York fencers open Varsity with a win

York’s men’s fencing team opened Sunday’s Varsity proceedings with a commanding win thanks to some spectacular performances in the Sabre and Épée


Images: Josh Boswell

The light streaming through the windows of Hull’s sports hall lit up the white breeches of the York fencing team, as they arrived bright and fresh for the 10.30am match that would kick off this year’s Hull-hosted Varsity fixtures.

The boys were shouldering the pressure to make up lost ground, with an 11-3 Hull score from the off, but only confidence and camaraderie shone through.

In the first bouts of the Foil however, York’s predicted prowess in this sport was put to the test. An opening flurry of left Hull with a strong lead, closed slightly in the fourth at 20-18 to the hosts.

Hull consolidated to 25-20 in the fifth bout, but a stunning turnaround from Fencing President Dan Cornwell saw the sixth finish at 30-27.

The rest of the opening round was a slog of hits for each side, with the scores close at the end of the round and all to play for.

The Foil team of Ed Gunnell, Dan Cornwell, and Jack Warman put up a valiant fight, but with high hopes for a big win from York, and two-thirds of the team in the league above Hull, the atmosphere was tense at the start of the Sabre.

Immediately from the en-garde, the Black and Gold struck back with a fierce two bouts and a strong 10-3 score. Hull retaliated with force, and the play became more aggressive. Heavy hit, after heavy hit was struck.

Unperturbed, York took several clean bouts with ease, striding ahead first to 20-5, then trouncing the round with and impressive 45-15.

Entering the third and final Épée round, York were on a countdown of just 10 points to win. Hull put up a forceful last flourish, but were no match for the last swordsmen Tom Jones and Bairong Huang.

In a spectacular finish, Huang brought down the opposition, scoring five points in less than 10 seconds and leading York to their first three-point win of the day.

Despite the engaging, fearsome play, there were smiles all round as the teams shook hands, the overall Varsity score standing at 11-6 Hull.

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