.

15:50– Quicker than a Countdown clock, President Josh has triumphed 5-0. With a game plan described as "They don't know what I'm gonna do if I don't" he exhibited all the exuberance of a man drunk on his own confidence, with an elegant wrist flicking his flailing UWE opponent to death.

15:51- "You coming out tonight Emma?" To these words, Ms Ballard takes to the stage. "Jesus what a nice parry" greets her as she cuts her less feminine UWE opponent to the quick. Behind the beguiling smile is a killer instinct as she harries and harasses her opponent. Unfortunately against UWE's best fencer, she falls narrowly short, 10-7 in a valiant effort.

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The team train four times in an "exhaustive, very professional regime"

15:58– George Burton follows and in a flurry of arrogance and "sexually agressive" parries, wins whilst wearing the kit of Team GB. 15-12 overall, he wins his round. Emma loses but "she did well" according to the joker of the pack Leo Gundle. Josh Maxwell follows and wins with characteristic ease to make it 25-21. Burton does the same to make it 30-29.

16:09– The finest Ballard since J.G., Emma is next up to take home the Varsity crown. She loses 35-32 but as Leo says: "George is up next. I think he will win". With such riverting analysis, how can he be wrong?

16:15– Well shows how much Leo knows. George loses 40-37. Josh Maxwell, your uni needs you.

16:21– What a rally. It goes back and forth, 41-41, 42-42, 44-44, final point, final match, Maxwell blocks, parries, hits- BRISTOL WINS!!!!

Thank God it is over. Now, pub.