Fencing is, according to a well-known womens magazine, the ultimate sport for acquiring a tight bum, a claim which seems highly probable following an afternoon spent watching the four-strong UCL womens squad on Wednesday February 18th. Both male and female teams have had an extremely successful season thus far, with the men away at Oxford battling it out for a place in the semi-final of the BUSA league, and the women at home to Lancaster, also in the quarter-finals.
Captain Surya Reis explained that this year, the fencing club have committed themselves to making the sport accessible to all and have spent most of their budget on weekly coaching sessions. Wendy, the club secretary, said that coach Pierre, a former Olympian, has brought about vast improvements in the standard and skill of members.
The mens competition involves three weapons - foil, sabre and épée, whereas the women fight with foil and épée only. There are nine bouts per weapon (a bout being won when one competitor scores five hits on target), with each team member fencing all three of the opposition.
UCL got off to an inauspicious start, represented in the first bout by Lea-Anne Lee, who lost after a close fight. The second bout with the foil was the most entertaining of the afternoon, punctuated with yelps and shrieks as Surya Reis and Lancasters Claudia gave vent to their frustration. Some vicious thigh-slapping on the part of the opposition appeared to spur her on to victory, with Lancaster now in the lead 2-0. Caroline Essex, the third UCL competitor with the foil, won two of her three bouts with a speedy, nimble style which outwitted the Lancastrians.
After five bouts UCL had won only one, but found an extra edge to take the remaining four, with Surya gaining a particularly impressive 5-0 victory in the final bout with the foil.After five bouts of the épée competition the score was seven all, and despite the valiant performance of Elisabeth Kjensfjord in an intense sixth bout, Lancaster took the lead again. UCL were still in with a chance with three bouts remaining, but the spirited efforts of Caroline, Surya and Lea-Anne they could not conquer the determined Lancaster squad, and lost the match seven bouts to eleven. The captain emphasised that the team had done exceptionally well to reach the quarter-finals and thanked her team-mates for their hard work throughout the year.
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