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10THESWORDJANUARY2015UncommonHealthCommonwealthByRichardCohenThisyearsCommonwealthsinLargsweretherstchampionshipsorwhichIdidnotcontendoraplacesinceImadetheEnglishteamin97.Idontthinkmy4yearsoparticipationisarecord-GeorgeListonseemsasindestructibleaseverandaspartotheScottishepeegangthisyearnotonlycameacreditable6thouto6butalsohelpedhisteamtoabronzemedalwinningthenallegagainstDudleyTredegarthenewly-crownedCommonwealthchampioninareneticbouthitsto.IwishIhadbeentherenotleastbecausemydaughterMarywasintheEnglishepeeteam.MaybenexttimeaterallIllbeonly7anditheykeeponchangingthesabrerulesitmaynotbenecessarytomovethatmuch.Sowhatelsehaschangedsince97ObviouslyonegreatdiferenceisthatthosechampionshipsheldinEdinburghwerepartothemainCommonwealthGames.FouryearslaterwiththeGamesinNewZealandthehostcountrythrewoutencingandreplaceditwithshootingwhichitconsideredabettercrowd-puller.EdinburghwasenormousunbuttheEnglishteamjustninemenandthreewomensodominatedtheeventsthatwenotchedupsevenotheeightgoldsonoferplustwosilversandthreebronzes.ApartromtheourhomecountriesAustraliaCanadaandNewZealandtookpartoneotheiroilistsmakingthenalpoulealthoughamazinglyhehadonlyonearmbutIdontthinkanyoneelse.InOttawaouryearslatersometyencersandocialsromthehomecountriesattended.AndyEameswontheoilbeinghitonlyeighttimesinthesix-mannalNorthernIrelandwasnottowinanotherCommonwealthtitletillwithEloiseSmith.ItreallywasamakeweightchampionshipssomuchsothatCanadaashostswereallowedtoentertwoteamswinningsilverandbronzemedalsinthesabreauniquedouble.WelshmenwontheteamepeehasthatbeenequaledsinceIn978thechampionshipswereinScotlandagainatJordanhillCollegeGlasgowencersromeightcountries.ThenewentrywastheIsleoManwhichcontributedateamosixaconsiderableadvanceonitsone-manoilisto96.Duringthetotalomorethanboutsinoilandepeesomehundredwarningswereissued.EnglandagainwonsevenotheeightgoldsbuttheencerothechampionshipswasAustralianGregBenkowhowonsilvermedalsinepeeindividualandoilteambronzeinepeeteamandsabreindividualandaplaceintheindividualoilnal.Hewasinjuredbeorethesaberteamorhistallysurelynevertobesurpassedcouldhavebeengreater.FouryearsonthevenuewasBarnstapleinDevonwithadiferenteightteamsnoIsleoManthenewcomersbeingTrinidadandTobago.Englandagainwonsevengoldstheironeailurebeingintheteamsabrewheninthenalboutwiththescore4-4JeanPaulBanosoCanadatookthedecidinghittheonlytimethatanycountryhasdisruptedEnglandsmarchtosabreteamgoldsinceCanadawerevictorsbackin94.In986thechampionshipsmovedtoCardifthersttimetheyhadbeenheldinWales.Sostretchedweretheorganizersthatmanyothehelpershadneverseenencingbeoreandatonepointasixteen-year-oldnon-encerpresidedanepeeboutinvolvingatopCanadianChouinard.LuckilynothingateuloccurredChouinardendedupwithabronzealthoughhistorydoesntrelatewhethertheteenagerevertookupencingintheatermath.TencountriescompetedandorthersttimewomensepeewasincludedalthoughnomedalswereawardedandalsotherstinwhichEnglanddidnothogthelimelight.CanadaendedwithelevenmedalstoEnglandseightatlastthehegemonyotheentitledEnglishhadbeenbreached.ThelargestCommonwealthchampionshipsheldtodate6encersromourteencountriestookplaceinStockportin99.Canadawasagaintheleadingnationtakingsevenoutotengoldsaswellastwosilvertwobronzeandtwoourths.InthelasteightothesabreelectricorthersttimeIcameupagainstScotlandsRoryCowaninaboutthatTheSwordsaidlookedlikelytoturnnasty.Cowansrstattempttotesttheapparatusailedandasubsequentviciouscircularcuttochestresultedinhimreceivingawarning.ImustconessIdidnteelathing.TheCommonwealthsweregettingbigger.InMaryCohenWinsaBronzeMedalintheWomensIndividualEpeeatthe4CommonwealthChampionshipsLargs.photoGrahamMorrison