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Christmas Newsletter 2014

This is a short(ish) newsletter to wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year and keep you up to date with what’s been happening at Fernwood and give you advance notice of things that are going on around the East Midlands Region. 

Dear fencers, parents, carers and relatives of fencers,

Christmas holidays

Tuesday, 13th December, is the last session before Christmas. We break for two weeks and start back again on 6th January.

Upcoming Competitions

The British Youth Championship (BYC) qualifiers are being held on 14th March at Samworth Academy in Mansfield. The top 4 fencers in each category qualify to fence for the East Midlands Region at the BYCs in Sheffield on the weekend of 2nd-4th May 2015.  The age categories are as follows :

U12 - Born 2003 or 2004                      U14 – Born 2001 or 2002

Entry form and further details are to follow once finalised. This is a really good introduction to competitions as the fencers are all fairly local.

U16 – Born 1999 or 2000                      U18 - Born 1997 or 1998

There’s also an U10 BYC. This applies to those fencers born in 2005, 2006 and 2007. There’s no pre-qualification route and the U10 foil BYC will be held on 17th May 2015. This year’s was held at Much Wenlock in Shropshire.

And for those of you who would like to venture further afield, do check out competitions in the Leon Paul Junior Series. These are held in various locations across the country, from Cornwall up to Scotland – and (probably in late May) the East Midlands version (the Robin Hood Foil) will take place (probably in Mansfield). This is the LPJS website :


but do ask Sharon or Ed for more details and/or advice.

Finally, for fencers born in 2001 and before, the East Midlands Beginners and Intermediates Competition (foil, epee and sabre) is being held in Clifton on Saturday, 7th February. There's further information on the Radcliffe Sword Club website.

The East Midlands Region runs a monthly session at the Lee Westwood Sports Centre  at Nottingham Trent University in Clifton, Nottingham.  A few Fernwood fencers attend either the full session or the mini session and we’d recommend it particularly for those fencers who are thinking about competing, not least because it gives them a chance to fence against other fencers in the region outside of competitions (and check ‘em out before the BYC qualifiers). 

East Midlands Cadet Squad and Mini-Cadet squad

The U12 sessions run for those aged 8-11/12 and pilot the gradual introduction to the main squad for younger, less experienced fencers.  Sessions last 2 hours from 10:00 to 12:00. Under-12 sessions focus on reinforcing and introducing basic technical and tactical elements and maximize the sparring opportunities with children of a similar age and standard. They cost £10 per session.

U12 sessions

The U13 to U22 sessions last 6 hours (10:00-16:00) and include 2 hours of strength & conditioning (S&C) training and 4 hours of fencing. S&C is delivered by fitness specialists (Sports981) who have developed a programme specific to young fencers. The emphasis of these sessions will be to teach participants how to train effectively and safely, and to monitor their development.  Fencing training is delivered by weapon specific coaches. Sessions include footwork, technical and tactical work as well as sparring and competitive practice. Coaching is delivered both in groups and individual lessons. They cost £20 per session.

Main Squad sessions

Dates for 2015 are:

January 31st

February 21st

March 7th

April 11th

May 9th

June 27th

July 18th

Again, do ask Sharon or Ed if this is of interest and we can point you in the right direction/answer any questions you might have,

The easyfundraising scheme

This is one of these click, spend money on Amazon and a whole host of other retailers, including Eurotunnel and various holiday websites and raise money for Fernwood Sword Club. It’s a good idea and we’ve raised a moderate amount so far to spend on new kit etc. If you can do the same, it all helps. The link’s here :


The Newark Civil War Centre

Ok, this one’s a bit random, but it may well be of interest to our younger fencers. The Newark Civil War Centre is looking for children (up to 19….) to road test their exhibits at  an event in late April/early May. We reckon this includes swords and armour, so might just be fun. Ed’s signed up for it……Do contact :

if that sounds like a plan.

It’s been a good year. We’ve had successful beginners’ courses and we have a very enthusiastic junior section, with good numbers. Our aim for 2015 is to make sure we help our junior fencers develop – and start competing, for those who want to - and start to develop our senior section further.

Year’s round up

So, what have Fernwood fencers been doing on the competition front?

Ralph has been competing in LPJS sabre competitions, regional competitions and also in adult competitions – and in more recently in the East Midlands Sabre League. Ralph has been selected for the East Midlands team for the Cadet Winton and fenced last weekend.

Luke has been competing in a number of LPJS competitions – in the junior year of the U13, which is a tough call and has won some good fights.

James won a bronze medal in the U14 BYC qualifiers (in his junior year), but was injured for the BYCs themselves – he is successful in a number of sports and it would be great to see him fence more if he can.

Ed has had a very good year and has generally achieved his objectives. He came first in the (national) U15 boys foil LPJS Series for 2014 (thanks to golds in the Robin Hood Foil and Cardiff Foil and silvers in – amongst others – Camden and Newham). He came home with a medal in all LPJS competitions he entered except one. His England ranking means that he’s been selected for the U15 England team to fence at the Marathon Fleuret in Paris in February – which means he gets to put England stripes on his jacket and breeches. He was also chosen as the mens foil team captain for the East Midlands at last weekend’s Cadet Winton (which is open to fencers up to 3 years older than him). He also won bronzes in the secondary plate at the Glasgow Open (age 13) in April and the Much Wenlock Olympian Games  in July (both senior competitions).  This is all an astonishingly big deal for a fencer  outside of  London (which is where almost all of the leading fencers are) and is down to his really hard work and training. Let’s see if we can produce another fencer to challenge the Londoners…..  


We’re hoping to buy some more kit in the New Year to keep stocks up, but if  anyone would like to buy some of their own kit (even just a weapon and bodywire) that would help ensure we have enough kit for beginners – and is (of course) really important if you start doing competitions. Have a word if you would like some advice and we can give you the benefit of our experience…..    

Beginners courses

We will start another beginners course at some point in the New Year. If you know anyone who might be interested, do recommend the Club! It would be particularly good if  we could encourage some more seniors to start (or get back in to fencing).

Useful websites etc

Finally, we thought it would be useful to list a few websites to check out :

And don’t forget to follow us on twitter :


So, have a great Christmas and see you in the New Year,

Your coaching team - Andy, Sharon and Ed

BYCs - 4th May 2014

Following the BYC Qualifiers in March., James Walton and Ed Howlett fenced in the BYC finals last Sunday.

James had a difficult poule and, being in the younger half of  the two years and having not fenced a great deal recently, due to injury and other sporting commitments, struggled somewhat. James got knocked out in L128 and finished 69th, which was a very decent result in the context of a total of probably over 200 fencers who attempted to qualify and fenced on Sunday.

Ed started off very nervously and  lost one match 5-4, against the odds. However, he was happy to win his last poule match 5-4 against Isaac Jolley, who beat Ed in the final of the U15 Millfield Foil the previous Sunday.

Ed then comfortably beat Oliver Goodenough, one of the best U13s, in L64. He then fenced Harri Hayes, one of Wales' (and indeed Britain's) top fencers in his age group, in L32. Harri beat Ed 10-9 in L8 in the U13 Hertfordshire Foil last November. Ed enjoyed the return fixture, having considerably improved his feint disengages. Then came the L16 fight against Sam Wilson of Salle Boston. Having beaten Sam 5-0 and 5-1 the previous Sunday at Millfield, Ed was the odds on favourite. However, various factors came into play and Ed was knocked out, to finish 11th. Finally,  congratulations are in order to James Rutherford, Luke's brother and Ed's sparring partner at A&C - James fought  excellently in his poule to finish 4th seed and ended up in 9th place. James, James and Ed supported each other really well to the end - we're so proud of all of them.             

East Midlands Youth Championships - 9th November 2013

Fernwood Sword Club’s junior fencers had a good day at the East Midlands Youth Championships on Saturday at Samworth Academy, Mansfield. As one of only two clubs to enter fencers in all three weapons, there was a real spread of talent on show and some excellent fencing.

Edmund Howlett picked up his second gold medal in six days. Following on from his win at the LPJS U13 Wrexham Foil on the previous Sunday, Howlett went on to record his third victory in the EMYC in three years. Having got to the final in this year’s U13 foil, he had a tough battle against regular sparring partner, James Rutherford of A & C Sword, who went for a much more relentlessly attacking style than usual, to try to throw Howlett’s normal game out of balance. However, while this had worked in their poule match, in the final Howlett triumphed 9-6.

Fernwood’s other foilist entrant, Luke Rutherford (younger brother of James), started brightly in the U11 foil by winning the majority of his poule matches and ended by winning a silver medal, losing to a fencer from Northamptonshire whom he’d beaten in the poules.

Ralph Reader-Sullivan entered the U15 sabre and fought confidently to win a silver medal, being beaten in the final by a more experienced sabreur from Leicester.

Last up were the epeeists. Both James Walton and Tom McDonagh were fencing in  a very competitive U13 field. Walton emerged from the poules as 4th seed and, having got a bye in L16 lost 10-7 in L8 to finish 5th. This was McDonagh’s first fencing competition and he found his feet in his poules matches, gradually gaining in confidence. He recorded a victory in his L16 match and narrowly lost 10-7 in L8 against the eventual winner, in a match which could have gone either way.

To top off the day, Howlett and Reader-Sullivan learnt that they had been selected as part of the East Midlands Region team in the Cadet Winton Cup (an annual 6 weapon inter-region competition held at Millfield School, Somerset, in December).

BYC Qualifiers - 9th March 2013

Fernwood’s fencers did well at  the East Midland Region qualifying competition for the British Youth Championships in May.  

Edmund Howlett had already qualified for the BYC finals - he received a bye as a result of getting to the top 8 in last year’s Under 12 boys foil at the BYC finals. He still entered the Qualifiers and won the gold medal in the Under 14 boys foil. Edward Campion, was knocked out by the silver medallist in the quarter finals.

Matthew Walton won a bronze medal in the Under 14 boys sabre. Ralph Reader-Sullivan was unlucky to be eliminated in a close match in the knock out stages.

James Walton won a bronze medal in the Under 12 boys foil and got to the quarter finals of the Under 12 boys epee.

Edmund, Matthew and James will go on to fence in the BYC Finals at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield at the start of May.

This was a really good performance by all Fernwood's fencers who entered.

Grant Funding from Nottinghamshire County Council 

FSC was delighted to be awarded £3108 in February by Nottinghamshire County Council as part of its Olympic Legacy Fund. The club has bought several size 2 sabres and epees (which were used in the BYC Qualifiers) and is planning on buying more electronic scoring equipment.

Fernwood fencers put on a good show

A number of Juniors from the Club entered their first competition recently. The Competition was The East Midlands Region Junior Championships held on 19th November 2011 at Garendon High School, Thorpe Hill, Loughborough and which is a competition to identify the best young fencers in the region. We had 5 fencers enter for their first competition, 2 in under 11 Foil (Edmund won the Gold; Edward Campion finished 8th after only fencing for around 6 months), Ralph Reader-Sullivan finished 6th in U14 Sabre (again after not much more than 6 months fencing) and Elliot Melia and Karl Southern who finished 6th and 8th in the U14 Foil, respectively.

Edmund won the U11 foil competition, in a tense final in which he was always ahead but at the end of time for the bout was a close 8-7.

Well done to everyone that entered and hopefully we will have a few more successes early next year in the next competition.

Robert Pryer gets further coaching qualification

Robert Pryer, our Head Coach, has successfully completed his Level 3 Foil coaching qualification to add to his Level 3 sabre and Level 2 Epee qualification. Well done, Rob!

Club member James Deverill is taking his Level 1 foil qualification to boost the Club's coaching capability.

Sword fighting at the Castle!

The club will be putting on demonstrations on Monday 31st May, Bank Holiday Monday, between 12 an 3 p.m. and giving people the opportunity to give the sport a try. Come along and see us and have a go. Coaches and members from the club will be on hand to get you started and we'll bring all the kit you'll need!

Mark Pwyel becomes the Club's third coach

Congratulations to Mark who successfully completed his Level 1 Foil Coaching Course and becomes the clubs third coach assisting head coach Robert.

Fernwood Sword Club on the air

The Club welcomed Mick Bradley from Boundary Sound's Wednesday night Sports show to see what the Club and the sport is all about. Mick brought a couple of presenters along to have a go at the sport for the first time.

Log on to www.boundarysound.co.uk and listen in on 30th March to hear how they got on!

Beginners Courses

The April beginners courses have been a great success. The mini-fencers who joined us in February have moved on to metal weapons, more juniors have joined to learn how to fence and the seniors course has been really well attended.

We will provide beginners courses regularly and will fit courses in if we have interest from people wanting to learn how to fence.

Newark Sports Awards

The Club were asked to open the 2009 Newark Sports Awards at the Palace Theatre in Newark - pictures to follow.

Clipstone Summer Fair

Fernwood Sword Club attended the Funday at Vicar Water Country Park, Clipstone on Sunday 13 September 2009 taking some kit for people to have a go and some mini-fence kit for children to have a brief introduction to the sport.þ

Fernwood Sword Club hit the airwaves

Chair, Andrew Sutton and Social and Marketing secretary Ted Stanley popped into Boundary Sound to talk about the Club and fencing. Here their chat here.

Commercial Sponsor

Network Learning Centre in Newark becomes the clubs first commercial sponsor, sponsoring the Club' poule night.

Summer Fayre

Fernwood Sword Club went along to the Holy Trinity School summer fayre to put on a couple of demonstrations and let the kids experience "mini-fence", a system developed by kit manufacturer Leon Paul to introduce younger children (7-9 years old) to the sport in a fun and safe way. The Club are investigating the possibility of running a mini-fence course, so get in touch if you think your son or daughter may be interested.

Competition nights

On the last Tuesday of the month, the Club runs a poule night for the members. We'll post details of the results here as we go along.

Moving home

After a great few months at the brilliant Fernwood Village Hall, the Club will be moving to Highfields School on London Road on 28th April 2009. The reason? We need more space for fencers! The success of our first beginners courses and the setting up of the Junior section meant that we needed more room so that more people could fence.

Press Coverage

After the Club's first forays into the media world with the Newark Advertiser, the Club has also recently featured in Lincolnshire Pride, the High Society Magazine for Lincolnshire and in the current edition of It's All About You, a free magazine circulating in the Newark area.

Newark Day

Fencers from Fernwood Sword Club put on two demonstrations in at Newark Day 2009 in the Market Place.

Grant Award

The Club has received a grant from The Foundation for Sport and the Arts (see homepage for link) in order to acquire kit to start our Junior section on 28th April 2009. If any schools are interested in offering fencing facilities for their pupils, please contact us at fernwoodswordclub@hotmail.com


Robert Pryer, our Head Coach, has successfully completed his Level 2 Foil and Level 2 Epee coaching qualifications to add to his Level 2 sabre qualification. Well done, Rob!

Beginners Courses - Juniors

The Club's first Junior course is well under way.

If you are, or your child is,  interested in learning to fence on our next  juniors beginners course contact us at  fernwoodswordclub@hotmail.com

Press Coverage

After our initial mention in the Newark Advertiser, we have had a feature in the edition printed on 30th January 2009! We were even able to welcome a couple of people from the paper to give the sport a try. We must have left an impression as one has signed up for our beginners course!