Exhausted now, just about to wander off to bed, but I figured I should at least mention the Inverclyde Open today. In brief, there were 34 in the men's epee, and I came (equal) third - yay ! And rwrylsin won the women's sabre - double yay !
I didn't quite dominate the pool rounds the way I'd wanted to (4/6 bouts in each round), but managed to get going with good timing and distance in the DE, and won the first two bouts comfortably after leading both around 12 to 3 or 4 at the first period break (I had been expecting tougher bouts, the first opponent was someone I've fenced in training a few times, and we've always been fairly even, and the second was the person who beat me (15-14!) in the Glasgow Open in March). The third DE bout was against a Frenchman (there were four or five of them visiting from their club for this comp), and he happens to also be a tall right-hander who uses a French-grip epee - not pommelling it the way I do, though. We traded hits for a while, then he got ahead 7-4. I managed to get a few good hits in return, though, and levelled again at 8-8, and then we mostly double-hit our way to 12-12. Two more good hits and I was 14-12 up - and then two equally good returns, and we were back to level at 14-all. Given my past history of losing bouts 14-15, this might have been worrying, but I managed to make double hits out of his next two attacks, and then finally got a nice clear counter-attack to his shoulder. Yay, victory to me, a 15-14 score going my way at last.
Next was a semi-final, against a left-handed Italian. I started well, as he hadn't quite realised what distance I can hit people at (bwahahaha!) and got to 4-1 ahead. Then he figured things out and I sat back a bit, and he got 7 hits in a row - 8-4 his way. Normally that's the sort of lead that can win a bout, but I managed to fight my way back to 8-all, by realising that I needed to be pushing him backward to mess up his attempts to attack. Again, he got a couple of hits ahead, and again I clawed it back, up to 10-10, and then he got ahead one more time, to 12-11, and I caught up again. He got a hit ahead again, and then the intensity and effort of the DE bouts finally got to me, as I barely moved after the call of "fence" and got hit again, 14-12 to him. I knew I had to push forward again, but just couldn't quite land the point, and he landed the final hit to win 15-12. Whew.
(and he went on to win the final, after being behind most of the bout he came back and then snuck into the lead near the end and finished it off)
(as for rating the other stuff - food, water, equipment were all ok (after some last-minute rewiring jobs on Thursday and Friday), concentration improved through the day, could have done with more sleep (a few random wakings-up, plus some neighbors moving stuff around with bangs and crashes woke both of us at one point).)
So, overall quite happy with my performance - despite the pool rounds not being quite as good as I'd have hoped, I lifted up a level and got through some bouts that were potentially or actually quite hard. Let's hope I can do that at a few more competitions ...