YOUNG fencers from Pinewood School made an impression at the Wiltshire County Fencing Championships.
Five children took part in the event, with each securing a place in the top 10 of their respective age groups.
Toby Bird competed in the under 10 section against more than 20 other entrants in his category, some of whom were as many as three years older than him.
Bird fenced well in his seeding pool, losing only three fights by one or two points each time and was seeded seventh overall. He went on to narrowly miss out on the semi-finals, losing to the eventual silver medalist 10-8.
He said: “I had great fun and I want to do better next time and with lots of practice, hopefully I will.”
The girls’ under 12 division was fiercely competitive, with Meredith Powell-Turner putting in a superb display to finish just out of the medals in fourth place.
Along the way Powell-Turner scored two excellent victories and narrowly lost out on a third by one point. She took her time in her bouts and benefited with some lightning-fast ripostes and well adjusted footwork. Her Pinewood rival, Lara Capps, finished second, only losing one fight all day to the eventual winner who was undefeated.
Capps kept up a quick pace throughout her bouts, varying distance to make her opponents miss before hitting them as they stepped back.
Powell-Turner said: “I’m very pleased for Lara getting a silver medal and hope to join her at the next competition.
“We are great friends and always encourage and help each other when we are fencing other girls. However when it is our turn, we both try our hardest and are always friends again afterwards.”
Capps added: "I am thrilled to win silver at my first competition and look forward to competing more. It is always very close against Meredith. It is great to have Meredith with me because we can be there for each other.”
The boys’ under 12 competition contained a number of national level fencers and was always going to be a challenging age group.
Despite his lack of experience at this level, Ollie Beckett came away with two victories, which took him into the quarter-finals and placed him eighth overall.
Beckett said: “Given the standard of competition I am pleased with a top-10 finish in my first county championship though I want to improve on this in future.”
The under 14 boys category also featured a number of more experienced fencers, including three who qualified for this year's nationals. Not one to be deterred by such a challenge, Max Tite fenced out of his skin against a handy left hander, who he beat 5-2.
Two bouts got away from him, however, as he finished his pool with another victory to sit fourth overall, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal by three points.
Tite said: "This was a bit of an eye-opener for me as there were some good fencers. Losing out on a medal by three points was disappointing but it has given me the incentive to do better next time.”
Coach Neil Bromley said: “This was an exceptionally encouraging performance from everyone at Pinewood.
“The effort and determination in winning combined with chivalry in losing was a pleasure to witness.
“The school has fencers of great character and aptitude. I have been very impressed with how far everyone has come this term and look forward to greater successes in future.”