FENCERS from King Edward VI School’s Shakespeare’s Swords club turned on the style to clinch a magnificent seven medals at the British Youth Championships which were held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield over the recent bank holiday weekend.
There was a national title to celebrate as Sophia Potter of Henley-in-Arden School claimed glory in the final of the U14 girls’ sabre with victory over Swords club-mate Lizzie Moffat (KIng’s High School for Girls, Warwick).
Club captain William Halliwell led the charge in the U18 boys’ sabre after storming his way through to the final with a series of convincing victories. However, he was defeated 15-12 by the reigning British U20 champion in a very close final so had to settle for the silver medal.
In the U16 boys’ sabre, all six of the club’s fencers reached the round of 16 and four of those reached the quarter-finals – an excellent demonstration of the club’s strength in depth in this age group.
Tom Jackson, 15, fenced very well in his quarter-final fight to edge through 15-14, but was beaten 15-12 in a very close semi-final.
Barnaby Halliwell, 13, beat last year’s England U13 Champion 15-14 in the quarter-finals of the boys’ U14 event before his opponent in the semi-final raced into an 8-1 lead. Barnaby fought back well but could not overcome the deficit and was beaten 15-9.
In the U12 boys’ event, Felix Crabtree, 12, made excellent progress through the preliminary stages, winning all of his elimination fights comfortably, but he was stopped in the semi-finals by last year’s England U11 champion in a one-sided match.
This is the first time Tom, Barnaby and Felix have won a medal in a national championships, whilst Shakespeare’s Swords were the only club in the country to win a medal in every boys’ sabre event.
Sophia Potter and Lizzie Moffat, both 14, dominated the U14 girls’ sabre as they swept aside everybody else in very one-sided matches on their way to their inevitable meeting in the final.
The final was tense and started closely but Sophia managed to pull away to win 15-11 and claim her first British title.
Alice Moffat (King’s High School for Girls, Warwick), 17, won her fights in superb style on her way to a U18 girls’ semi-final.
Nobody scored more than three points against her in the earlier rounds and the semi-final was incredibly close, but she was narrowly beaten 15-14.
These excellent performances follow the two bronze medals won by Isabella Tomlinson, nine, and Max Mather, ten, (both Croft Preparatory School) at the British U10 Championships the previous weekend.
Head coach Daniel Redshaw said: “This is the club’s best performance at the British Youth Championships in over a decade. I’m very proud of the fencers’ great results at this event and it’s hugely rewarding to see all the effort put into training paying off.”
Fifty-five KES students are currently involved with Shakespeare’s Swords. Boys in years seven, eight, nine and ten are involved as an after school activity and when they reach year 11 are able to take fencing as a games option. The after school club is open to other children in the area, both boys and girls, from the age of eight.