> Shillingford leads comeback as the fencers carry on title charge
Making it to Plymouth University with two minutes to spare, the Men’s UWE Fencing Team dived right in with Nathaniel Lewis opening the foil and keeping pace with a better prepared Plymouth team.
Oscar Shave-Smithies kept the opposition from opening too wide a lead before Warren Shillingford was able to claw back a few hits, overcoming the effects of a concussion sustained two days previously. Despite this the home team had opened up a commanding lead going into the final fight and had only to run the clock down to carry over their advantage into the sabre match: however Shillingford was now fuelled up on sugar and paracetamol and the difference was plain for all to see; sustaining only 3 hits he powered through his opposition, scoring 19 hits in 3 minutes to leave the score 45-43 in UWE’s favour.
Carrying this narrow advantage into the sabre, Mike Smith opened against Plymouth’s top fencer and was initially hard pressed in the face of his opponents speed. However, hitting his stride later in the match, Smith was able to land multiple hits between the guard-lines, giving the Plymouth fencers scant chance to move out of range before they were repeatedly caught unawares. Shillingford carried his new found energy over from the foil, making good use of the piste and his unorthodox timing to frustrate Plymouth’s attempts at regaining the lead. Lewis was then able to capitalise on this already impressive lead, closing out the match with a comfortable score of 45-26 to UWE.
The Epee was then a simple matter of racking up 25 points or more, which the combined efforts of Matthew McFarlane, Ian Thompson, Lewis and substitute Shillingford found an easy task, with Lewis, McFarlane and Shillingford providing a solid foundation for Thompson to build on in the later stages of the match, ensuring a strong victory for UWE over their rivals. With this victory the team remain undefeated at the top of the league, with their eyes firmly fixed on promotion at the end of the season.
By Nathaniel Lewis