Isla's liking for number 13

THIRTEEN was a lucky number for 16-year-old Sidmouth and East Devon fencer Isla Findlay.

THIRTEEN was a lucky number for 16-year-old Sidmouth and East Devon fencer Isla Findlay. Representing the South West in the Under-18 girls' epee and foil categories, she achieved a personal best in both weapons at the National Finals held at Stoke on Trent.Competing for the first time in the Epee British Youth Championships, Isla faced a strong field made up of many GB junior and cadets, after fencing excellently in the poules round she was seeded an impressive 11th. Using skill and determination to win her first Direct Elimination fight, she eventually bowed out 9-15 to the fifth seed in the last 16. Overall she finished 13th, a brilliant result for this her first year in this age group.In the Foil British Youth Championships Isla was one of five Sidmouth qualifiers to fence. She had a good day, again achieving 13th place overall with her second personal best result.Grace Williams, also competing in the Under-18 girls' foil, fenced well, but the loss of a crucial fight 4-5 in the poules, and a frustrating last DE , meant she was knocked out of medal contention and had to settle for 11th place.In the Under-14 Girls' Lisanne Koch had a disappointing start, losing her first two fights. She then rallied, following some rousing encouragement from the older Sidmouth girls, easily winning her next fights. Despite a good first round DE victory, she was knocked out by the third seed 7-15 in the last 32, finishing 26th.Nicholas Koch (Under-12 boys) had an outstanding round of poules, winning five out of six fights, placing him as 12th seed. After so much success, he fenced with sheer determination in his first DE round, however, fatigue set in and he narrowly lost 8-10 knocking him down to 33rd place.Lawrence Donald (Under-18 boys) showed calm confidence fencing in his first major competition, and was undaunted by the number and calibre of opponents. Relatively new to fencing he worked very hard, fencing, with intelligent tactics, achieving a good debut result of 43rd.ã

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