Celtic Challenge 2017: 29th & 30th July.
Results and weekend round-up.
On behalf of the Welsh Veterans I'd like to thank everyone who was involved in the Veterans Celtic Challenge: volunteers (Kirsty, Deb, Dawn on check in and refreshment duty- wonderful ).
Referees Adrian Speakman, Alex Savin, Peter Huggins, Jen & Glen Sancroft, Anne & Jon Dawkins, Ev Van Gemmeren, Celyn Lewis, Hugh Kocan and Owen Edwards, Adam Waller, Peter Baron.
Event Manager Elinor Robinson, DT Mike and Phil, who kept the event moving and our ever wonderful armourer, Nigel.
Also to the excellent collaboration and support of the clubs in Wales, pulling together to loan and to lay pistes, set out scoring sets.
Finally to ALL the competitors from all over the Celtic countries, to those from Galacia, Switzerland and Croatia (ex pats), Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall without whose participation this event could not happen.
We missed our compatriots from the Isle of Man, Britanny and the Channel Islands who were unable to participate this year.
As well as some very seasoned veterans, some having fenced in past Olympics, World and European Championships at Senior and Veteran level, the event welcomed competitors new to fencing and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves aquitting themselves with style.
Saturday: Throughout the weekend the camaraderie between everyone was a high point as was the standard of fencing; with some extremely close bouts in the DE stages, and some upsets in the standings when a higher placed seed went out to a lower placed seed. The fencing became even closer when we got down to the quarter, semi and finals, with many of the bouts being won by only one ot two points.
The women's foil final between Marion Thomas (WAL) and Jo Cook (SCO), Marion took an early lead, with Jo winning back point after point to eventually take the title 10-8.
The Men's foil final was equally exciting with Mike McKAy (SCO) against old friend and rival Philip Lee (IRE), both using the full length of the piste with exhuberance and a fine display of technical fencing, with Mike just edging Philip out of the first place position.
The women's sabre saw seasoned veteran Sue Benney(COR) contentesting the final against fellow Cornwall team member Margaret McWilliams, with Margaret taking the first place.
In the men's sabre final, those two canny Welsh and Scots, Carl Morris and Keith Davidson thrilled us with their expertise, with Carl just edging into the lead against Keith.
Overnight standings at the close of play on Saturday evening placing Cornwall and Scotland leading the way in the "Dragon points" - followed by Wales, Ireland and Galacia.
Saturday evening: A very entertaining evening at Cardiff Castle, with a traditional Welsh banquet and entertainment, the men looking resplendent in Welsh and Scottish kilts respecively, and some of the ladies in Celtic costume, an impromtu raffle was held and the funds donated to Ev Van Gemmeren for the Alzheimeer trust and to Macmillan Cancer care.
Sunday: With everything to play for, the overall winner of the Dragon trophy would be decided by the results of the men's and women's epee.
An exciting women's final bout with Cath Walker (WAL) and Rosa Maria Cano Diosa (GAL) had us on the edge of our seats as they went point for point to reach 9-9, the bout had to go to extra time, with Cath gaining prioty, then as both ladies attacked there was one light - Cath Walker gaining the point as Rosa's point slid past her oppenents arm, allowing a Welsh win.
Men's epee provided an upset in the semi's with number one seed, Nick Lee (WAL) being edged out by the explosive style of Duncan Salter (IRE)
In a very exciting final, with Cornwall's Keith Barnett having stormed through the poules and DE's meeting Duncan for the final, with Keith taking an early lead and although Duncan fought back , whittling away at Keith's lead it wasn't enough to take the fisrt place from Keith.
A few minutes lapsed whilst DT calculated the total of the Dragon points, and it came as a complete surprise to Wales Clan Chieftain, Lyn Robinson, that Wales just edged into the lead to retain the Dragon trophy for 2017 as she cried accepting the trophy on bahalf of the Welsh - the trophy will now be wending it's way around the Welsh team, but will be back in time for the 2019 championship challenge.
Individual Celtic Champions:
MF: 1st: Mike Mckay (SCO), 2nd, Philip Lee (IRE), 3rd: Duncan Salter (IRE), Mike McEwan (SCO)
MS: 1st: Carl Morris (WAL), 2nd, Keith Davidson (SCO), 3rd: Keith Rogerson (COR), Keith Barnett (COR)
ME: 1st, Keith BArnett (COR), 2nd Duncan Salter (IRE), 3rd; Nathan Miller (COR) Nick Lee (WAL)
WF: 1st Jo Cook (SCO), 2nd MArion Thomas (WAL) 3rd: Rosa Maria Cano Diosa (GAL), Jenny Morris (WAL)
WS: 1st Margaret McWilliams (COR), 2nd Sue Benney (COR), 3rd: MIchelle NArey (SCO) Emma Waller (WAL)
WE; 1st Cath Walker (WAL), 2nd Rosa Maria Cano Diosa (GAL), 3rd: Annalise Mion (IRE) Jenny Morris (WAL)
MF: Scotland, MS: Cornwall, ME: Wales
WF: Wales, WS: Cornwall, WE: Wales
Cornwall & Scotland : Joint Second
Celtic Challenge 2019:
There will be a need to "iron out" a few wrinkles in the rules (as discussed) and these will be in consultation with the Clan Chieftains and led by the Cornish Clan Chief.
The Celtic Challenge is held every two years and hosted by a different Celtic Nation each time.
The Celtic Nations that currently take part in this two yearly event are Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Channel Islands, Brittany, Galacia, Asturias, ,
It was held in 2012 in Galacia, previously held in 2010 in Cornwall and the inaugral Celtic Challenage was held in 2008 in Wrexham.
Previous Holders of the Dragon Celtic Challenge Trophy:
2012; Galacia (Renamed "Arturo")
Although the challenge is always a fun and friendly competition with everyone having as much fun off piste and on it the Welsh Team has had its share of sadness associated with the competition losing two of our members during the competition in 2012 and 2008.