by Joe Keep
The 17th of October saw Bangor’s fencing team have their first match of the new season. After a fairly successful season in 2011-2012, where they won the BUCS Men’s Northern 2A, they were keen to play host to a recently reformed Huddersfield side. As the time drew closer to the first clashing of blades, the guys, Simon Williams, team captain, James Hudak, A.K.A Nibbles, Matthew Ellis, Will Jobson, Sean Boyle, James Stewart, A.K.A Hat-man, and Bede West, began their warm ups.
The competition saw the team enter into a relay format, one which uses all three fencing weapons; the foil, epee and sabre. With the guys winding down their warm ups, the Huddersfield team arrived, fresh from their lengthy train journey, itching to get the competition underway. The first leg saw the sabre being used, with Boyle, Will and Hat-man taking part. The leg was closely contested, with all three guys making great progress against an impressive Huddersfield unit. Boyle put in a strong opening fight, Hat-man played a tactful game, making use of Huddersfield’s aggressive nature and Will countered aggression with aggression. However, Huddersfield’s captain, Nathan, led the way, scoring considerable points, alongside his cohort of Rich and Sam, who had good fights, nicking vital points as the fight progressed. This was met by a brave Bangor defence, with strong offensive options as well as some impressive counter attacking work. With the scores tallied up, the first leg ended up 42-45, to Huddersfield. Despite losing the leg, the gap was marginal, allowing Bangor to keep within touching distance as they progressed into the second leg, utilising the foil.
The second leg, opened by Bede, saw a similar pattern occur with Bangor holding a convincing lead from the start. This was compounded by impressive fights by Nibbles, who used his time as a spectator in the first leg to his advantage in countering the various onslaughts Huddersfield presented, and Matt, who followed Bede’s lead with a strong offensive, not allowing his opponent to get the advantage. This allowed the lead to be extended beyond Huddersfield’s reach from the outset, despite a strong middle section of the fight by Huddersfield. Captain Simon ensured that this continued by subbing the experienced Boyle for Nibbles in the latter stages. This proved tactically genius, as Bangor strolled to a hefty win of 45-24. Advantage Bangor, at 87-69 overall, as they progressed to the third and final weapon, the epee.
The third and final leg was a tense affair; Captain Simon was issuing words of advice and encouragement between his pacing, as he knew this was a make or break moment. This timidity was seized upon by Huddersfield taking an early, but slender, lead. However, with a continued aggressive stance interlocked with clever counter attacking, Huddersfield started to put daylight between themselves and Bangor. Bangor replied dutifully, closing the gap through some excellent fencing by Boyle, who took a conservative role, breaking the defensive role played by Huddersfield, making them chase the points. Driven on by this tension, Simon followed up with a compelling performance, matching Huddersfield lunge for lunge. Leading by example it seemed, Simon had shown Will that Huddersfield could be broken, and the match began to appear in favour of Bangor. As the final point was landed, tensions were high as an overall score was to be announced, and winners would reap the benefits of a great start to the season. With Bangor’s win in the third leg, at 45-40, along with their second leg dominance, they were keen to find out if their first leg performance would be a hindrance.
The final scores totted up, and both teams waited tensely. The final score came out 132-109 in favour of Bangor! As they celebrated with gusto, they were kind enough to offer condolences to Huddersfield and congratulate them on a well fought set of fights. Simon went on to say, ‘This is a great start to the season for the team, with a great performance underlined with a good win under our belts. I also want to pass on congratulations to Huddersfield for a great fight which saw the competition go to the wire.’
If you want to catch Bangor in action, they are next at home to Liverpool on the 7th of November, but their next excursions see them heading to Sheffield on the 24th of October, closely followed by the return leg against Huddersfield on the 31st of October.
Wrote by Joe Keep