David Cook (davidcook) wrote,
David Cook
davidcook

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Fencing update !

Three fencing tournaments so far this year to report on :
"Pre-AFC1" (in other words, the State Open tournament held two weeks prior to the first National Open event of the year (Australian Fencing Circuit #1)),
"AFC1" (aka the D.H. McKenzie),
and "Pre-AFC2".

Pre-AFC1 was held early in March. Unfortunately, the Fencing Victoria website hasn't yet been updated with the tournament details to jog my memory - pretty sure the pool round went ok, I either lost one bout or won them all. First DE bout went ok, putting me into the last 8, but then I lost to the current Australian National Champion, scoreline around 10-15 - I got 4 or 5 hits behind early in the bout, changed tactics and managed to keep level after that, but wasn't able to pull it back.

AFC1 was also in March (two weeks after the first one, obviously). For that, at least, full detailed results are available online. I had a pretty good pool round, 4 wins and one loss, but I was a bit frustrated at not winning the final bout - it felt possible, I just didn't quite put it together at the time. Ended up seeded 13th into the DE (out of 71).
First DE bout was against someone from my club - always unfortunate when that happens, since we've fenced each other a few times in training, and I've usually won. The bout was close in the first period, but I lifted a gear in the second and won 15-8.
Second DE bout I lost, 13-15 - I struggled at the start, and was down 4-8 at the first break. A slight change in tactics after that (pressuring rather than pushing for hits) saw me claw it back, and a full-length lunge with a hit to a tiny exposed bit of hand edged me in front, 11-10, at the second break. After that, my opponent set up a couple of good hits and got ahead, and as time started to run out I was back to pushing for hits, and getting double-hits at best.
Final position 23rd - not what I wanted, but I was generally happy with the way I'd fenced on the day.

Finally, Pre-AFC2.
I tweeted this afterwards:
Today's fencing, in numbers: pool 4V0D, +11, 3rd seed. DE: 15-7 v Tayler, P; 15-8 v Osvath, P; 15-11 v Robinson, S; 15-9 v Bianchin, M

I think the best way to describe my fencing was "on fire" - and that semi-final scoreline underlines that - "Robinson, S", known by a generation of Australian epeeists as simply Seamus, three-time National Champion in epee (possibly four, unless there was a coincidentally-named "W. Robinson" around in the 90s), also a World Cadet (under-17) Champion back in 1991.

I'd never previously beaten him in a competition DE bout - my few pool bout wins, and one 15-hit training bout, are etched in my memory as highlights from the 17 years since I first faced him.
I lost to him in last year's AFC competition in Melbourne, and again in the State Championships, and I've never really come up with a strategy that would counter his incredible skills and experience of fencing.
I'm still not completely sure what I did differently, or better than before, but it worked from the start (up to a 7-2 lead early), faded a bit while he caught up and I tried to catch my breath (7-6), and then I got back on top, pulling ahead to 10-6, then 12-8, and then finishing it off.

Of course, I had to re-focus for the final, and my opponent there had just comfortably beaten last year's National Champion in his semi-final, so he was also having a good day. This one started close, level at 5-all at the first break, but I got the next hit after the resumption, and never looked back after that, out-scoring him 10-4 in the period.

So my State results since the start of last year go 5, 5, 1, 3, 5, 1 - not bad for a veteran !



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