Stars shine at Chichester’s fencing open

Johanna Maynard lunges for a clean hit against Margarette Oniye / Picture by Joash Lewis
Johanna Maynard lunges for a clean hit against Margarette Oniye / Picture by Joash Lewis

As a new fencing season gets under way, it’s fitting to applaud the success of Chichester’s fencers in its home competition, the City of Chichester open fencing competition.

The event attracted more than 120 international fencers for a weekend that which included a new mixed team foil event, the David Lichfield Cup.

Saturday saw exciting fencing in the epee. Chichester’s Robin Elliot and Josh Briffet gave inspired performances but the men’s event culminated in a win for Calum Maynard and silver for Petworth’s James Russell.

For the women, Chichester’s Charlotte Beadle fought well to finish in a creditable 11th position while an injured Kathryn Evans was delighted to get through the competition without having to withdraw. Cobham’s Johanna Maynard took gold in a tense final against Christine Steiner.

Maynard, former stunt double for the infamous fencing scenes in Die Another Day, demonstrated the grace and style now captured on film in a wonderful display of fencing.

The open also concluded the Harvey’s south-east open epee series and Chichester’s Charlotte Beadle took second place for her performance across the season.

The foil event took place on the Sunday. Claire Graham-White won the women’s event but all the drama was in the men’s competition. Chichester fielded a number of young fencers in this adult competition: Tom Raymond Wells, Robin Elliot, Max Hooper and Oscar Pickering were all a credit to their club but Isaac Jolley, just 15 but ranked GB’s number one under-17 cadet, fenced with deadly passion to come a superb eighth.

Chichester’s Toby Lee took seventh and, in what’s becoming an annual tradition, there was an exciting all-Chichester final. Brothers George and Tom Hendrie gave a beautiful display of fencing, with Tom edging a win to take gold in a dramatic finish.

Not content with first and second in the men’s foil, Tom Hendrie, George Hendrie and Toby Lee formed Chichester A for the mixed team foil and after a close-fought final with Crawley Sword, they emerged triumphant, meaning the David Lichfield Cup will remain in Chichester at least until next year’s battle.

If you would like to try fencing, call coach Sharon Blackman on 01243 822753 or email

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