Glory for women’s fencing as BUCS League is wrapped up

Today’s comfortable win over Northumbria made it six wins out of six for the women’s fencing team, securing their place in the BUCS League play-offs

Photograph by Jason Lozier

Photograph by Jason Lozier


BUCS League 1B – Wednesday 2nd December

York’s female fencers triumphed today as they beat Northumbria University to secure the league title. The win puts York into the play-offs and they are now only a few wins away from playing in the Premier League. A testimony to the team’s superb season is their unbeaten record and this continued today as they crushed their opponents 135-64.

York were superior across every weapon and failed to win only two bouts out of the twenty-seven. They started in good form, winning the Sabre 45-26, continued by winning the Épée 45-23 and ended on a high by winning the Foil 45-15. York were comfortably the better team, employing six fencers compared to Northumbria’s team of only three and they mathematically secured the win in the first bout of the Foil class, a premature conclusion which emphasised their dominance.

The home team got off to a good start in the Sabre class, racing ahead into a 10-1 advantage after two bouts and, after this, the team never looked in trouble. Katharine Gracey and Becky Ellis were comfortable in all their games and Captain Kat Chzhen ruthlessly dismissed her opponent whenever given the chance. After no time at all York had secured the class 45-26.

Fencing Vs. Northumbria - 2.12.09 - Photo: Jason Lozier

Today’s convincing dismissal of Northumbria was the side’s sixth straight win this season, enough to take them clear of Leeds University at the top. Photograph by Jason Lozier.

The game was delayed after the Sabre round when the Northumbria side complained about the length of the piste. Meant to be 14 metres, it was a metre short; their complaints may have been justified had they lost by a narrow margin but, as it was, it looked a little like sour grapes from a side who had been so comfortably banished by the home team.

The away team’s complaints didn’t affect York in the slightest, however, as they continued on their merry way, this time in the Épée. There was no respite for Northumbria as Louise Highton and Gracey, alongside Ellis, combined to secure another comfortable victory, winning 45-23. Highton and Gracey both harbour realistic hopes of representing Great Britain at next year’s Commonwealth Games and the gulf between them and the opposition was clear to see, even for the Fencing novice. With two classes competed York were 90-49 in front, needing only five points to secure the title.

Fencing Vs. Northumbria - 2.12.09 - Photo: Jason Lozier

York dominated in all three disciplines this afternoon, taking all but two of the 27 bouts. Photograph by Jason Lozier.

In the first bout of the Foil class Gracey secured the title for York, outfencing her opponent to win 5-0. Highton and Kate Horner built on her good start and at the end the score was 135-64. It was clear that confidence was high in the York camp and right from the off they looked the side most likely to win.

The team were delighted to win their league and now await the winners of the other Northern league, most probably Bangor University. Captain Chzhen said: “I’m very happy we’re top of our league, we’re going to go to the play-offs” and if today’s performance is anything to go by York’s opposition will have their work cut out. Every fencer did their job well and even Miranda Smith, who unfortunately lost her bout, fought bravely despite being limited by an injured back. Chzhen and Highton were particularly clinical and the whole team will go into the play-offs with their confidence sky high.

The Line-ups:

Sabre: Kat Chzhen (c), Becky Ellis, Katharine Gracey. 45-26

Épée: Louise Highton, Katharine Gracey, Miranda Smith & Becky Ellis. 45-23

Foil: Katharine Gracey, Louise Highton, Kate Horner. 45-15

Northumbria University: Helen Dack (c), Sammy Shemilt, Elspeth Adams.

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