Fencing:Jersey win inaugural Ansbacher Bowl match

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The competition was the British Islands fencing competition and was held at Fort Regent over the weekend with teams from the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey taking part.One of the event organisers, Jim Drew, said that the feedback he had received from the visiting teams had been excellent.’So many of them came up to me and said how much they had enjoyed themselves – and to be honest, with the overall result going right down to that last bout, and Jersey winning with just two hits – you couldn’t stage-manage a finish like that!’He said that the high standard of competition was underlined by the fact that in a day-and-a-half of fighting, 1,500 hits had been scored and, in the end, the win came down to just two hits.’The atmosphere in the hall was electric.

The crowd – and I have to admit it was rather partisan – was cheering Nigel Beadsworth on, and as each fencer made a hit they were roaring their success.

We had to win by 45-30 or better, and in the end it was 45-29.

It was fantastic.’The win was a team effort, with each of the three fencers in each discipline – foil, epée and sabre – involved in the competition, each team of three fencers fighting each of the opposing team in turn.Jersey’s foil team, Nigel Beadsworth, Robin Dupré and Andrew Paine got off to an excellent start by beating the Isle of Man 43-20 on time, then beating the Isle of Wight by a similar margin.Guernsey’s foil team beat the two English sides also so the final foil match between the two Channel Islands was vital – and although Guernsey won 39-34 the points accumulated by Jersey in their other matches gave them the overall foil win.In the sabre competition Drew, Alan Ley and Neil Stoddart had some very stiff competition from Guernsey’s Martin Corbett, Rob Harnish and Rob Muir – two of whom are members of the clergy who, it was whispered, could attribute at least part of their overwhelming success to a little divine assistance.Although Jersey beat their Manx counterparts they lost by just two hits to the Vectis side.Guernsey finished top on day one, 44 points ahead of the rest, but Jersey’s epée team – Beadsworth who finished 16th at Commonwealth level and Kevin Lees who was eighth at Commonwealth Veterans’ level, plus Drew and Dupré who fenced alternate games – had no intention of letting the Sarnians get away.

The home team needed a 14-point margin to win and Beadsworth guided his team through to take Jersey into a substantial lead.

In that final bout Beadsworth met Meyrick Simmonds and they traded hits, to vocal support from their respective teams – with the entire Jersey contingent seeing Beadsworth take the last two decisive hits, leaving Jersey the winners of both the epée and the overall competition to win the Ansbacher Bowl.Drew said: ‘Lots of the competitors from all the islands have already said they’ll be here next year, winners and losers alike, they were really chuffed by the whole event.

We’re hopeful that the Shetland will be here next year, and Gotland are very keen to come.

The fact that these teams are prepared to come to Jersey every year and fence to such a high standard is a real incentive to do more.’The competition was supported by Education Sport and Culture and the management and staff at Fort Regent.

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