PREVIEW: Fencing

PREVIEW: Fencing

Prior to last year’s Stan Calvert, Newcastle University had not tasted defeat in six consecutive editions of the competition which made the end of this marvellous run an even more bitter pill to swallow. With the expectations rising high as always, the former champions are now looking to dethrone Northumbria and the exploitation of their significant advantage in some departments should prove to be instrumental in achieving that goal.

Newcastle’s fencing contingent has been steady as a rock in the past few seasons thereby earning the reputation of a favourite in every single match both in the male and female leagues. Last year, the fencers brought the Uni four valuable Stan Calvert points with two convincing victories to live up to this dominant status. A glance at their recent form suggests an inevitable déjà vu in the upcoming battle against Northumbria.

Nine wins and just a single loss have cemented Newcastle’s Men at the top of the BUCS Premier North division (27 pts) sharing that position with a dangerous opponent in the shape of Durham. It was exactly Durham who got the better of The Three Musketeers – Daniel Ming, Sam Ridley and Daniel Remedios – in a close encounter last December (130-109). However, that rare misfortune has in no way frustrated Newcastle’s blades before the crucial local derby in March.

“The guys’ and girls’ teams are feeling confident going head to head with Poly at Stan Calvert this year following an incredible season so far”, Danny Ming reassured us.

“Having put in big wins in the clash against Northumbria last year, I can almost guarantee the max number of points for Team Newcastle on our current form. There can be surprises in any sport, but we are doing our best in training to make sure we put them to the sword”.

In contrast to their male colleagues, Newcastle’s women have struggled to replicate their impeccable performance from the previous campaign. After falling to Durham, Edinburgh and St. Andrews in a row, the fencing ladies dropped to 4th place in their Premier North division. To some extent, that deterioration has perhaps been caused by the retirement of sisters Elena and Madlen Ivanovi who embarked on an year abroad in the beginning of the season. In their absence, Molly Jowsey now fights side by side with other promising teammates Ellie Irwin and Daisy Billowes. Despite their negative record, Newcastle’s Women will still take on Northumbria in the role of front-runners.

Meanwhile, the entire fencing team has been moved into a big new purpose build centre where Newcastle will enjoy some of, if not the best, facilities in the country. An upgrade their Stan Calvert rivals would probably not be happy to find out about.

Peter Georgiev