The Tip of the Sword
10 June 2022 - All
Fencing is a sport that many girls have not experienced before attending Wycombe Abbey and we are pleased that we can offer it to so many girls through the Extras programme. We have seen our fencing provision grow and develop, and now teach over 45 lessons each week. Fencing Club has been able to resume to its pre-pandemic format with pupils across all ages coming together to train. It really is a sport which brings girls together and we have seen great friendships and encouragement shown. While fencing might not be a sport that I played myself, I am always delighted to see how passionate the girls are in sharing their knowledge and educating others in the art of fencing, the differences between weapons and the variety of different tactics and strategies you can apply to any one match. I’ve learnt a lot and would encourage everyone to start a conversation about something that they don’t know, to continue to learn and enhance themselves.
As with all our sports at Wycombe Abbey, each year girls are selected to lead and represent their sport in the role of Captain. Below, Sarah (UVI) has reflected on her time fencing at School as the outgoing Captain, and Zara (LVI), as the incoming Captain, has outlined what fencing at Wycombe Abbey is all about. While lessons and training are fun, many of our girls enjoy the challenge and thrill of competition and Mrs Jacky Faulkner (Visiting Fencing Coach) has outlined some of our key highlights from the season as well.
We are extremely fortunate to have such dedicated captains and coaches leading this programme, so from me, a thank you to them.
Interim Director of Sport
A Reflection of the Past Seven Years
As I reflect back on my years of fencing at Wycombe Abbey, several things come to mind; mainly the support of those who helped me along the way. It is the support the School gave me in terms of allowing me the freedom to travel back and forth to London during the week to train with my club and my London-based coaches. I am thankful for the time off school (and the support of teachers in helping me make up missed classes!) to travel to National and International competitions. I also need to give thanks to my Wycombe Abbey-based coaches — Mr Harry Jones, Mrs Jacky Faulkner and Mr James Roberts. I think of the lessons I have learned on- and off-piste. I learned how to prepare not just physically, but mentally, for competitions. I learned how to deal not just with success, but with disappointment from time to time. I learned how to deal with and train through injury, as well as how to balance school, sport, and social demands. These are lessons I will take with me long after I have left Wycombe Abbey.
Finally, I have good memories of the trips around England, and the international trips as part of the GB squad. My favourite Wycombe Abbey fencing memory is bringing home an individual gold in the senior Epee and our team winning the Moore shield at the Public Schools Fencing Competition this spring. I can’t think of a better way to cap off my time fencing at Wycombe Abbey.
Fencing Captain 2021-2022
Fencing at Wycombe Abbey
I have been fencing at Wycombe Abbey since UIII and have watched the team not only grow up but grow in members. Over the years we have developed a community in which everyone is welcome to join. Whether you fence foil, sabre or épée, are new to fencing or have prior experience, we will do our best to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity.
Many girls at School have never fenced before joining and take this as an opportunity to try something new and exciting. It is a chance to partake in an individual sport whilst also being very much part of the family. As well as individual lessons girls can attend a Thursday evening training session. This is a perfect slot in which you can apply your training and fence against opponents.
Fencing also gives the opportunity to represent the School in inter-school fencing competitions like Public Schools Fencing Championships. Competitions are a great opportunity to showcase your talents, set goals and achieve.
Fencing Captain 2022-2023
March 2020, Covid-19 dictated that children’s Fencing competitions in UK would cease. When we were eventually allowed to resume competition in September 2021, numbers permitted in venues were limited. To allow the maximum number of children to fence, parents were not permitted to enter halls. To avoid potential safeguarding issues, welfare officers needed to be employed. Understandably, organisers’ appetite to run children’s competitions diminished. Not even the County Championships, attended annually by the Wycombe Abbey fencers, ran.
So, when the Public Schools Fencing Championships (PSFC) announced they would run in March 2022, the School eagerly entered a team. Over half of the players had never competed before. As such, our aim was to enjoy the championships, and to use them as a learning experience for the new fencers. To everyone’s delight, all the fencers excelled.
Wycombe Abbey’s PSFC team did brilliantly with lots of individual successes. Podium places included:
Fiona (UIV) placed 7th in Mount Hayes foil, Sofia (UVI) placed 5th in Senior Epee, and the Fencing Captain, Sarah (UVI) won the Senior Epee. All together the entire Fencing team won The Moor Shield. This is presented to the School who place second in the overall competition. Every member of our team contributed with their scores combining to provide our overall total. This is the best result the School has ever had at this competition, and we are extremely proud of all our fencers.
The Fencing National Youth Championships were held at the start of May. Four Wycombe Abbey girls qualified through the regional qualifiers held in March. The standard at the National Youth Championships was high. In U14 foil, Fiona (UIV) fenced very well in the poule rounds finishing in 9th place. Leanna (UIV), relatively new to competitive fencing, placed a very respectable 18th in the U16 sabre. Isabella (UV) was fencing in the U16 Epee where she fenced very well in the poule rounds earning herself a bye. Her final fight was thrilling but sadly lost 15–14, and in doing so missed out on a place in the quarter finals. Isabella was ultimately placed 14th. Sarah (UVI) fenced in the U18 Epee and after a challenging start to the day she fenced well, finishing splendidly to win the bronze medal.
The main aim of the Fencing department is to ensure that every girl enjoys her fencing. The trophies are the icing on the cake.
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