The 2015 GB Cadet Championships took place on 14th February at the University of East London’s fabulous Sports Dock arena. The event saw 301 fencers compete across all six weapons.
Fifty-one fencers took part in this event and after the first round Roo Whelan (Millfield) stood at the top of the rankings closely followed by Jack Cafaro (Llwantwit Major) – both undefeated. Both fencers earned themselves byes through the round of 64 and progressed to the semi-finals with little trouble. Josh Hellings (Plymouth) was ranked third after the poules and made it through to the quarterfinals before coming up against last year’s winner, George Morris. Morris had dropped a fight in the first round but had regained his form and progressed to the top four with a 15-6 victory. The fencer ranked fourth after the first round, Devlin Stigant (Redhill & Reigate Epee) went out in the round of 16 to seed twenty-five, Matthew Cooper (Wingerworth). Cooper went on to beat Tariq Roach (Brixton) 15-11 to complete the semi-final line-up.
Whelan’s dominant form continued in his march to the final as he beat Cooper 15-3. Morris joined him in the gold medal match beating Cafaro 15-11 in the other semi-final.
The final saw a contrast in styles with last year’s winner Morris being a more aggressive fencer than his opponent. That approach worked well for him in the first period as he took a 4-2 lead into the first break. Whelan picked up his pace at the start of the second period and quickly drew level but Morris adjusted his distance and regained a two-hit lead, 9-7, going into the final period. Again Whelan came out with higher intensity but more importantly got the perfect distance to employ his tactic of drawing Morris into attacking him and then picking him off. Whelan took the lead at 11-10 and held on to win 15-14.
In a competition with fifty-three competitors, seeding after the first round proved a reliable indicator of the final result as the top seven seeds made the quarterfinal stage and the top four went on to make the semi-finals. There, the number one seed, Laura Sheffield (Brixton) narrowly overcame Bethan Plant (Millfield), 12-11 but the number three seed, Danielle Lawson (Stourport) had an easier time in beating Victoria Hide (Team Newcastle) 15-7.
With Sheffield towering over Lawson in the gold medal match it was no surprise to see a contrast in styles. Sheffield was intent on building her hits from distance as Lawson tried to knock her opponent’s weapon out of the way before closing that distance. They more or less cancelled each other out in the first three minutes with Sheffield going into the first break 6-5 up. Lawson came out for the second period with much the same tactic as the first and the two traded hits until Sheffield was able to pick up two hits in a row to open up a 13-11 lead. Keen to try to close the gap quickly, Lawson pressed but to no avail as Sheffield took the national title with a 15-11 victory.
The largest field in all of the cadet events saw seventy-four men’s foilists compete for the national title. The number one seed after the first round, Dominic De Almeida (Fighting Fit) progressed to the semi-final stage with ease, dropping just eleven hits in three fights. He was joined by fourth seed, Harry Bird (Salle Boston) who lived up to his ranking. The number two seed, James Page (Newham Swords) lost to Matthew Abrahams (ZFW) 15-13 in the round of 64 but Abrahams missed out on a medal as he was defeated by Ben Bates (Bath Swords) 15-12 in their quarterfinal. The third seed, Euan Deamer (Crawley Swords) went out 15-14 in the round of 16 to Aiden Wooley (Fighting Fit) who completed the semi-final line-up. Two relatively one-sided fights followed as De Almeida beat Bird 15-8 and Bates cruised past Wooley 15-4.
Both De Almeida and Bates took a cautious approach to the start of the final but it was the fencer from Fighting Fit who broke away. De Almeida repeatedly drew Bates into attacking him so that he could parry and land his ripostes with an explosive change of direction. Bates did stage a mini-revival but trailed 13-5 at the first break. Going into the second period Bates appeared intent on trying to close the gap by attacking but De Almeida was able to land another parry riposte followed by an attack of his own to take the 2015 title 15-5.
Fifty-three fencers took part in this event and after the first round Yasmin Campbell (Fighting Fit) and Alice Campbell (Newham Swords) topped the ranking list. Yasmin made it through to the semi-finals without much trouble but Alice was beaten 15-9 by Madeleine Whitfield (Laszlo) in the round of 16. Whitfield then fell 15-13 to Isabella Gill (Salle Paul). In the bottom half of the draw, third seed Seville Babaeva (Escrime Academy) made it through to the semi-final stage despite a closely fought contest with Jade Rowland (unattached) in the quarterfinals, which she won 15-13. The number five seed, Beth Ellis (Wrekin Swords) steadily progressed to the final last four spot with only Kayleigh De Lange (Salle Oxon) taking her to double figures (15-10) in the quarterfinals. Gill made light work of the first semi-final beating Babaeva 15-4 and was joined by Campbell who beat Ellis 15-9.
The final was the second fight of the day between Gill and Campbell with the fencers having met in first round – Campbell winning 5-3. A more assured start from Gill saw her establish the lead before the momentum shifted in Campbell’s favour. It was Gill though, who reestablished her dominance, leading 9-4 at the first break. Her ability to pick up Campbell’s blade both in attack and defence was the telling difference in the opening period. Both fencers came out for the second period with a more measured approach. Gill had no need to take any unnecessary risks and Campbell looked to prepare her efforts more carefully. The tactic paid off for Campbell as she landed a variety of hits to close within one at 12-11. The next hit was awarded to Gill with Campbell convinced that her attack had gone through the Salle Paul fencer’s parry. The decision appeared to affect Campbell and Gill went on to take the title 15-11.
Forty-three competitors took to the piste in this event and it was no surprise to see fencers from Camden and Truro topping the table after the first round. George Suddards (Camden), ranked number one, made it through to the semi-finals comfortably and was joined by Jamie Craze (Truro) and Eden Amsalem (Camden) who were ranked second equal. Caspian Watt (Shakespeare Swords) completed the draw for the semi-finals where he faced Suddards. Despite putting up a great fight Watt could not get passed the Camden fencer and lost 15-12. The other semi-final was another Truro versus Camden affair as Craze went through 15-12 over Amsalem.
Craze – last year’s silver medalist – started the final by taking a two-hit lead only to be pegged back by Suddards. The aggressive approach adopted by both fencers made the first period a physical affair with most of the action taking place in the middle of the piste. Craze took a slender 8-7 hit into the break. A false start from Craze at the beginning of the second period earned him a card. Despite this, it was the Truro fencer who kept edging ahead but Suddards was able to stay in touch. Another false start from Craze when he was 13-12 up saw the Camden fencer draw level and then go into the lead for the first time in the period. Craze settled and after a couple of simultaneous calls he powered down the piste to draw level with a long attack. Both fencers continued to attack each other but with no clear right of way. It was Suddards who then decided to look for a ducking parry riposte but failed to find the blade and Jamie Craze took the championship title 15-14 with an attack.
Only twenty-seven fencers entered this event where Caitlin Maxwell (Truro), Jessica Corby (Salle Ossian) and Maria Chart (Truro) came through the first round without losing a fight. Maxwell made light work of getting through to the semi-finals and was joined by Corby who just squeezed past Ella Nightingale (Rivington Park) 15-13 in her quarterfinal. Chart’s day was ended in the round of 16 by Gabrielle Black (Camden) but Black then lost 15-10 to teammate Shreya Anil. Seed four, Chloe Halliwell (Shalespeare Swords) completed the semi-final line-up even though she was drawn in the same first round poule as Corby. Both Maxwell and Corby made their semi-final matches look easy beating Halliwell (15-6) and Anil (15-8) respectively.
Maxwell came out for the final with a determined approach and quickly took the lead. Corby’s attempts to attack into the Truro fencer’s preparation were not successful often enough as Maxwell took an 8-3 lead into the break. Corby’s tactics worked much better in the second half of the fight as she began to land a combination of long attacks, attacks into preparation and parry ripostes to close within two hits at 12-10. However, Maxwell steely nerve and excellent distance work saw her take the fight and the national title with it, 15-11.
As always, British Fencing would like to thank the tireless efforts of all of the volunteers who made these championships possible. Their efforts do not go unnoticed. We would also like to thank our Premier Partner, Beazley and Official Equipment Supplier, Leon Paul.
You can find the full results of both the Cadet & Junior events here.
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