National treasures

A fantastic 14 of RTWFC’s regional qualifiers ventured to the British Youth Championships in Sheffield on the early May Bank Holiday weekend, and they all showed their mettle once again

Day 1

The Royal Blue Army’s first wave rolled into Sheffield for the British Youth Championships 2023, and it certainly made an impact.

First up was Alec Hargreaves in the U14 Boys Epee. Once he’d shaken off his customary slow start, Alec notched up three wins and three losses in the poules and got a bye into a last 32, where he got whacked on the hand and subsequently struggled on to a 10-15 loss. Alec, though, demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship with the score at 8-all when admitting that he’d actually hit himself in the foot and not his opponent. Well done, Alec – you showed great character.

In the afternoon, our trio of U12 Boys lunged into action. James Dunmall and Roy Ching (V4 L1 in the poules) and Dean Gigg (V3 L2) all got a bye into the last 32, and progressed smoothly through to the last 16. Roy then knocked out James 10-5 and Dean took out number 2 seed Winston Fung 10-8. In the quarters, Roy fenced the eventual winner Leo Varkey and Dean the runner-up, but both boys proudly took their place on the podium to receive their quarter-finalist medals. Boom!

Final Positions:

U12 Boys (43 fencers)

6th Roy Ching

8th Dean Gigg

11th James Dunmall

U14 Boys (66)

42nd Alec Hargreaves

Day 2

The middle day of the BYCs saw the Royal Blue Army’s seven under-16 qualifiers in action.

Lloyd Osborne and Zach Bench fought hard in the morning, with Zach going down in priority in the first knockout round. Lloyd – V4 L1 in the poules – won his L64 bout 14-6 and a high-quality L32 match against lefty Jack Murray 15-11, but in the L16 Brandon Jack proved too tricky with his back-of-the-piste defiance, meaning Lloyd finished up in 13th place.

Both Lloyd and Zach have another year in the U16 age group, as do Hiba Rochdi, Andrea Ross and Daisy Beadsworth, who all fenced well. Daisy got squeezed out 15-14 in the 64, and Hiba and Andrea went out in the L32 – the latter competing evenly with British no 6 Reya Farlam before the latter pulled away in the final period.

RTWFC’s two U16 ‘elder stateswomen’ also made it into the L32. Hannah Taylor and Annabelle Lavin both powered through their L64 bouts before Annabelle ran into the excellent Emma Mitzova and Hannah got pipped by the awkward Jessica Spoulton 15-14.

Once again, our U16 samurais proved to be a credit to the club with their skills on the piste and their camaraderie off it.

Final Positions:

U16 Boys (69 fencers)

13th Lloyd Osborne

T68th Zach Bench

U16 Girls (55)

18th Hannah Taylor

20th Hiba Rochdi

25th Andrea Ross

27th Annabelle Lavin

35th Daisy Beadsworth

Day 3

On the third and final day, three of our most accomplished Lions entered the fray – but could they deliver a big finish…

First up, Benedict Graham and Miles Raymond were in action in the U18 Boys event. Following three wins for the former and one for the latter in the poules, Benedict then beat Ka Him Cheung 15-6 in the last 64 and Miles rallied brilliantly to beat 17th seed Lucas McKerr 15-11. In the 32, Milies lost out to 16th seed Harrison Blumfield 15-10 and Benedict nearly overturned a 5-1 deficit but was edged out 15-14 by 11th seed Bence Botond Farago. Ouch!

Both boys then stayed around to cheer on Eilidh Paterson in the poules of the U14 Girls competition. Eilidh duly chalked up six wins and an indicator of +23 to finish tied for 1st seed with Izzy Howser. Our lionness then continued her dominance in the DE rounds, winning 15-3, 15-4, 15-9 and 15-9 to reach the final against Howser, who’d progressed in equally dominant style. In a high quality match, Eilidh came from 6-3 down to even the score at 10-10 with some scintillating swordplay, but Howser’s great timing then enabled her to secure the win 15-12. So it was a superb silver for Eilidh – and a thrilling three days for RTWFC’s fiercely competitive but fantastically friendly lions. We salute you, one and all!

Final positions

U18 Boys

21st Benedict Graham

32nd Miles Raymond

U14 Girls

🥈 Eilidh Paterson

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