Above: Richard Michel (First right)
Richard Michell, a fifteen year old fencer from Scarisbrick Hall school, won a bronze medal at the Lancaster University Open on Sunday. In the seeding poules that start the tournament, he struggled to find form, although he did manage a late rally to finish ranked 16th before going into the direct eliminations.
Richard’s first eliminator fight was with Daniel Alexander from Stockport. Daniel had beaten Richard 5-2 in the seeding fights, but Richard had learnt from his mistakes in their first encounter and kept ahead of Daniel’s scoring to advance. In the second round, he drew the number one seed from the poules, Chris Anwyl from Lancaster University’s own fencing team. Chris is currently ranked 97th in UK, but to everyone’s surprise, Richard withstood Chris’ attacks and even managed establish a narrow lead, which he clung on to and so knocked him out of the tournament by a narrow 15-14!
Next Richard crossed swords with David Parry, also from Lancaster University, for a more straight forward 15- 11 victory. By this stage Richard was the last remaining teenager in the contest as he had watched the last of his peers from the cadet circuit leave for home.
The next round was the semi-finals. Here he met Chris Heaps of Lancashire Swords. Chris is a former Northwest champion and currently ranked 79th in UK. Richard gamely took the fight to Chris from the start, and managing to score the first four hits. However, Chris then found his range and began landing blistering attacks and ripostes on Richard who finally went down fighting with the final score being 15-10!
So Chris advanced to the final with Nicholas Murphy from Northwich, who had just beaten the other bronze medal winner, Chris Barker from Stockport in their semi-final. This contest was a dramatic and hard-fought dual, but it was Nicholas who was to eventually prevail and take the gold.
For Richard, this is by far his best result in an adult tournament. Reaching the last four in a senior event is quite an achievement for any fifteen year old fencer and, previously, Richard would have done well to survive the first round of direct eliminations. Lastly, Richard would like to thank Adrian Shandley of Premier Wealth Management and West Lancashire’s talented athlete award for their sponsorship.
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