West Lancashire Fencer Wins Gold at Warwick Leon Paul Epee Tournament
On Saturday Richard Michell competed in the Warwick Epee, the latest event of the Leon Paul Junior Series.
Richard, a pupil at Scarisbrick Hall College, clinched victory against some very stiff opposition, as the tournament had attracted most of the top under fifteen fencers from North Yorkshire to West Cornwall.
This result also moves Richard two points clear at the top of the Leon Paul Junior Series rankings.
Recently, Richard has struggled to find form having had a couple of disappointing results. Consequently, he had a rather hesitant start, but still managed to be ranked fourth in the first seeding round.
His confidence started building as he racked up wins to improve his seeding to second, just behind Alexander Sells from Plymouth. This position gained Richard a bye in the direct elimination fights to the last 16.
His first eliminator was a straightforward win 15-5 against Joe Doughty from Kenilworth Swords.
Richard’s next draw in the quarter finals was against Eoghan Cromie from Truro, who had knocked him out of the Cornwall Epee in January.
It looked as though Eoghan would do the same again as he established a commanding 14-10 lead by the end of the second period.
Richard returned to the piste needing a seemingly impossible five clean hits to win! Somehow he managed to find four to tie the match. To resolve a tie fencers have to flip a coin for priority and then fight for a further minute. Richard lost the toss, obliging him to get another hit within the extra time, or forfeit the match.
After some cautions plays of blade and time ebbing away he launched a daring fleche attack which found its mark to steal the narrowest of victories.
This took him to the semi-final with Liam Deneley from Wingerworth. Liam had already beaten the number three seed, Billy Shepherd and was not daunted by facing Richard.
Both fencers had an attacking style and the scoring built very quickly. However, Richard managed to keep a point or two ahead throughout to reach match point at 14-13.
Knowing he could win even with a double, Richard again decided to risk a fleche. Both fencers found their mark, but it was Richard who was to progress with another 15-14 win.
In the final Richard finally met Alexander who had also battled his way through the eliminators.
Richard has only fenced him once before in the seeding rounds at Truro where Richard had won. Since then Alexander has had a brilliant season being selected for the England U15 team and winning the U14 British Youth Championships.
Not only did they have to fight each other, but they also had to overcome severe fatigue as they had been fencing off and on since shortly after 10am and the final started at around 5.30pm.
The match began evenly with both launching aggressive attacks and countering with lightning parries. The scores started to build with Alexander tending to gain small leads of a point or two, follwed by Richard immediately pulling back to level.
By the end of the second period the score was level at a nail biting 14 all, tournament point.
After a cautious start in the last period, both fencers attempted fleches that were parried by the other.
Then Richard tried again and hit, but Alexander also landed a touch and the resulting double was discounted.
After a brief lull sizing each other up, Richard summoned the energy for one last all out attack and this time landed a clean hit with no reply winning the tournament by a third consecutive 15-14 victory!
Richard would like to thank West Lancashire Borough Council for their talented athlete award and Premier Wealth Management Ltd., a Southport based firm of independent financial advisers, for their generous sponsorship.
Without their financial support, Richard would not be able to pursue this national series of competitions.
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