FENCING: Prior Park pupils taste success at Southern Region Championships
PRIOR Park fenced their way to success at the recent Southern Region Fencing Championships.
Around 150 of the best fencers from Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire competed for top honours and selection into the national championships at the event in Portsmouth.
The under 10 section saw Ethan Teale, Niamh Preston and Charlie Robbins from the Cricklade school achieve a silver and two bronze medals.
Robbins, Teale, and Gloucester county champion Oliver Hodgson all had strong seeding rounds, beating all but one of their opponents and giving themselves byes in the elimination stages of the competition.
They all then disposed of their opponents to secure their places in the quarter-finals.
In a twist of fate, Teale and Hodgson faced each other in a very competitive match, with Hodgson eventually losing out 10-9.
Teale went on to win his semi-final, while Robbins lost his semi 10-6.
Teale started the final strongly but a variation of blade strokes and timing of attacks from his opponent took over and he lost the final 10-6.
All the Prior Park fencers secured places in the national finals, which are due to be held in May, as a result of their efforts.
In the under 10 girls section, Preston faced a difficult seeding pool against opponents with greater experience than her, but she achieved qualification to the next round.
Her direct elimination matches were nip and tuck affairs, with Preston not allowing her opponents to ever get more than one point ahead.
With 10 seconds left in her semi-final, with the score tied at 9-9, Preston allowed her opponent to chase her, responding with a strong parry and perfectly timed riposte to win 10-9.
Preston lost her semi-final to the eventual winner, taking the match to 9-9 before narrowly missing her opponent as she attacked. Despite the defeat, Preston secured a bronze medal in her first competition and booked her place at the national championships.
In the under 12 boys group, Jubril Amzart reached the last 16 and Ben Simmonds the quarter-finals.
Prior Park coach Neil Bromley was thrilled with his fencers’ strong performances, saying: “We have a young and developing squad at the school all of whom love their fencing and enjoy winning. With hard work and continued focus, I am hopeful for more podium finishes in other competitions as we build to the nationals later in the year.”
Headmaster Mark Pearce added: “Securing three regional medals and four fencers guaranteed places at this year’s British National Championships is a great result and I am very proud of what they have achieved, especially as these were some of the youngest competitors there.”