By adding the British championship crown to his victory in the Leon Paul International the previous weekend, Husayan Rosowsky, late of Sheffield Buccaneers and now of Sussex House, ably demonstrated that he is the in-form foilist of the moment. In the final, he met reigning champion Keith Cook of Salle Holyrood. They traded hits to 5-all before Rosowsky scored five consecutive hits with a mix of low-high broken-time attacks, ripostes and counters to lead 11-6. Cook narrowed the gap to 13-12, but Rosowsky unleashed another blistering broken-time attack and followed by counter-attacking into Cook’s advance to win his first senior national title 15-12.
With only two missing from the top 20 in the British rankings, this was always going to be a tough event. The first surprise fallout was the No. 2 seed, James Davis of Salle Paul, who lost 11-15 to Boston’s Chris Cooke in the L32. Cooke then went out to Ed Jefferies of Lansdowne in the next round. The reigning junior champion, Amol Rattan of Newham, had a good run, taking out the No. 1 seed, Ben Peggs of Salle Paul, 15-12 in the L16 before falling to Rosowsky in the quarter-finals.
The country’s highest ranked foilists, Richard Kruse and Laurence Halsted, fencing under Lansdowne and Paul respectively, met in the L16, where an indisposed Halsted offered no resistance. Having received only two hits on his way to the quarter-finals, Kruse was unprepared for a razor-sharp Marcus Mepstead, now back in the Sussex House fold, whom he always finds difficult anyway. Mepstead took control from the start and was 8-4 up at the break. Although Kruse closed the gap to 8-7, Mepstead held his nerve to win 15-13. However, in the semis he developed severe cramp, to which he is prone, and could not prevent Rosowsky clinching a 14-8 victory at time.
Meanwhile, in the other half of the draw, Cook had a smooth passage to the semi-finals where he met Jefferies, who had edged out Jamie Kenber 15-14 in the quarters. After falling behind 1-4, Jefferies equalised at 5-all, but could not prevent Cook collecting the next six hits, among them two lightning fast parry-ripostes to shoulder. Jefferies reduced the gap to 11-9, but ran out of steam as Cook finished off the fight 15-11.
The top eight seeds all reached the quarter-finals as the women’s foil event proceeded according to form. Three times British champion Anna Bentley of Salle Boston overwhelmed Ruth Clarke of West Fife 15-4, Lansdowne’s Sophie Troiano beat Hannah Bryars of Imperial College 15-9, Martina Emanuel, born and trained in Italy, defeated Liz Ng of Aldershot 15-10 and Polish born and trained Natalia Sheppard had a comfortable 15-5 victory over Salle Paul’s Claire Bennett.
In the semis, Troiano took out Bentley 15-8 to reach her second senior final, while Emanuel narrowly overcome reigning champion Sheppard in a slow contest 6-5 to reach her third British final. Troiano took an early 6-2 lead in the final, but Emanuel equalised by the second break and then took control to win 15-9 and become British champion for the first time.
The RAF’s Chris Greensides comprehensively beat the No. 1 seed Jonathan Willis, now training in Germany, 15-6 in the L16, but then lost to Edinburgh’s Matt Henderson 12-15 in the next round. Haverstock team-mates Nick Perry and Greg Allen fought out another quarter-final before Perry won through 15-12 and, in the second half of the draw, at the same stage David Gregory notched up the same score against the No. 2 seed, Tom Bennett of London Thames. That left the last quarter-final spot to be filled by reigning junior world champion Philip Marsh of Bath with a comfortable 15-9 victory over Gareth Thomas of Tiger Swords. Marsh went on to beat Gregory 15-10 in one semi, while Perry out-pointed Henderson 15-11 in the other.
Both finalists displayed agile attacking epee, with Marsh edging to a 6-4 lead at the first break. He extended this to 12-8 at the second break and then dominated the third period to win 15-8, becoming at the age of 17 years and 1 month Britain’s youngest men’s epee champion, 5 months younger than the previous holder Teddy Bourne in 1966.
Training in France paid off for Mary Cohen of Lansdowne as she demonstrated fast footwork and pinpoint accuracy to beat Haverstock’s Georgina Usher 15-9 and become British champion for the second time. Usher’s dream of a tenth national title crumbled in the face of an opponent who always looked more fluid and flexible, varying the pace to pick up hits to arm and leg. Cohen led 7-5 at the first break and 11-7 at the second, finishing the fight with an audacious ducking hit to foot.
In the absence of British No. 1 Corinna Lawrence, Usher picked up the top seeding and had a relatively straightforward run to the semi-finals where she met reigning champion Elisa Albini. In a cautious fight, Usher took a 4-1 lead by the first break and held on to win 11-9 at time. In the other half, No. 2 seed Cohen started with a tough 11-9 victory over Wellington’s Sophie Townsend before progressing without further difficulty to the final.
In the top half of the draw, both Crutchett brothers from Brentwood started well, with Anthony emerging as No. 1 seed, before falling to Camden’s Curtis Miller in the L16, and Alex steaming through from fourth seed to edge out club-mate and reigning champion Alex O’Connell by the narrowest of margins 15-14 in the semi-finals.
The second half saw No. 2 seed James Honeybone of Truro cruise through to the final without being taken into double figures. The final was a tentative affair in which Crutchett was 8-5 up at the break and hung on, despite Honeybone equalising at 8-all and again at 13-all, to win his first championship 15-13.
At the relatively young age of 29, Louise Bond-Williams of Truro has equalled Gillian Sheen’s 51-year-old record of ten senior British championships. Disputing her sixth final with Chrystall Nicoll of Brentwood, she won comfortably 15-9 to lead their encounters 5-1. But it could easily have gone wrong in the quarter-finals where Bond-Williams had a tough fight with Scimitar’s Jo Hutchison before winning 15-14 and going on to beat Katherine Kempe 15-9 in the semis.
Third seed Kira Roberts of Laszlo took out Camden’s rising star Aliya Itzkowitz 15-10 in the quarter-finals before falling to Nicoll 9-15 in the semis.
A special thank you to Malcolm Fare for providing this full round up of results.