UNIVERSITY OF YORK 98-135 KEELE UNIVERSITY
Images: Philippa Grafton
York held their own in their first match of the season against Keele, until the final event of the foil where they were outclassed by a strong visitors’ side. A good spirited match ended with a 135-98 loss for York but they showed that especially in the sabre and épée events that they will be a match for any team in their division. The side featured a number of new faces including a step up from the seconds team by Paul Goddard as well as a change in captaincy with the armband being passed on from Tom Skingle to Tom Jones.
The first sword to be contested was the sabre. A frantic yet even first bout between Huang and Brougham saw Keele take an early one point lead. Keele’s captain Lucas spotted before the match polishing his sword then quickly defeated Goddard 5-1 to show that he had the skill to match his gleaming sabre. It was then up to the new firsts captain Jones to bring York back into the tie which he did by winning his bout convincingly 10-3. The bouts then went very quickly with only a slight delay for a Keele player who snapped his sword in half, until the final bout of the sabre. With Keele edging it 40-38 Huang needed to score seven hits but unfortunately Lucas once again proved too strong and won the bout 5-2 to give Keele a 5 point lead.
Next up was the much calmer and less ferocious épée and thanks in particular to Alex Synadino York took an early 10-6 lead, his calm and relaxed style allowed him to win some key points and concede very few. There was then very little to distinguish the two teams as bouts went backwards and forwards meaning that neither team could establish a lead. This set up a thrilling last bout between Skingle and Braugham, with the score poised at 40-38 to York. The Keele man got off to a dream start as he won the first 3 points without reply. Skingle however then turned it up a notch and drew the scores level at 42-42. Unfortunately Braugham just edged it at the end to win Keele’s second sword of the day and put them in a 90-83 lead with only the foil left.
The foil proved to be York’s downfall as Keele dominated it from start to finish, winning every bout and most by big margins. A comeback never seemed likely for York in this event as they needed to win it 45-37 to win the match, but instead ended up losing out 45-15. It was a disappointing end to what had otherwise been a promising performance against a strong Keele side.
Captain Tom Jones was relatively pleased with his team’s performance despite the 135-98 loss stating – “we did our best. The foil was always going to be difficult but we performed positively in the sabre and épée”.