Streatham Fencing Club
Prague - Ladies Receiving Their Winning Trophy
Prague - Nick with miraslav
Fencing Trip To The Czech Republic 2004
After a 25 year gap Streatham Fencing Club went on tour in September to the Czech Republic, successfully taking on a combined team from the two cities of Prague and Liberec.
In the 1970's Streatham Fencing Club, established in 1949, went as Lambeth Borough Representatives to Vincennes in France; many years of talk crystallised last summer in a plan to take on the continent again. Building on its recent successes, and as one of the largest club in the South East, sixteen people set off on the 16th September to Prague. Within 48 hours they took on Epee and Foil teams from two clubs who included Czech national team players.
The launch of the event took place in the trophy room of the Sokol Praha Vrsovice sports club with grand trophies from the 1930's and 40's in large cabinets showing the impressive history of this integrated and busy sports club. The Czech hosts started with speeches and a round of Slivovitz to toast the tour and after exchanging club mementoes the fight was on.
After hard fought battles the Epee teams were narrowly beaten by the Czech's but with strength in depth that Streatham exhibits claimed the consolation of a points victory for all teams overall.
The Czech men's' foil team proved too powerful for a weakened Streatham squad but with the international debuts of several new fencers the future looks promising.
Finally the ladies foil team took on a strong squad of young fencers but with veteran fencers Hilary and Janice supported by a new enthusiastic Vanessa they cruised to an emphatic victory bringing home a trophy and memorial plate.
Alan Grafton as the British coach proved adept in his presiding role that as at all major matches was in French, the organising language of the sport.
Matches took place in an interesting pre-war gymnasium where internal facilities are very different from the UK, many dating back to the communist era. However the dedication of the Czech sportsmen was clear and the Streatham squad was impressed by their focus.
The Streatham group also managed to visit many of the attractions of historic Prague using the language skills (Russian, German, French, Spanish and Gaelic) of a diverse group. Janice Pearce also proved the versatility of the squad by running in the 5km Prague Grand Prix event in her spare time.
Thanks go mainly to Barry Foxwell, who spent hours on the phone and carried out a scouting mission to the Czech republic ensuring the trip would run smoothly, and to our Czech contact Jana Cervena, who lived in South London for many years.
A return trip is already being arranged so next year expect the Czech language to be ringing around Lambeth when I hope they will be as welcomed as we were in Prague.
Prague - Pre Match Drink
Prague - Czech Mate
Prague - Aiden Fencing