This is the third year the competition has been held and for the first time all four of the British offshore islands – Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey – who have participated to date will be present.On current form, two of Jersey’s Commonwealth Fencing Federation representatives in Australia in 2002, Nigel Beadsworth and Kevin Lees, will form the core of the epée team.
Beadsworth finished 16th in Australia while Lees, who also competed in the Commonwealth Veterans Championships earlier this year, where he finished eighth, has been building up competition experience this season at a series of British open events.
Beadsworth will also compete at foil.At sabre the Island is hoping to be able to field a former England international, Matt Thomson, who retired from competitive fencing shortly after coming to Jersey several years ago but who has been contemplating a comeback.
Provided his training programme goes according to plan he is likely to be the lynch-pin of the sabre team.Competition organiser Jim Drew, could easily secure a place in more than one team but will probably fence in one weapon to allow himself time enough to look after the tournament.Robin Dupré, who at 53 is the oldest Jersey fencer in contention for a place, is a probable choice for the foil team and could be asked to fence with at least one other weapon.Rychlund Aldridge is a contender for the third place in the epée team, Alan Ley could be part of the sabre team and all-rounder Neill Stoddart could be asked to fence with any of the three weapons.Andrew Paine, who has not fenced for some time, is also a contender.For team events, each of the three fencers in a team will fight each of the opposing team in turn.Scores are accumulated and the winning team is the first to reach 45.
The fencers change when the score reaches a mutiple of five (for example 5-something, 10-something, 15-something, etc) or after three minutes of fencing time has elapsed.
This format enables two strong fencers to ‘carry’ a weaker member – last year one of the Isle of Wight’s teams came close to winning largely through the efforts of just one fencer.