Elite Junior success for RTWFC

Strong performances by RTWFC’s fencers at the Elite Epee Junior Series were capped by bronze medals for Lloyd Osborne and Isabella D’Abbraccio.

All five of the club’s representatives performed admirably at the competition in Surrey on Saturday 23rd October, but it was our Under-14 fencers who shone the brightest.

Lloyd Osborne amassed five victories in the poules to be ranked fifth out of 21 going into the knockout rounds. A bye was followed by two dominant wins – 15-2 and 11-4 respectively – before Lloyd went down fighting in the semi-finals against eventual winner Oghenegaren Thompson. Despite a late rally via sharp beat fleches, Lloyd couldn’t quite neutralise the attacks of his speedy left-handed opponent and went down to a score of 15-10.

In her first Under-14 competition, 11-year-old Isabella D’Abbraccio took three wins from four in the qualifying round to progress as fourth seed. A bye was followed by a nail-biting 15-14 victory over fifth seed Emily Brunellesi, then Isabella lost a similarly nerve-shredding bout 15-14 against semi-final opponent Agnes Palmer – the latter’s parry-ripostes just enough to quell Izzy’s fire-power.

A busy week of stage performances caught up with Eilidh Paterson at the quarter final stage of the Under-14 event. Having fenced brilliantly to win all five of her poule bouts and progress to direct elimination as top seed, Eilidh ran out of steam in her quarter-final, losing to Palmer 15-13 and finishing fifth overall – a very creditable result given her hectic schedule.

The club’s two representatives in the boys Under-17 event ended up colliding in the last 16.

The fast-improving Miles Raymond qualified tenth out of 30, then kept his composure to sneak a 14-13 win against Jack Brandon in the round of 32. In contrast, team-mate Benedict Graham misfired in the poules and ended up 26th, then fenced brilliantly to dismantle seventh seed John Prineas 15-8 and blast through to the last 16.

A tense first period of ‘friendly fire’ saw Miles and Benedict locked at 8-all, before the latter’s greater arsenal saw him pull away for a 15-10 win. In the quarters, Benedict couldn’t quite solve the southpaw puzzle of William Paice and slipped to a 15-7 defeat – but he may well have learned enough to secure the win next time. Ultimately, Benedict placed 8th – just one win away from a medal – and Miles finished 12th, and both should be proud of their efforts.

Overall, all five RTWFC fencers finished in the top half of their respective events, showing great potential in a competition that is a step up from regional level and just a rung below British-ranking events in terms of difficulty.

TWIST Event 1 2020 – Results

On Sunday 2nd February, eight RTWFC fencers met the challege of 11 friendly fencers from New Ash Green Fencing Club, four fine fellows from Brighton College and three amigos from Our Lady of Sion for an afternoon of individual epee competition in two age-groups (U19 and U15).

Following one round of poules, where males and females and both age groups were rolled into one big qualifying quagmire, the competition was then split into the two age groups for the drama of direct elimination. Whilst the top few seeds made serene progress, the middle seeds faced a stern test from below – a test that proved too tense for many of them.

The results of an afternoon of good-natured combat are below. Well done one and all – and many thanks in particular for Taran Nicholls and the New Ash Green gang for supporting the TWIST so numerously and fencing so sportingly!

Mixed U19
1. Matthew Kohler (New Ash Green)  2. Jasper Yip (Brighton College)  3. Daniel McHale (Our Lady of Sion)  3. Finnbar McHale (OLS)  5. Ethan Hurip (BC)  6. Luca Masoliver (NAG)  7. Ben Wilson (NAG)  8. Matthew Bentham (RTW)  9. Will Mitchell (NAG)  10. Oliver Manners (OLS)  11. John Ben Evans (NAG)  12. Jacob Earl (RTW)  13. Bodie Patching (RTW)  14. Theo Hughes-Wilson (NAG)  15. Anastasia Khlemanova (RTW)

Female U19
1. Anastasia Khlemanova (RTW)  2. Dalma Rajan (RTW)

Mixed U15
1. Georgy Faires (RTW)  2. Freddie Higginson (RTW)  3.Oliver Barlow (NAG)  3. Max Stanbury (NAG)  5. John Prineas (NAG)  6. Theo Da Costa (BC)  7. Dalma Rajan (RTW)  8. Thomas Ives (RTW)  9. Rushil Shukla (NAG)  10. Sam Prior (BC)  11. Tom Harris (NAG)

Championship Performers

The RTWFC Championships 2019 took place on Saturday 22nd June, bringing together current club members, regular club visitors and a couple of speedy alumni in four different competitive categories.

In the Senior Mixed event, experienced tactical smarts were met with youthful fire, and whilst the former had its moments the latter won the day. Having starved Piero Steiner of his favourite diet – his opponent’s blade – in an eyebrow-raising semi-final win 15-12, Paul Baillache fenced Daniel Powers in the final. However, following his dispatch of ‘Deadly’ Amelia Dudley in the last 4 by a scoreline of 15-6, Daniel was even less charitable in the final – winning 15-5 against a bemused Mr Baillache.

In the Senior Female category, Lindsey Briggs eased past Maria Machado 15-5, only to be strafed by Amelia 15-6 in the final – youth, in this case, also holding all the cards of experience too.

Georgy Faires pulled off a resurrection via repechage in the Cadet category, having lost his quarter-final to the cooler head of Jacob Earl 14-15. After the dust had settled, Georgy picked himself up and went on to beat Matthew Gathern in the first repechage, then got handed a bye in the second round due to his opponent’s withdrawal. In the semi, Georgy scraped past William Briggs 15-13, then met fellow repechage survivor Benedict Graham in the final – who had edged out Jacob 11-10 on priority to slip through the semis. Although Georgy took the title 15-10, special mention should go to Benedict – who should have competed in the Under 14s but rose to the challenge of fencing older boys with his trusty size 2 epee – bravo Benedict!

In the Under 14 age-group, ‘Lethal’ Lloyd Osborne lived up to his nom de guerre, shading Sergey Khlemanov 6-4 in a cagey final. En route to the top step of the podium, Lloyd defeated Max Withers 10-5 in the last 4, while Sergey – having only just returned from a long injury layoff – kept Eilidh Paterson at arm’s length for a 10-7 victory. Miles Raymond and birthday boy Laurie Briggs finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Besides the ‘bling’ on offer in the four categories, fencers were also battling it out to get their hands on ‘The Professor Steven Paul Shield’ for outstanding performance on the day. Benedict came mighty close, compiling a ledger of six wins and three loses against older opponents with longer swords, but was pipped by Senior champ Daniel Powers. Having lost only once in the poules – finishing with a indicator of +15 – and outscoring his three DE opponents by a total of 31 points, Daniel was ultimately a worthy winner. All hail ‘Danny Longshanks’!

Huge thanks to Chris Higginson for piste preparation and refereeing, to Josh Pink, Rob Parsons, Roberto Steiner, and James Fleming-Fido for refereeing, to Martin Briggs for photography, and to Don Coe for armoury, refereeing and for setting up videos of ‘Prof’ in the bar afterwards. Don’s efforts (ably assisted by web wizard Jacob) meant that we could all admire Prof’s nonpareil fencing and coaching skills – a truly fitting spectacle following a toast by club members past and present to our irreplaceable head coach.


Senior Mixed

1 Daniel Powers  2 Paul Baillache  3 Piero Steiner  3 Amelia Dudley  5 Zach Burgess  6 Martin Briggs  7 Daniel Weaver  8 James Fleming-Fido  9 Simon Munns  10 Lindsey Briggs  11 Maria Machado  12 Simon Gnana-Pragasam

Senior Female

1 Amelia Dudley  2 Lindsey Briggs  3 Maria Machado


1 Georgy Faires  2 Benedict Graham  3 William Briggs  3 Jacob Earl  5 Leo Lee  6 Freddie Higginson  7 Matthew Gathern  8 Bodie Patching

Under 14

1 Lloyd Osbourne  2 Sergey Khlemanov  3 Eilidh Paterson  3 Max Withers  5 Miles Raymond  6 Laurie Briggs

TWIST – Saturday 11th May 2019

On Saturday 11th May, Royal Tunbridge Wells Fencing Club hosted its latest TWIST event. TWIST stands for ‘Tunbridge Wells Individual and School Team’ event, although it has grown beyond its origins to include an adult category and teams from other clubs.

This time, RTWFC’s fencers faced teams from Skippers Hill Manor, Mayfield Girls School, Roedean Moira House and Brighton College, as well as individuals from Lewes Fencing Club and Our Lady of Sion School.

In the morning, RTWFC won four of the five team categories, and in the afternoon all six of the individual age groups – although the club did provide half of the fencers competing on the day!

Notably, Mayfield Girls School managed to break the home club’s golden stranglehold by finishing top of the Girls Year 5-11 category, and there were silver linings for the Skippers Hill boys in the Year 5-8 team category, as well as Roedean Moira House’s Vivian Talintuya (Girls Year 8-11 individual) and Alex Hart from Lewes Fencing Club (Adult mixed individual).

Top of the bling list for RTWFC were Benedict Graham, Hannah Taylor, William Briggs and Martin Briggs, who won gold in both the team and individual categories.

Just as importantly, though, the event welcomed seven fencers who’d never competed before. We’re delighted that the TWIST is maintaining its friendly atmosphere and continues to attract newcomers to what is primarily a competition for novices.

See you in September for a female-only TWIST, and in November for a male-only event.

Professor Steven Paul, 1954 – 2019



We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of our Head Coach and Chairman on Friday 26 April. Steve passed away following a head injury sustained in a fall, whilst on holiday in Spain with family and friends over the Easter break. Although he was flown home by air ambulance, he never regained consciousness and died at Pembury hospital a week after the accident.

As the heart of the club he helped found in 2005, Steve will be hugely missed by us all. Our deepest sympathy goes to his wife Karen, his daughters Yasmin and Bella, and his family and friends across the world and throughout the fencing community. His instincts as a fighter, his fitness and his matter-of-fact approach to his diagnosis of motor neurone disease in 2015 meant that he lived life to the full right until the end, and there is a small measure of comfort that he did not live to suffer the worst ravages of that terrible disease.

Steve’s unique blend of outstanding success as a fencer, coaching excellence and showbiz glamour, as well as his ability to inspire, improve and bring the best out of all his pupils - of whatever level - here in Tunbridge Wells and elsewhere, will never be forgotten by those of us lucky enough to have known him.

A three-time Olympian, three-time British Epee Champion, three time Australian Epee Champion, qualified in Paris as a Maitre D’Armes, Steve was equally able to teach the basics of fencing in a fun and accessible way to a class of complete novices as he was to identify with pinpoint accuracy the weaknesses in elite performers, and challenge them all to be better than they thought they could be.

Having been born into the fencing ‘royalty’ of the Paul dynasty, Steve nevertheless worked out early in his fencing career that there was no substitute for intense training and a professional approach to fitness, in what was essentially an amateur era. It was fitting that perhaps his most famous victory came at the glamorous Martini ‘A’ Grade in 1981. Other milestones, such as being the last British fencer to compete at more than one weapon at an Olympic Games (when he was part of both the foil and epee teams in Moscow in 1980) and returning to the GB scene from Australia to take his third and final National title in 1993 at the age of 38 (having first won it in 1980) all help to explain the reverence with which he is held within the epee community here and abroad. His part in the Bond film ‘Die Another Day’ and his work with Orlando bloom for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ only served to enhance the aura.

Living in Eastbourne meant that when his friends Jerry and Lucy Raj approached him with a plea to help them set up and run a new fencing club in their children’s school in Tunbridge Wells, he was happy to help. Very soon word got out amongst the local community that a world-class exponent was teaching all comers in a small local club, and largely through the force of his personality RTWFC quickly established itself as a centre of excellence for epee fencing.

The club moved to the Army Reserve Centre on St John’s Road in 2011, and began to attract more and more members. In order to accommodate these extra fencers, the club added a Sunday morning session alongside its two weekday sessions, and employed an assistant coach alongside a number of volunteers.

Steve’s winning combination of world-class coaching and effortless pizzazz soon began to have an impact, and RTWFC began to challenge for medals at county, regional and national competitions. In particular, two fencers stood out: Piero Steiner and James Russell. Piero, who trained with Steve at RTWFC from the age of 6, began to win age-group medals at elite and national level on a regular basis; and James, who joined from Worthing Fencing Club, flourished under the Prof’s tutelage and won gold at national level in his age group as well as senior opens such as Bexley.

Despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease, Steve continued to offer individual lessons to Piero, James, Amelia Dudley and several other promising pupils, adapting his coaching style to cope with the diminishing sensation in his fingers, hands and arms.

Realising that the more the disease took hold the less he could coach and the less likely the club was to hang on to its most ambitious fencers, Steve refocused RTWFC on attracting and inspiring younger fencers. As the club continued to grow, Steve brought in new coaches, and mentored them with a combination of graciousness and exactitude in every aspect of group and individual fencing lessons.

During the last year of his life, Prof still found the strength to run the Sunday training session, and was rightly idolised by the 30 or so youngsters in regular attendance for his unfailingly positive attitude, Olympic exploits and undimmed star-power.

To quote the great man’s own words from the 2012 book Epee Fencing: “Love your fencing. Enjoy your life. Happiness gives you resilience, and self confidence is a major asset…Positive thinking is required at all times.”

Prof, we will miss you.

Please note that there will be a small private funeral for family and close friends only, in accordance with Steve’s wishes. RTWFC will be organising an appropriate memorial event later this year but in the meantime for anybody that wishes to contribute there is a ‘justgiving’ crowdfunding page to enable to Steve’s family to cover the emergency medical costs incurred in bringing Steve home that can be accessed via: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stevenpaul

Kent County Epee Championships 2018

Ladies finalists

Gold and Bronze medallists in deep something or rather!

Winner Max (inadvertently representing RTW F/C) and our brilliant dual BRONZE medallists Simon (also best Veteran - sorry!) and Daniel, let the Powers be with you.

Amelia Dudley proudly holder the winners shield. Another GOLD for RTW F/C

Well done Amelia - Kent County Champion.

Latest BYC & Team results

Amelia Dudley (2nd from right)
BYC South East U/18 epee L8

Amelia Dudley & Coach Kenichi
BYC South East U/18 epee L8

British School Team Championships
Winners (Harry,Hikaru & Piero)

Club Championships 2018

SENIOR MENS - 1st and Club Champion Charlie, 2nd Piero, 3rd Daniel, 4th Simon, 5th Paul, 6th Martin, 7th Hikaru.

SENIOR WOMENS - 1st and Club Champion Amelia, 2nd Aine.

JUNIORS CAT.2 - 1st and Club Champion William, 2nd Georgy, 3rd Jacob, 4th Matthew, 5th Dalma, 6th Benedict, 7th Ewan, 8th Freddie, 9th Leo, 10th Bodie.

JUNIORS CAT.1 - 1st and Club Champion Lloyd, 2nd Max, 3rd Jolyon, 4th Charlie, 5th Eilidh, 6th Aiden.




Max not happy at the lose...Aiden was!

Teen friends and adversaries

Prof. overseeing medal presentation

Bit of Red jacket corps a corps

'Classic' Amelia lunge

The Champ (coloured socks) on his way to victory

Junior action with Coach Beasley refereeing

Good fencing line, foot hit man!