Fencers hit top form in Inverness

Shetland Fencing Club travelled to Inverness at the weekend and pro­duced probably the best results in the several years of competing in this senior Scottish Open com­petition.

Nine fencers in all represented the Shetland club over two days of competitions, covering all three fencing weapons of foil, épée and sabre.

The men’s and women’s foil events were held on Saturday and from the earliest rounds of pools, it was clear that some good results were possible.

Following some tough fights against experienced fencers, Chris­topher Rocks made the final, Stephen Rocks the last eight and Paul Hibbert and Chris Hudson made the last 16.

Kyle Smith and Stephen Leask fenced confidently and showed good progress in their fencing achieving their highest positions in senior Opens.

Christopher Rocks finished the day’s competition by winning the gold medal by beating German fencer Sebastian Schulz in a close final.

In the women’s event Sophie Drosso made a confident start, winning all her pool fights except one. This gave her a good seeding for the direct elimination and she progressed well through to the semi-finals. Sophie started well, taking the lead, but her opponent fought back to edge a close fight, giving Sophie the bronze medal. Mhairi Gifford, in only her second competition away, worked hard to continue estab-lishing herself at this high level of competition.

On Sunday the fencers turned out early again for another long day, this time to compete in the épée and sabre.

Another successful day was in store as Christopher Rocks, now in his main weapon the épée, was looking to emulate his success on Saturday. Chris Hudson was also now fencing his main weapon as was Paul Hibbert.

Paul drew Neill Tannock, currently ranked 11th in Britain, and lost the fight resulting in a last place. Veteran Phil, returning to competitive fencing, and Kyle Smith both put up creditable performances to gain make the 32 and 16 respectively. Christopher and Chris made the last four, Chris losing a very close fight to Neill Tannock, and Christopher made the final to tackle Neill.

Despite now competing at all the major events across the UK, this was the first time that the two had met in a direct elimination round. The fight was tense and close all the way through and the only difference between them turned out to be the ability of Neill to land very fast attacks to the foot of Christopher. A well-deserved silver medal for Chris­topher and a bronze for Chris marked another excellent day for Shetland Fencing Club.

Sophie enjoyed a new challenge, fencing épée as her second weapon, and acquitting herself well.

In the sabre event Stephen Rocks again reached the last eight, while Mhairi and Stephen Leask continued to rack up good experience.

This season Shetland fencers are making big commitments to their fencing by travelling to all the major UK competitions.

Two weeks ago Stephen and Christopher were competing at one of the English Open com­petitions. There were over 80 fencers in each of the three weap­ons. Stephen fought in the sabre competition on the Saturday and did extremely well in all the rounds, winning all his fights to make the final. In a closely fought com­petition he won a bronze medal.

On the Sunday Christopher fought in the épée competition. Lke his brother he did very well in the rounds, missing the final by one hit and losing a close fight 25-14 to achieve fifth place.

Coach Andy Alderman said he was pleased with their performance, a consequence of all their fitness work and fencing in the Vidlin Hall over the summer.

If anyone is interested in taking up fencing the can contact Mr Alderman on (01806) 577239.


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