UNIVERSITY OF YORK 120
UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN 114
York edged out Aberdeen with a 120-114 victory in a hard fought contest. It came down to the last few duels with the game evenly poised, but Steven Bainbridge, Tom Skingle and Harry Whitewell held their nerve to see the hosts progress to the semi-finals of the BUCS cup.
It all started so brightly for York as they gained the upper hand with the first weapon; the sabre. Tom Jones put them into a 5-3 lead before a tough couple of duels left York 15-13 up after three bouts. Adrian Speakman took control of the situation with a 5-2 victory over Richard Steele before similarly impressive performances from Harry Whitwell and a 5-0 route from Speakman put York firmly ahead. A further 5 points from Harry Whitwell and Tom Jones saw the home side race into a 45-27 lead, comfortably taking the Sabre having failed to win just two out of the opening nine bouts.
Aberdeen, whose day had started badly following a mix-up that had seen them arrive a full three and a half hours early, looked to turn things around with the introduction of the foil. And they did just that.
York failed to recreate even a semblance of their earlier dominance as Aberdeen took a commanding lead straight from the off. Harry Whitwell managed a solitary point in his opening duel while Ewan Chipping fared little better with two and Captain Tom Skingle drew a blank as York found themselves 13 points behind after just four bouts. In spite of some determined performances from Whitwell and Chipping that saw them take 8 and 7 points respectively to their opponents’ five, the damage had been done and with the help of some dubious refereeing, that saw several York points contentiously disallowed, Aberdeen took the weapon 45 to 30.
Aberdeen’s comeback set up a tight finish as just three points separated the sides with one weapon to go; the epee. With the momentum in their favour Aberdeen again made a blistering start, going 10-3 ahead after the opening two bouts. However a tactical substitution saw York replace Phil Sellars with Steven Bainbridge as they looked to halt the visitors’ advance. A resilient effort from the Captain saw him battle to a 5-5 draw with David Gibsmith before a tense encounter between Steven Bainbridge regained two points for York.
With the match hanging in the balance Harry Whitwell continued the hosts’ resurgence as he prevailed by nine points to five to leave York just one point behind Aberdeen in the weapon and two points ahead overall. With York losing another point to Aberdeen, the visitors brought back Marcus Schroeder to face Steven Bainbridge. With the tension clearly showing, neither player dared make a mistake in what became a battle of endurance. Yet Bainbridge finally got the better of his opponent, winning both points as York gained the upper hand. Tom Skingle and Harry Whitwell both kept their cool to see the hosts over the line with the hosts taking the final weapon 45-42 and winning the match by 120 to 114.
Speaking afterwards, York Captain Tom Skingle was full of determination following his side’s impressive win. Asked if they could go on and win the cup, he said “yes, in a word. We’re going to go all the way this year.”