UEA Fencing Team Win BUCS Midland Trophy!
President of the UEA Fencing Club, Will Ormondroyd, Captain Tom Jolin, and experienced first year Adam Ahmet talk about their season and recent success in claiming the BUCS Midland title to Charlie Harris.
Hey guys, I know very little about fencing, can you give us a little insight into the sport?
Adam: Fencing has three swords: foil, epee and sabre. Each are slightly different and when played have different target areas. When you fence there are 3 teams (one for each sword) each composed of 3 fencers. You fence all three of the opposing team’s fencers. Each bout is timed to 3 minutes, and you start by trying to get 5 points per match, with a potential 45 points per individual team. If neither fencer wins the potential points, the remaining points are still available to gain. For example, if the first bout finishes 3-1, in the next match either person can take the score to 10, as long as it is in the given 3 minutes. We have a ‘5 point pint system’. If you get 5 points in a bout when the team are losing, you sir have earned a pint!
That’s great, I’ve heard you had a great season. Can you describe what happened leading up to the FINAL?
Tom: The beginning of the year started off unstable with two University's dropping out of our league. However, this year has been a great year for men's fencing. We have continued to improve, and the UEA team has never been stronger.
Adam: Although I only joined this year, the club has done very well, and we've beaten everyone in our league except for Cambridge. We did actually beat them in two out of three weapons, but fencing as a team is on a points system. Unfortunately we lost in one badly enough that we lost overall. Generally this year we've done very well.
Will: The run-up to the cup final wasn't too stressful for the team! As we came runners-up last year we fell on the side of the draw that put us straight into the semi-finals. We were drawn against Cambridge which would have been a very tough match. Thirty minutes before the match, they forfeited!
Still, that sounds like a very successful season. How was the Finals-Day against Staffordshire itself for you?
Tom: The whole team were feeling positive on the run up to the match. It was very tense as it was level throughout. Obviously everyone was very excited once we won and we celebrated as a team that night.
Will: The final was a great day. We all knew we were in for a difficult match having only just beaten Staffordshire in a recent league match by 4 points. After a great result in the epee, the sabre team pulled out one of their performances of the season, only narrowly losing, to retain our lead going into the last weapon. This took the pressure off the foil team who could relax into their matches.
After a difficult few opening bouts, we managed to pull out a lead and could sense we had a firm grip on the match. Securing the win in this weapon was a great way to win the trophy – especially as I was in the final match!
Adam: On the day I was very nervous and it showed in my first bout. I clawed back though and put in a decent performance. Their team improved so much over the season and have apparently been training 8 hours a week since their first defeat to us in November, making them tricky opponents. The fact we only beat them by 4 points about a month ago made it even closer. Winning the medal was great too. We partied in medallion style that night!
How great does it feel to be BUCS Midland Champions?!
Tom: We are very proud of winning the BUCS Midlands Conference Cup and coming second in the BUCS league – it's a great way to end the year.
Adam: It feels great to be the champs, and with the risk of sounding arrogant, we deserve it!
Will: After coming so close last year, it was a fantastic feeling to win the cup this year. Adam Ahmet and Rob Johnson have made a huge difference in the foil, whilst Lawrence Arnold and Luke Baxter have made terrific progress after only taking up sabre this year under the tutelage of Tom Day (Sabre Captain). Kris Sales and Martin Walters have meant that epee only slipped to one defeat this year and won all the other matches fairly comfortably. I personally would like to thank everyone who participated in the team this year and meant that I can say under my Presidency we had a very successful year!
Finally, what would you say to encourage people to get involved with the fencing team?
Tom: We are a very welcoming and sociable club. We encourage beginners and experienced fencers to come along.
Will: The club caters for every level of experience. As well as the team, the club sessions are great fun and there are plenty of socials too! If you give fencing a go I'm sure you'll be surprised with how much fun it is. University is a time to try new things, so why not try fencing now?!
Adam: I would encourage anyone who enjoys sport at UEA to join fencing. We're just normal guys who like a bit of sword fighting! It’s genuinely so much fun!
Just to put it into perspective, three years ago the men's fencing team finished a season without a single win, and now we have won this cup and lost just 2 matches in our season! Special mention to Martin Walters who has been at the club for about 4/5 years and was recently seeded 190th epeeist in GB and is Norfolk Epee Champion.