Peak performance

Three RTWFC cadets (U17) were selected to represent Britain at the fourth European cadet circuit event of the season in Grenoble on 12-13th November, but could they find their best form in a city surrounded by the Alps?

In perhaps the toughest field of the season, Eilidh Paterson scored one win and was just one hit away from the second win that would have guaranteed her progress into the knockout stages. Still, 159th bodes well for Eilidh, who still has three more seasons to hit her peak in this age group.

Miles Raymond fell to an almost identical fate, finishing 191st after his chances in a must-win match were mangled by a blade breaking just as he was scoring a hit. Them’s the breaks!

Benedict Graham fared better, thrashing a couple of French fencers and sneaking past a tricky Singaporean to comfortably make the knockout stages. There, he scored a 15-11 victory over Poon from Hong Kong, who made a nerve-jangling comeback with lunges to foot before ‘Bomber’ Graham found a way to defuse the threat. Unluckily for Benedict, World bronze medallist Maksym Perchuk awaited in the next round, and whilst he impressed his rival with a couple of great hits, Benedict couldn’t find a way past Perchuk’s arsenal of flicks. Still, 109th was the Tunbridge Wells fencer’s best placing in Europe this season and hints at more to come.

Day two of the event raised the noise levels with both boys’ and girls’ team events taking place at the same time.

Whilst both Benedict’s GB3 and Eilidh’s GB4 teams (pictured) both succumbed to tough teams in the last 32, they both had the best indicators on their team and can be proud of their efforts – particularly a 5-1 win for the former and an 8-5 tally for the latter.

With the club’s cadets having travelled to Budapest, Belgrade and Grenoble in the last five weeks, they can now catch up with schoolwork as they await news of the GB squad selections for Bratislava in January and Krakow in February – but they can also reflect with satisfaction on positive performances in their first international competitions.

Brilliant bronze for Benedict

On a busy day for RTWFC at the combined Elite Epee / BRC Cadet event in Manchester on 5-6th November, Benedict Graham proved to be the club’s top gun, blasting to his first podium finish at national under-17 level.

Having won 9 of his 10 qualifying bouts, Benedict took out two quality top 20 fencers on his way to the semis, where eventual winner William Paice sneaked past him 15-13.

Meanwhile, team-mate Lloyd Osborne slipped on the banana skin that was Jack Zino in the last 64, losing 10-9 – having been 9-4 down with a minute left.

In the girls’ U14 event, Eilidh Paterson fenced well throughout but missed out on a medal by 1 point in a high-level quarter-final match-up, Andrea Ross performed splendidly to finish 7th, and Izzy D’Abbraccio battled hard despite facing a nightmare draw.

Eilidh and Andrea were also in action on day two of the event, where they came within a hair’s breadth of achieving their goals of a last 16 finish and a wodge of ranking points respectively at the British Cadet competition. Eilidh, 13, won 5 out of 10 poule bouts, got a bye into to the last 32, but then suffered an agonising 8-7 loss to Charlotte Jordan to pull her up just short of the last 16.
Andrea, 14, won 3 poule bouts then turned a 5-9 deficit into a thrilling 15-13 victory in the last 64, but a 15-8 defeat to 3rd seed Kira Grahamslaw left her just one place outside the big points.

Team-mate James Dunmall, 10, bagged a couple of poule wins in the concurrent Elite Epee U12 event, finishing in a very respectable 12th place.