The pool round got the day off to a good start - won 4 out of 5 bouts, and the loss was close (4-5), and the wins were all 5-2 or 5-1 - that put me into the Direct Elimination phase seeded 8th, a pretty good place to be.
There was a bit of waiting around after the pools, as they ran the (incomplete) round-of-128 part of the tableau. When I finally did get on for my first DE bout, I was getting a little nervous (always seems to strike before the first bout in particular). Fortunately, the bout went comfortably my way (15-3) against a probably-junior fencer from NSW - it felt a bit mean, but on the other hand, I've been on the receiving end of that sort of scoreline in the past, and he didn't seem to have any answers against someone with my height and reach.
The next bout was against a fellow veteran (40+), and was very close all the way - lots of double-hits, we reached 13-all in a blink. I got the next hit doing something that could almost be seen as "second intention" if you squinted at it right, and then closed out with yet another double hit, 15-14.
Last-16 bout was against another NSW fencer, one I've never fenced before. This was also close, the lead changed back and forth a few times, and we ended up at 13-all again. Fortunately I got two hits in a row to close out the bout, 15-13.
That earned me a place in the last 8, only the second time I've got that far in Australian national-level tournaments - the previous time was quite a while back, possibly 2001 or so.
My quarter final opponent was someone I'd been hoping to fence - Seamus Robinson, arguably Australia's best male epeeist for most of the last 22 years.
The bout started well, I got the first hit within 5 seconds of the start. Unfortunately, Seamus hasn't lost his reflexive parry-bind-flick-to-foot action, and got to use it quite a few times in the bout - score was 3-6 at the end of the first period, 5-10 at the second, and finished (with 3 seconds left in the third period) at 10-15.
Overall, I was pretty happy with this tournament - especially in comparison with the last two national tournaments I competed in, where each time I lost my first DE bout to veteran fencers that I felt I should have beaten. Maybe now I'm taking on the role of "sneaky veteran that beats the youngsters" rather than losing to that type ?
Anyway, this has been a pretty good year for me in fencing so far, and in a couple of months, I'm planning to do it all over again in the State Championships (and toying with the idea of a trip to Canberra for the Nationals !).
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