Photo courtesy of UKC Fencing. Men's First Team from left to right: Moses Konsue, Mikkel Totland, Pat Stillman, Jed Kellaway (cap), and Jules Claeys.
Fencing UKC Men’s Second Team won their semi-final against King’s College Second Team with the last point of the match, setting up the first-ever all-Kent final in the England South-Eastern Conference Cup.
Tom Estruch (captain) won the vital point in a high-intensity match in London. King’s had beaten them in the league earlier in the season and the boys were determined to get the win.
Estruch recalled the crucial sabre bout: “It was neck and neck. If I had conceded a point we would have lost and I had just lost four in a row. I came off the line and had a plan in my head to push him to the end of the piste and finish the attack.
“I just had to try something different. If we don’t get that touch we’re not going through. Instincts took over and I just did a foil counter-attack instead which isn’t generally used in sabre.”
That move won the match and news quickly reached Essex. “I got a recording from the Men’s First Team of them all celebrating” explained Estruch.
“When you’re in that situation on the piste and it’s that tense you’re not always thinking straight. It’s always a massive difference when you’re in a competition, especially one of that intensity. You’ve just got to dig deep and keep going.”
Kent had earlier won foil with great work from Ben Alison to come back from 40-38 down to win 45-43. The match finished tied at 131-131 but Kent went through having won two out of three weapons.
Kent Men’s First Team beat Essex Firsts 133-98 in the other semi-final, having already won promotion by finishing top of their league.
Photo courtesy of UKC Fencing. Men's Second Team from left to right:
Cian McGaughey, Adam Hogarth, Ben Alison and Wai On carry Tom Estruch (cap).
But they took no chances away from home against their toughest opposition this season. Epeeist Mikkel Totland explained how they chose the weapon order for the match.
“With sabre we can go in and do big slashes” said Totland. “Then we go into foil and epee in succession as they both require point control, so are similar in that sense. With epee last it’s easier to chase points as the double counts.
“One of the biggest moments was in sabre with Jed Kellaway our captain fencing with their anchor. He fenced better than I think I’ve ever seen him fence sabre.”
Totland gave his predictions for the final: “I think the outcome is inevitable. They are going to work hard and really push us for all its worth and we are going to crush them as hard as we can.”
The final on 11 March will be a celebration of UKC Fencing’s all-round success this year and the club is encouraging anyone curious about fencing to come and support the event.