A week after the individual championships in Nottingham, the men’s first team drove up to Oxford for their initial round of Premiership matches. This was the first major test of the season, facing up to the Oxford, Cambridge UCL and Bristol teams.

The day began against a somewhat ragged (not to mention late) UCL team. Despite a slow start, the IC fencers made short work of their fellow Londoners, winning by relatively large margins in all three weapons. Imperial’s first victory in the Premiership was clinched on a final score of 135-78. The next match up was againt Bristol, who on paper were going to be a tougher test. Good fencing by the foilists set the stage for the sabreurs, trailing by a single point; the epeeists wrapped up the match nicely, dominating their bout all the way through.

In high spirits after their two successive wins, the fencers then took on Oxford. A nail-biting sabre match saw Imperial score the final hit to win 45-44; the foil match was even tighter and lost by a single point.

With the score evenly tied, the epeeists had to wait for the following morning to finish the match, and did so emphatically, sealing victory with a nine-point advantage, 133-124.

All that remained was Cambridge, however with Ratneswaran absent the sabre team suffered a heavy loss to the experienced Cambridge side, and victories in the foil and epee could not overturn the deficit : the IC fencers lost by seven points in the end, 122-115. Imperial came away from Oxford with a well-deserved second place and confident that they could beat anyone. Next up : the return leg of the tournament, at Ethos on the 30-31st of January. With the top spot firmly in sight.