West Dorset Fencing Club championships got off to a spirited start on Thursday with eight young fencers under the age of thirteen fighting for the Junior title. Fencing being equally a sport for girls and boys, the pool was mixed, but it turned out to be the girls’ night. From five boys and three girls, the girls were 1st., 2nd and 3rd ! The winner was 12 yr.old Ellie Baldwin, who fenced with tremendous determination throughout the evening and won all of her fights, thoroughly deserving her first place. She was closely contested by her friend, Caitlin Oldham, also 12, who was runner up after an exciting final bout. 3rd.place and this year’s style prize went to one of the youngest members of the club, Isabel d’Arrigo, and it was a delight to see neat and controlled fencing from a young lady of only 8 years old!
The Ladies’ Senior cup was then contested and was won by Judy Clarke. Judy is the club’s secretary and has worked hard to promote fencing within our community. After missing fencing evenings and lessons for most of last year, it was good to see her back to fighting form. 13 yr.old Iona Adair from Lyme Regis was second, with a display of stylish fencing, while 3rd. place went to Carrie Ward. Carrie’s placing was remarkable, considering she had only started fencing 2 months ago and had come up from the recently run Beginner’s Course. Very well done to all 3 ladies.
The final of the Senior Mens’ championship was extremely hard fought, with a start of fourteen fencers of ages over thirteen. The fact that Corrado d’Arrigo retained his title was predictable as he is the strongest and most experienced club member. He fought with his usual control and determination and was a most worthy winner. What was not so predictable was that his final bout for the championship was with his son, Aldo, who last year won the Junior title ! Now only thirteen, Aldo demolished virtually every fencer he met to make the final two. After the first round pools, the entrants fenced Direct Elimination. These bouts last approximately 3 times as long as a normal bout, and the loser is out of the competition. Aldo survived two such bouts before meeting his father, so his second place was thoroughly deserved. Damon Allen and Sam Hoskyns then battled for 3rd place, with Damon emerging the winner.
The refereeing of all the bouts was handled by the club’s founder, Shirley Parker, and their brilliant young Hungarian coach, Csaba Hajdu. Scoring and general assistance fell to Allan Clarke and Bill Hoskyns. Bill, a fencer with no less than six Olympics behind him in the 1950/60s was in the British Team together with the club’s Hon President Allan Jay (five Olympics,) and these two were the last British fencers to win Olympic medals. Both also held World Championship titles in 1958 & 59.
The club trophies, medals and certificates were presented by Allan Jay and the club very much appreciates his, and Bill Hoskyns contribution and input. There was an extremely good atmosphere for the entire evening and in his presentation speech, Allan gave credit to the sportsmanship and enthusiasm shown throughout.
Anyone interested in joining the Fencing Club should phone 07582-775-243. A Beginner’s Course is being arranged for the New Year.