A strong royal navy team won its annual match against the Sarnia Sword Club by five weapon matches to four.
The fixture produced a spirited, well fought and sporting contest which was fenced on two new aluminium fencing pistes at the Brock Road Youth Centre.
Sabre has traditionally been the Royal Navy’s strongest weapon so the SSC teams faced their sternest task at the start.
The A match was closely fought at first, with the teams separated by a margin of never more than three hits with four fights completed. By the next fight, however, Adrian Oliver had opened up a significant, seven-hit lead for the Navy.
Martin Corbet then began a spirited fight back and by the final fight lead had been cut to five.
Corbet outfought ‘Dickie’ Barton in the last contest, but the Navy’s lead turned out to be crucial, giving them a 45-42 victory.
On the other piste, Ross Martel opened the match with a victory for the SSC B team against Robert Lutman.
Meyrick Simmonds, fencing his weakest weapon, could not cope with the firepower of the Navy’s strongest sabreur, David Lewis, so the promising lead soon evaporated.
For a while, Robert Harnish and Martel kept Guernsey’s fencers in touch but eventually their opponents strength in depth gave them a comfortable victory 45-30.
In the third match, the two women’s epee teams locked horns and by the halfway a strong Guernsey team had established a 10 hit lead.
All three Sarnian fencers continued to score heavily and visitors were unable to recover from such a large deficit as the home side won 45-27.
That meant that the first days fencing ended with the Navy leading by two weapons matches to one.
The second day began with the men’s epee. In the a encounter, Simmonds, fencing below par and suffering from an inaccurate point, was unable to hit his first opponent.
Kees Zandvliet had similar difficulty against Oliver and soon the Navy had a five hit lead. The SSC refused to give up. All three Guernsey fencers shipped away at the lead until, with only one fight to go, the match stood at 40 hits each.
The team’s strongest fencers, Alan Bushby and Oliver, confronted each other in this crucial match. In a skilful bout, the fencers traded hits until with one more hit to fight for, the scores were still level at 44-44. Both attacked for the last hit but Bushby’s point proved the faster and he won the match in a nail biting finish.
In contrast, the B match demonstrated the strength in depth of the Royal Navy. Although it started with honours even between Martel and Barton, Lewis and Green inflicted heavy defeats on Guernsey’s Bonner and Corbet to build a substantial lead.
The advantage was not seriously threatened as the Navy won comfortably 45-30.
The SSC’s women foil A team was still formidable despite the absence of Naveen Rahman who recently started a degree at Durham University.
Guernsey’s Hollie Redhead, fencing in her first senior representative match, did well to score three hits and Julie Dyer soon turned the Navy’s initial two hit lead into a three hit advantage for Guernsey.
In the middle of this match, three home fencers inflicted severe defeats on their opponents to pit the result beyond doubt. Clair Le Poidevin closed with a 5-2 victory to give Guernsey a 45-23 win.
With the last set of three weapon matches still to be fought, the overall result was finally poised, with the home side needing two wins. The two senior men’s foil teams met, with the SSC fielding their strongest weapon team.
Simmonds beat Barton by a one hit margin. Corbet increased this lead to three and Bushby, fencing with fast, unstoppable attacks and ripostes, crushed Oliver for a seven hit advantage.
The home team never allowed the Navy to recover and won the match comfortably 45-37.
In the women’s sabre, the Navy team were simply too powerful and won 45-23.
With only the men’s foil B match to be fought, the overall standings were level at four matches each.
Honours were even for the first two bouts but Harnish was badly beaten to give the Navy a crucial five hit lead in the match.
Although Milner and Wright were able to score hits at the Navy’s expense, Harnish was unable to raise his game to the level of his team mates and the Navy ran out worthy winners of this match 45-37 and the overall fixture.
- David Redhead writing as Epeeist
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