Highland Open - Results and full report

Men’s Sabre

1.Richard Wilbraham          Dundee City FC

2. Ben Stubbs                   Aberdeen City FC

3T. Keith Davidson            GWEFC

3T. Paul Vaughan              Salle OssianFC

Women’s Sabre

1.Lucy Higham                 Salle Ossian FC

2.Lorna Smith                  Strathclyde University FC

3T. Eleanor Akers             GWEFC

3T. Lucy Shardlow Austin  Friars FC

Women’s Epee

1. Camilla Costagliola        University of Aberdeen FC

2. Eleanor Akers               GWEFC

3T. Alex Wren                   Strathclyde University FC

3T. Alison Timmins            Wallace FC

Men’s Foil

         1. Keith Cook Salle           Salle Holyrood

         2. Alexandre Arbelet         Salle Holyrood

3T. Alasdair Urquhart        Culloden FC

3T. Jack Douglas              Salle Holyrood

Women’s Foil

1. Constance Philippe        Glasgow West End FC

         2. Kirsty Urquhart             Culloden FC

3T. Jenny McElroy             Orkney FC

3T. Jo Cook                      Salle Holyrood




The Highland Open Fencing Tournament

Last weekend (29 & 30 October), Elgin High School was the venue for the UK’s most northerly open fencing tournament where nearly 100 competitors from as far afield as Shetland and the North of England competed for the Highland Open Men’s, Women’s Foil, Epee and Sabre titles.

Hosted by Elgin Duellist Fencing Club, the competition also provided the opportunity for local club members to test their skills against the best fencers in the country.

The highlight of the weekend was the Men’s Foil final which saw Keith Cook, ex British fencing champion and 5 times Commonwealth Games medallist, successfully defend his Highland Open title against fellow Salle Holyrood team mate and ex Swiss Junior Team Member, Alexandre Arbelet in a closely fought final which eventually saw Cook pull ahead 15-9.

Culloden Fencing Club Coach and Scottish veteran team member Alasdair Urquhart secured a very respectable third place against a field of high calibre fencers. Elgin Duellists Andrew Yeats and Richard Strachan came in respectively 18th and 20th and for local GP Richard Strachan this was a very promising result being his first ever open competition since starting fencing just over a year ago.

While in the Women’s Foil category, Glasgow based Parisian, Constance Philippe, demonstrated her 25 years of fencing experience by beating Kirsty Urquhart from Culloden with a series of direct and indirect parry ripostes to win 15-4. In her first Highland Open, Elgin Duellist Karen Langley came 11th.

The Men’s Epee final saw Lancaster University Fencing Club member Chris Anwyl exchange hit for hit with the St Andrews University based Hanover student Patrick Opgenoorth before finally securing the decisive hit to win 15-14. Assistant Club Coach, Callum Sutherland secured the best result for the Elgin Duellists by gaining 12th place with Richard Strachan finishing in 17th place.

Adding to the European domination of this year’s tournament, Camilla Costagliola, from Naples, who is studying biomedical sciences at Aberdeen University used her long lunges to good effect to beat Glasgow West End fencer, Eleanor Akers, 15- 10 in the Women’s Epee final.

The Men’s Sabre final saw Dundee City fencer Richard Wilbraham demonstrate some agile footwork to go one better than his 2014 silver medal to win against Ben Stubbs of Aberdeen City FC 15-8. In his return to competitive fencing, assistant Elgin Duellist Club Coach, Alex Keddie secured a very commendable 6th place.

Scottish 5 Nations Team Member Lucy Higham from Salle Ossian overpowered Strathclyde University veteran Lorna Smith in the Women’s Sabre final. 

Robin Paterson, Secretary of the Highland Open Organising Committee and one of the coaches at Elgin Duellist Fencing Club said, “to attract so many high calibre fencers to the north of Scotland is truly inspiring for our club members. With free plastic fencing taster sessions offered to local primary school fencers in the same venue as some of these top Scottish and international fencers, the event had a very special feel to it this year. I hope in years to come, some of the young children who took part in the plastic fencing introductory taster sessions, will continue to be interested in fencing and go on to fence in this competition   

The 5 Elgin Duellist Fencing Club members who competed in this year’s Highland Open were: Callum Sutherland from Elgin (Men’s Epee), Andrew Yeats from Elgin (Men’s Foil), Richard Strachan from Buckie (Men’s Foil and Epee) Alex Keddie from Elgin (Men’s Sabre) and Karen Langley from Spey Bay (Women’s Sabre).

This is the fourth time that Elgin Duellist Fencing Club has hosted the Highland Open and it is the intention that the Club will once again run this competition next year.

Also during the weekend, Elgin Duellist and Culloden Club fencer, Oran McKenna (14) from Hopeman lost by one hit to come second in the Scottish  Under 15’s Boy’s Epee Youth Development Series. “This excellent result will go along way to support Oran’s bid to represent Scotland in the Challenge Wratislavia International Junior Competition in Poland next year”, added Robin Paterson.