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.

Double gold for D’Abbraccio

A big weekend of competition resulted in three medals for the girls and a solid haul of GBR Cadet ranking points for the boys.

At the Leon Paul Junior Series in Canterbury on 26th June 2022, Izzy D’Abbraccio struck gold in the under 13 girl’s event, beating English Youth Champ Lea Panyandee-Cappelli 10-9 in the final. Izzy then went up a gear in the afternoon, storming to gold in the under 15 event with a 15-10 win over Emma Mitzova.

Team-mate Andrea Ross took a fanastic bronze in the same event in only her second-ever external competition (and after starting fencing just one year ago).

RTWFC’s competition debutants Elsa Bronbjerg and James Dunmall also fenced at the LPJS and did well to win two bouts each. Unfortunately, in the quarter-finals Elsa lost to team-mate Izzy and James got squeezed out 10-8 by eventual silver-medallist Damian Tovar; they finished 6th and 7th respectively.

Meanwhile, at the Cadet BRC in London, the considerably more experienced trio of Miles Raymond (22nd), Benedict Graham (23rd) and Lloyd Osborne (27th) all put in points-scoring performances in pursuit of a top 20 British ranking in the Cadet (under 17) category. Their exploits keep Lloyd in 14th, Benedict moves up to 23rd and Miles to 46th.

In the girls’ event the day before, Hannah Taylor and Andrea Ross both scored some great hits in finishing in 28th and 31st position and now sit in joint 67th in the national rankings, ready to deploy the invaluable experience they’ve gained next time round.

Brilliant bronze for Lloyd

A trio of talented RTWFC fencers made the trip to Hatfield for the England Youth Championships (EYC) on Saturday 11th June, and Lloyd Osborne headed south with some hard-won hardware.

First up was the indefatiguable Izzy D’Abbraccio, who competed in Poland on Thursday, in the under-13 girls’ epee. Izzy won all six of her poule bouts to get a bye through to the last 16, but then slipped on the banana skin that was Matilde Samuel-Lajeunesse in an agonising 10-9 loss. A finishing position of ninth in the national champs isn’t what izzy wanted, but it isn’t half bad.

Next up, team-mates Zach Bench and Lloyd Osbourne set to work in the boys’ under 15 epee, the former struggling at first against older, more experienced fencers before bouncing back, and the latter doing his back line ‘rope-a-dope’ routine to great effect.

Heading into the last 64, Zach was seeded 38th and took out 27th seed Leo Cook 15-13 before going down to 6th seed Robin Silk 15-7. Zach finished a creditable 31st out of 56 in his first competition at this level.

Lloyd sat in 9th after the poules, and twice squandered comfortable leads against bottom-ranked but fantastically named Osbert Weston before finally fighting his way back from the precipice to turn 12-14 into 15-14. Phew! Lloyd then took out Cowper 15-6, Hinkley 15-7 and Chiappini 15-12 to book a semi-final slot against Tristan Lumineau. Whilst rangy southpaw Lumineau, who already has bags of international experience, ran away with a 15-5 win, Lloyd learnt plenty and can now rest his aching legs and reflect on another fabulous day of fencing.

Well done, team – you make us proud every time you step on the piste.

Eilidh storms to LPJS triumph

Team-mates Eilidh Paterson and Izzy D’Abbraccio eclipsed the opposition at the Leon Paul Junior Series U13 event in London on Sunday 15th May, with Eilidh taking gold and Izzy bronze.

Both girls bagged four wins out of five in the first round of poules, with Eilidh winning two bouts 5-0 and Izzy one. Ranked second and third going into the second round, Eilidh then won all five bouts – to just six hits scored against her in total – and Izzy four, giving them both byes through to the quarter-finals.

In the round of 8, Izzy advanced by a score of 8-4 against Agnes Maudsley, but then succumbed to number one seed Zina Suresh 10-6 – the shorter bout format not allowing her scope for another infamous comeback. In the other half of the draw, ‘Hurricane Eilidh’ blew through Emily Delchev 10-4 and followed that with a come-from-behind 10-8 win against third seed Lea Panyandee-Cappelli.

Suresh awaited Eilidh in the final, and once again she hit the front against the RTWFC fencer, but Eilidh stuck with it, figured out a new strategy, pegged back her tricky opponent and ultimately nicked it 10-9 to strike a glittering gold.

Huge congratulations to Eilidh and Izzy on their latest podium performances.

National express

A great eight of RTWFC fencers travelled to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on the early May bank holiday weekend having qualified for the British Youth Championships. Here’s how they fared.

Super Saturday

Lloyd Osborne, having lost his first two poule bouts, then clicked into gear, winning nine bouts on the spin – including a superb 15-10 victory against number one seed Charlie Luytens-Humphrey and a great tactical triumph over Alex Nicholas in the semi-finals. In the final, though, Alessio Bazzocchi was on fire, and a tiring Lloyd couldn’t find a way to quell the flames, ultimately settling for a brilliant silver.

Sunday roast

Hannah Taylor, Benedict Graham and Miles Raymond set out in their respective U16 events in poules stuffed full of GB team fencers.

Hannah blitzed her first opponent 5-0, then showed some counter-attacking variety in downing her first DE opponent before her lack of experience at this level caught up with her in the last 32.

Benedict also got off to a good start, but a tricky last 64 draw against Cuzme Rigo resulted in an agonising 15-14 loss. Next time, Benedict…

Miles didn’t quite execute in the poules, but carried a higher tempo from his 5-3 loss against GB number 1 cadet Cador Beautyman into the DEs, hammering his first foe before going down fighting against top seed Amani Campbell-Okolo in the last 64.

Manic Monday

The third and final day of the British Youth Championships saw U14 trio Eilidh Paterson, Izzy D’Abbraccio and Daisy Beadsworth in action, along with Oscar Allison in the U18 Boys Epee.

All four scored some perfectly executed touches, and Izzy made it into the last 32 following a nerve-shredding 15-14 victory over left-handed Sophia Harper.

Next year, Eilidh and Izzy will have another stab at the same age group, when many of the girls who finished above them will be in the under 16s.

Well done to all of the RTWFC team in Sheffield for their camaraderie, fighting spirit and national-level fencing skills – you did us all proud.

Final placings

2nd Lloyd Osborne – U14 Boys (54 entrants)
25th Hannah Taylor – U16 Girls (41)
27th Izzy D’Abbraccio – U14 Girls (51)
33rd Eilidh Paterson – U14 Girls (51)
38th Benedict Graham – U16 Boys (71)
50th Oscar Allison – U18 Boys (53)
50th Daisy Beadsworth – U14 Girls (51)
62nd Miles Raymond – U16 Boys (71)

Izzy strikes gold!

Fighting back from the brink of defeat, Izzy D’Abbraccio proved her knockout stage steeliness once again to win the U14 girls event at The Youth Series in Manchester on Sunday 20th March.

Placed fourth after the poules, Izzy found herself 7-13 down against fifth seed Erika Hodkinson in the quarters, only to rally to 11-14… then 15-14. Zoinks! A 9-8 victory against Zina Suresh followed, then Izzy took the final 11-7 against number two seed Kia Wright – who’d beaten Izzy twice in the poules!

Mental toughness? Tick. The win may just take Izzy to the top of England’s U14 rankings.

Other results

On Saturday 19th March a fantastic four of RTW teens were in action at their first ever open event – the Invicta in Canterbury. Matthew Gathern was unfortunately injured in the warm-up but soldiered on to 77th place; solid starts saw Will Patten and Benedict Graham both get a bye through to the round of 64, and they finished 45th and 46th respectively – great effort, boys! We await a final placing for Hannah Taylor in the women’s event.

Two club coaches were also in action at the Invicta: James Fleming-Fido finished 35th and Gerry Lavin 55th. Spiffing work, chaps!

Well done to all of our fencers in action this weekend.

More Elite medals for RTWFC

A fantastic five fencers represented the club at the Elite Epee Junior Series in Moulton on Saturday 19th February, and two headed back down the M1 with medals.

Lloyd Osborne fenced brilliantly to reach the U14 Boys final, only to be squeezed out 15-14 in a dramatic bout against Garan Thompson.

In the U17 Boys event, Benedict Graham looked sharp throughout, just coming up short 15-10 against strong-armed Cai Eastwood at the semi-final stage. Team-mate Miles Raymond finished a solid 18th in the same event – onwards and upwards, Miles…

Isabella D’Abbraccio and Eilidh Paterson acquitted themselves well in an U14 Girls comp that featured almost all of the country’s best fencers in the age group,. Frustratingly, Izzy and Eilidh collided in the last 16, with the former outreaching the latter 15-10. Still, 8th and 9th respectively against a tough crowd – most of whom are a year older – bodes well for future success.

Well done, weekend warriors!


🥈 Lloyd Osborne (U14 Boys)
🥉 Benedict Graham (U17 Boys)
8th Isabella D’Abbraccio (U14 Girls)
9th Eilidh Paterson (U14 Girls)
18th Miles Raymond (U17 Boys)

RTW fencers shine at regionals

RTWFC had 15 fencers battling it out for British Youth Championship qualifcation at the SE Regionals in Burgess Hill on Saturday 5th February… and 11 made it through! Four medals – including two golds – were just the dazzling tip of an iceberg made of pure team spirit. Take a bow, one and all.

🥇 Lloyd Osborne (U14 Boys)
🥇 Freyja Chisholm* (U12 Girls)
🥈 Eilidh Paterson (U14 Girls)
🥉 Benedict Graham (U16 Boys)
5th Isabella D’Abbraccio (U14 Girls)
5th Alec Hargreaves (U12 Boys)
6th Hannah Taylor (U16 Girls)
7th Oscar Allison* (U18 Boys)
8th Anastasia Khlemanova (U18 Girls)
8th Daisy Beadsworth (U14 Girls)
11th Miles Raymond (U16 Boys)
Just missed out:
11th Zach Bench (U14 Boys)
12th Gabriel Lam (U14 Boys)
13th Matthew Gathern (U18 Boys)
17th William Briggs (U18 Boys)

* Represent RTWFC but train elsewhere

Eilidh, 12, becomes U17 national champ!

Following her victory in the under-13 Scottish national championships on Saturday 15th January, Eilidh Paterson stepped up to the under-17 age-group the following day… and won! Again!

Eilidh beat the no. 1 ranked fencer in the semi by a score of 15-10, then took the final 15-13 to become Scottish Cadet Champion – all at the tender age of 12!

Truly awesome fencing, Eilidh. We salute you!