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Club News - Easter 2023

Easter break is almost upon us, and as this term draws to a close, I would like to mention some of the fantastic results that HFC fencers have achieved since the beginning of the year. It is brilliant to see such achievements, and we should all be proud of how this club has grown and flourished. I look forward to fencing in the summer term - booking is open now!

Firstly we should mention that HFC won the 3 counties league in 2022, having entered for the first time. Many thanks to coach Ben Shepherd for managing the teams. We have begun matches for the 2023 league, with strong wins against Watford and Luton, setting the tone for the rest of the season. Thanks to Muhil for continuing on the foil team. Our epee game has also been strengthened with the addition of Jack, Andy, and Richard - great to have you representing us.

HFC Foil & Epee team after winning their first league match of the 2023 season against Watford

From left to right: Will Kinsbury WAL, Muhil Mustapha, Ben Shepherd, Richard Coombes, Jack Elvin

Congratulations to all our younger fencers who entered the Eastern Region Championship / British Youth Championship qualifier in January. A particular mention should go to Michael Tecim, who entered his first tournament and gained a respectable result. Making the first step into competition can be daunting, but it's much easier when you are amongst friends! The following qualified for the BYC finals in Sheffield: Nikodem Dyk, Fred Holden, Will Kingsbury, who took a bronze medal, and Harriet Wall - who achieved a silver medal! Here she is scoring a point during the final at Stevenage, and below on the podium.

Right: Harriet Wall

Far Right: Harriet Wall

Congratulations go to Will Kingsbury for coming 6th in the Welsh National Championships in February - losing only to the fencer who won the whole tournament! It was fantastic to see Will make the Welsh Team last year, and fence against England at the Commonwealth Fencing Championships. It has been a pleasure to coach him from the ground up to international level. He has come such a long way since he started with us as a junior - well done indeed.

Another of our cadet members - Ali Zghaibe - starting getting lessons from me in June 2021, joining HFC soon after. He won the Mercia Open in Derby in February. That is a great achievement for someone who has less than 2 years experience. No doubt we will see more results from him in the future. This is just the beginning!

Flying attack from Ali Zghaibe

As if that is not enough, further congratulations go to coach Lisa Drage for a bronze medal at the British Veteran GBR selection event at Leon Paul. Lisa first made the England team in March 2022, having starting fencing in 2017. Last year she was a GBR reserve for the European and World Championships. Having qualified as a B.A.F Level 1 coach, she has also been coaching our new beginners this term on Tuesday evenings along with Stephen Straughan.

The podium at Leon Paul. Third from left: Lisa Drage

Recently we have also seen a group of HFC juniors regularly competing together at tournaments, supported by our coaches, looking to make some progress with their England Ranking. Xander Curran, Trystan Pettorelli, Fred Holden, and Nikodem Dyk have competed at several Leon Paul Junior Series tournaments, and Newham Swords events. Well done for building up your ranking and competition experience!

Prof. Tony Middleton & Ben Shepherd supporting Trystan, Xander and Fred at Newham Swords.

When I arrived in Hertfordshire in 2009, HFC was a small junior club known as 'Hitchin Juniors'. Their coach, Jason Fox, moved to Germany and handed it over to me saying 'if you don't take it over - it will fold'. Well in the last 14 years I'm pleased to have seen the club grow from a small junior group in a small gym to a brimming junior and adult club fencing twice a week in the new sports hall at Hitchin Girl School. We've hosted our tournaments, becoming recognised as the strongest club in the county, and our members have achieved results at national and international level. A huge thank you to our coaches: Stephen Straughan, Lukes Saunders, Lisa Drage and Ben Shepherd. It would simply not be possible to keep so many engaged in fencing without your support.

Well done everyone - have a well earned Easter break, and practice your point control by hitting a soft target at home!

HFC Foil & Epee Team after their win against Luton Sword Club, at home, on Tuesday 21st March.


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