Youngster Marsh impresses at his first senior World Cup event
An astounding 242 fencers competed in the individual event at the season’s first men’s epee World Cup in Legnano, Italy, this weekend. This meant three waves of first round poules ensuring that a great deal of patience was the order of the day.
Only four GB fencers made it into the direct elimination stages; Nick Perry (144th), Gregory Allen (109th), Jon Willis (62nd) and most impressively Phillip Marsh. Marsh won all but one of his first round matches which earned him 31st seed and a bye to the round of 64. Perry and Allen both fell in the first preliminary knock out matches 15-14 to Andrei (ROU) and Mazanov (KAZ) respectively. Willis, by virtue of winning 4 out of 6 fights in the first round, got a bye through the first preliminary direct elimination fight, drawing Gustavsson (SWE). Willis narrowly lost out 6-5 in an incredibly tight match. On day two Marsh drew Alexanin (KAZ) but went out in a spirited display 15-11 to the eventual finalist. The event was won by Karuchenko (UKR) who beat Robeiri (FRA) 15-8 in the final. The bronze medallists were Zawrotniak (POL) and Borel (FRA). The team event was won by Korea who beat the USA team 31-24 in the final.
Meanwhile, the men’s foil team were competing in Paris where 202 fencers took to the piste on Friday. The day started with two waves of poules in which Great Britain had ten fencers. Halsted withdrew at the last minute with a yet to be determined injury. Of the remaining nine fencers three were eliminated after the first round. The best performance of the day came from Ed Jefferies who won all six first round fights dropping just nine hits. This earned him a bye through to the second day and the round of 64. Kruse, who dropped two fights in the first round, took his time in beating Lyshkovski (BLR) 13-7 in the first preliminary knock out and then squeezed through 13-12 against Cadot (FRA). Tofalides also won his first knock out match 15-12 against the higher ranked Di Francisca (ITA) but was then knocked out 15-12 by Ichikawa (JPN). Meptsead beat Lecocq (BEL) 15-12 in his first knock out fight but fell to Biro (HUN) 15-7. Davis came through an abandoned match against Viljeon (RSA) before beating Foconi (ITA) 15-13 – the Italian is ranked 29th in the world. Last up was Kenber who had scraped through as the final qualifier after the first round. He impressively took out the much higher seed in Ulasik (BLR) 15-11 but then fell to Meinhardt 15-7.
Day two was an Anglo-Italian affair with all three GB fencers facing Italian opposition. Jefferies was first up and whilst his ranking was high the challenge that faced him was Minuto. After a great fight Jefferies narrowly lost out 15-14. Kruse beat world number 16, Simoncelli, 15-12 and Davis performed outstandingly to beat Nista 15-6. In the round of 32, Kruse faced old German rival and world number 13, Joppich. After a close fight Kruse fell 15-12. Davis was overrun 15-7 by Massialas (USA) but will certainly climb the world rankings with his result. Cassara (ITA) took the title by beating Ma (CHN) 15-11. Imboden (USA) and Massialas (USA) both took bronze medals.
Whilst disappointed the GB team had a chance to make amends on the third day of the competition – the team event where they faced the Americans. A clinical display by TeamUSA saw them progress 45-30. Great Britain finished the team event in 9th place after solid victories over Belarus (45-37), Ukraine (45-44) and Poland (45-33). The team event was won at a canter by the ever-impressive Italian team who beat Germany 45-39 in the final.
Next up on the circuit is the Men’s Sabre Grand Prix in Plovdiv next weekend.
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