Scottish fencers take the next steps at the Intermediate Championships

The inaugural Scottish Intermediates Championships took place at Linlithgow Academy on the 23rd and 24th May 2015. This competition is designed with the relatively new fencer in mind. Its aim is to provide a platform for those who are fairly inexperienced, but can no longer be considered novices, to succeed in a competitive environment more suited to their ability. It allows them to gain the necessary competition experience and helps to bridge the gap between beginners and more experienced levels of fencing.

Everything about this event is tailored towards giving the competitors increased experience, particularly with regards to direct elimination rounds. Future formats will include playoffs for the last 8 allowing for more fencing time, something crucial to successfully taking that next step.

While the championships itself may not receive ranking points, prizes include medals for first, second and third places. Additionally those who achieve gold also gain free entry to the Celtic Passport. The passport allows entry into two events at each of Scotland’s four biggest opens; the Highland, the M8, the Edinburgh and the Glasgow. Holders of the passport are also automatically entered into the Celtic Master-at-Arms trophy, where points from all four competitions and multiple weapons are accumulated to decide the overall Celtic Master-at-Arms. This encourages fencers to try their hands at more than one weapon and develop a greater understanding of fencing as a whole. With this prize comes plenty of further competitive action so that intermediate fencers can continue to familiarize themselves in competition. As such there is plenty on offer for those that participate in the Scottish Intermediates.

Saturday witnessed the men’s epee, women’s epee and women’s sabre events. The women’s sabre final was the first of the day featuring Lucy Higham, from Salle Ossian, and Laura Riddoch, representing Dundee University. Higham had seen off St. Andrews University’s Ulla Montonen in the semi final whilst Riddoch knocked out Jenny Zhan, also from St. Andrews, in their respective semi to set up a tantalizing final. Higham took control in the first half of the bout leading 8-1 over Riddoch at the break. The second half was a far closer affair but Higham took the gold and passport after winning 15-8.

The women’s epee final was next up on Saturday’s agenda. Both finalists, Katrina Dungay and Emma Robertson, were from West Fife Fencing Club and, with them knowing each other’s games inside out; we were in for a close match. Dungay had dispatched Strathclyde University’s Alex Wren, in their semi final, whilst Roberston edged out Carnoustie’s Caitlin Philbin in a closely fought encounter that finished 15-13. The final itself remained tight but Dungay took an early lead and managed to maintain it to the very end. The final score was 15-9 leaving Dungay to claim the gold and the free entry into the Celtic passport.

The last final on the Saturday was between Wallace Fencing Academy’s Ross Manson, and Strathclyde University’s Joe Manning. Manson had put out Dylan Morrison, from Salle Holyrood, and Manning triumphed against Glasgow University’s Daniel Bee in the semi final bouts. Once again it was another close affair but Manson was the man to take the gold and Celtic passport entry thanks to a 15-9 victory.

On Sunday the upbeat mood, that was prevalent throughout the first day, continued as the men’s foil, women’s foil and men’s sabre took centre stage. The women’s foil was the first final to occur between Fiona Coyle, from Salle Holyrood, and Chloe Campbell, of Stirling University. Campbell had advanced from the semi finals after beating Dundee City Club fencer Summer Shek, whereas Coyle had fended off the women’s epee gold medalist Katrina Dungay. In the final itself it was Coyle who emerged as the winner with a well-executed 15-10 victory.

In the men’s foil Wallace Fencing Academy’s Jack Douglas advanced to the final after beating Matthew Euston, from Herriot Watt, in the semi final. Douglas came up against epee bronze medallist, Dylan Morrison, in the final, after the Salle Holyrood based fencer knocked out Stirling University’s Kevin Linklater in their respective semi. In the battle for first it was Douglas who took the spoils with a 15-7 win.

The final of the Men’s Sabre, and indeed the final bout of the weekend, took place between Dundee University’s Antony Shek and Toby Carter, from Salle Ossian. In their semi final bouts Shek had knocked out Lewis Clough, of West Fife, and Carter had seen off Strathclyde University’s William McBride. Shek raced into an 8-3 lead against Carter at the break. Following a superb fight back from the young Ossian fencer Shek managed to hold out to eventually take the gold medal and passport entry after winning 15-11.

With the men’s sabre event concluding the competition all in attendance could reflect on a hugely successful weekend of fencing. Huge congratulations go to those who gave up their time to help make the Intermediates a very well run event, from those in DT, to referees and toastie makers. For the medal winners they can all focus on progressing their game further in an attempt to take the elite world by storm. For those who might not have come away with medal success they will have gained huge experience fencing competitively and can look forward to improving in their next taste of championship action. Well done to all the fencers that participated and here’s to next year’s intermediate championships!

Report by Alasdair Hooper.


Follow the Scottish Intermediates Championships on twitter: @scotinterfencing


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