Chichester Fencing Club fielded a small but excellent team at the Sussex Open Fencing Championships in Portslade.
The competition is a senior national event with fencers travelling from all over Britain and abroad – from France, Italy and even America – for high-level, hotly-contested competition.
On day one Kathryn Evans, Peter Beadle and Robin Elliott were all competing in the epee, a tough event where everywhere is on target and accuracy is of the essence, very much ‘physical chess’.
Both Evans and Elliott fenced superbly, narrowly missing out on medals; Evans using this as a warm-up event for her forthcoming south-east veterans’ Winton Cup debut and Elliott finishing in a fantastic fifth place despite his tender years.
This left Beadle to try to take the most difficult step to make it to the semi-finals, which he took with his usual flare and aplomb, taking the third -lace medal with a wonderful mixture of precision and agility, despite being his first competition since a recent severe injury to his leg incapacitated him, a really brilliant result.
Next day it was the foilists’ turn to compete – a gentler weapon with only the torso being a valid target, a weapon of style, athleticism and grace.
Chichester fielded two 16-year-olds, Joshua Briffett and Isaac Jolley. Briffett fenced superbly in his first Sussex Open foil event having recently switched weapons from epee, a steep learning curve indeed.
Everything was then left to young Jolley to emulate his epeeist club-mate to get into the medals and recreate his amazing success from the previous year – when aged still only 15, he narrowly lost to his senior club-mate George Hendrie in the final to take the silver medal.
Jolley proved why he is Great Britain’s number one cadet at under-17 to take the title of Sussex open foil champion in a devastating display of foil fencing at its best, beating a top French senior foilist as well as several junior (under-20), senior and veteran Great Britain team members, a truly flawless performance.
If you would like to give this fabulous sport a try, contact Sharon Blackman on 01243 822753 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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