The BVF Championships 2021 took place on the 29-31 October at the Manchester Fencing Centre. This was the first qualifying event of the year (one of three events from which the top two results are taken to score points to qualify for the European Teams and the World Championships) and the stakes were high.
The event started on Friday with the Foil. There were 39 fencers in the men’s event and 31 in the women’s, which was a good showing, considering fencing has only been allowed for a few months after lockdown.
In the men’s event Alex Ellison and Paul Stanbridge, both Cat 1s, took out some big hitters on their way to the semi-final, with Alex finally knocking out Paul in a nail-biting 10-9 match to reach the final. In the other half of the draw John Troiano won through to meet Paul Veazey in the semi-final which was won 9-6 by Paul. The final was a hard fought match, with Alex winning 10-8 to become BVF Men’s Foil Champion 2021. Cat 2 Champion was Paul Abrahams, John Troiano won the Cat 3 Champion’s medal as well as the bronze and Brian Causton became Cat 4 Champion.
In the women’s foil Cat 1 Beatrice Taylor powered her way through to the semi-final against Fiona Turnbull, which Beatrice went on to win 10-2. The other semi-finalists were Marion Thomas and Amanda Baxendale who had a very tough fight which Marion won 10-9. The final was a tight one with Beatrice taking the gold medal 8-7 to become BVF Women’s Foil Champion 2021. Marion added the Cat 2 Champion’s medal to her silver, Fiona Turnbull became the Cat 3 Champion and Kate Harris from Louth won the Cat 4 medal.
Saturday was the day of the Epee, which had attracted a large field of 73 men and 32 women. The day got off to a difficult start as one of the fencers collapsed on the piste and was taken to hospital. Fortunately I am able to report that after a night in hospital he is now recovering at home.
Cat 1 Greg Allen made it to the semi-final, taking out Chris Howser on the way, to come up against John Leahey. Greg won the match 10-4 to progress on to the final. In the other half, Robert Flatt made his way to the semi-final where he met Neal Mallett. The semi was a tough one, which saw Neal winning 10-8 to make his way to the final against Greg which Greg went on to win 10-5, taking the title of BVF Men’s Epee Champion 2021, and also Cat 1 Champion. Neal Mallett was not only silver medallist, but also Cat 3 Champion and bronze medallist Robert Flatt was awarded the Cat 2 Champion’s medal, despite having tied third with John Leahy, because Robert had a higher seeding after the pools. Bill Osbaldeston was the highest placed Cat 4 and won the Cat 4 Champion’s medal.
In the top half of the women’s draw, Georgina Usher cruised to the semi final, where she met Christine Steiner. Georgina won through 10-6 to earn her place in the final. In the other semi-final, Denise Silk met Ruth Silverstone, with Ruth coming out on top 10-8. In the final, Ruth couldn’t quite summon up the same form she had shown in previous rounds, with Georgina winning 10-4 to become BVF Women’s Epee Champion 2021. Denise Silk won the Cat 2 Champion’s medal, Fiona Turnbull was Cat 3 Champion and Marilyn Hardy took the Cat 4 Champion’s title.
The Sabre competition was held on the Sunday, with 43 men and 19 women taking part on a very rainy day. Before everything kicked off, a minute’s silence was held in memory of the sartorially elegant, irrepressible coach and fencing friend, Dennis Hunt who had died earlier in the week.
Venue owner Mike Swiffin blazed his way to the semi-finals where he met Alex Ellison, who had won the Foil on the Friday. A tense match in front of the Manchester Fencing Centre crew ended up with Mike narrowly losing 10-9 in a thrilling fight. Meanwhile, in the other half, Steve Pope met Emmanuel Therond in the semi, with Steve blasting through to the final 10-1. Steve continued his good form against Alex in the final, winning the BVF Men’s Sabre Championship 2021 10-5. The Cat 2 Championship medal went to Emmanuel Therond, the Cat 3 medal was won by Ev Van Gemeren and Carl Morris was Cat 4 Champion.
In the women’s sabre, Cat 4 Viv Frith showed amazing form to reach the semi-final with Beth Davidson, which Beth went on to win 10-4. Caroline Martin fought well to reach the other semi final against Jane Hutchison which Jane won 10-4. The final and title of BVF Womens Sabre Champion 2021 was taken by Beth Davidson who beat Jane 10-4. Jane won silver and also the Cat 3 medal, with Ros Graham winning the Cat 1 medal and Viv Frith winning bronze and the Cat 4 medal.
Master at Arms
The Men’s and Women’s Champion at Arms titles were won by Alex Ellison and Jane Hutchison. What an amazing pair!
If you want to go through the results in detail, they are available here>>>
As always, there is a huge list of people to thank for organising such a large event. The smooth running of any event is no coincidence and so here goes…
- Marcia – event manager
- Lindsay – co-organiser
- Mike, Phil, Peter and Lyn on DT
- Janet on the armoury
- All the referees
- Bill the medic
- Mike the venue host
- All the staff and helpers at the Manchester Fencing Centre
- Everyone else I have forgotten – and there is bound to be at least one!
All that is left to say is that this was a fantastic competition with lots of new faces joining in with the old ones. We hope you all had a smashing time and join us again at the next BVF event.