Coach, Sue Benney: “A brilliant result from an event we were using for training.”
2012 has so far proved to be a successful one for Great Britain’s junior fencers. This continued on the weekend of 4/5 February when 17 year old Phillip Marsh, from Bath beat compatriot, 18 year old Jack Hudson based in Texas (USA).
Both fencers had difficult starts to the tournament winning only three of their six poule fights. In the round of 256 Hudson comfortably beat Wiegell (DEN) and Marsh came through against Ibrahim (USA). However, due to their lowly ranking, both had extremely tough fights in the following round.
Hudson’s route to the final began with a fight against Lucani (FRA) that was tight throughout. At 14-all the strong Frenchman elected to fleche with 3 seconds left on the clock, giving Hudson time and space to take the winning hit on the counter. A controversial start to the next bout saw Hudson awarded a hit which his opponent, Lampertz (BEL), contested. It was awarded nonetheless and to prove a point Hudson made 10 further hits to foot on his way to a 15-6 victory. Next up was Rod (POR) a finalist at Lignano but Hudson led right the way through, winning 15-9. Hudson then had to beat Robl (DEN) to make his second top 8 finish at this level and he did so 15-12 with a confident display. His quarter-final match was against Magro (ITA) and having taken the lead Hudson pressurised the Italian beating him 15-12. His semi-final was against powerful German, Bodoczi, who took an early lead (11-8). Hudson composed himself and the German didn’t score again.
Marsh’s round of 128 fight was against 4th seed, Antkiewicz (POL). Marsh took the fight 15-11 meaning that he took over the number 4 spot in the table and therefore eradicating his poor start. Two Germans followed with Marsh winning a close contest, 15-14, against Weitbrecht and 15-12 against Leiser. A 15-11 victory over Rafeidi (USA) saw Marsh make the top 8 against all expectations. Tiredness (attributed to a poor night’s sleep,) was evident in Marsh’s next fight that started slowly and non-combativity was called. The noisy support of the rest of the GB team helped see Marsh to a 15-13 victory and a guaranteed medal. In the semi-final he faced World number 1, Fichera (ITA) but an hour’s break meant that Marsh had a chance to recharge his batteries and this made all the difference. In a fantastic display of tactical awareness and technical excellence Marsh beat the Italian 15-11.
This led to an all-British final, which created a strangely quite atmosphere at this level. Both coaches elected to let the fencers battle it out themselves with the crowd politely applauding the hits. A cagey start saw the fight go to 8-8 in the second period. Marsh started to pull away, scoring three hits in a row. Unfortunately Hudson, having executed a long lunge, collapsed on his back leg and suffered a sever injury. Medical attention was called upon after which Hudson decided to withdraw and settle for the silver medal. (Hudson has seen a specialist now and will recover in time to compete at the World Championships.)
These results mean that Great Britain now have two men in the top 16 in the World at Junior level; Marsh is 3rd and Hudson is 15th.
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