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Navy Hopefuls Clash at Flying Fox

13 December 2021
Members of the RN’s fencing community have been going head-to-head at their Royal Navy Knockout tournament, with some targeting selection for the 2022 Inter-Services championships.

A dynamic, explosive sport that claims to be one of the world's oldest, its roots firmly entwined in the history of the Royal Navy saw reservist and regular fencers from across the west country and beyond battling at HMS Flying Fox this weekend. Hopefuls from across the Fleet came together at this historic competition for the first time since 2019, with reservist units claiming three of the top four spots at the annual Royal Navy Knockout (RNKO).

Home teams Bristol URNU (BURNU) and HMS Flying Fox siding recent entrants to the sport claimed a pleasing third and fourth spot respectively, with a combined team from London URNU/HMS President coming a close second to a vastly experienced outfit representing Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC), Shrivenham.

The RNKO is an historic inter-unit team contest which took place this year on the drill deck of Bristol’s Royal Naval Reserve Unit, HMS Flying Fox.
 
Originally established to provide teams for the Royal Tournament, the RNKO continues on as a high profile event in the calendar of the Royal Navy Amateur Fencing Association (RNAFA). 
 
This year’s two top-performing teams (JSCSC and London URNU/President) now go forward to represent the Royal Navy at the Inter-services fencing championships next summer.

 
This competition always gives you a little sense of optimism. It allows you to fence really quite competitively because you think 'I actually have a chance here. I'm going to see what I can come away with.'

Lt Cdr Sacha Brooks

Unit Operations Officer for HMS Flying Fox, and coach to BURNU and HMS Flying Fox teams, Major Gareth Knowles said, “I’m delighted we were able to host this high profile event using the unit’s excellent facilities and to welcome nearly 30 fencers representing 15 units from across the Royal Navy. This fixture has allowed HMS Flying Fox to build on our grass roots fencing development within the unit and has encouraged a significant amount of novice fencers to take their first steps into competitive sport. 
 
“I’m thrilled that Bristol URNU won a very well deserved 3rd place in their very first competitive event this weekend. Our goals at Flying Fox are to continue to promote fencing and competition within the Royal Naval Reserve, develop new Reservist talent within the RN fencing team and invest in individuals’ development; growing our own athletes and coaches and improving the lived experience for all.”
 
The open nature of the competition is one of the appeals drawing back fencers year after year, with teams of regulars and reservists from across the Royal Navy competing, Lt Cdr Sacha Brooks, the RNAFA Women’s Team Captain commented, "This competition always gives you a little sense of optimism. It allows you to fence really quite competitively because you think 'I actually have a chance here. I'm going to see what I can come away with.'"
 
With selection complete for the inter-unit teams attending next year’s inter-services fencing championships, the best will now look to feature in the individual competition at next year's prestigious Royal Navy Fencing championships.
 
Training clubs run at JSCSC and HMS Temeraire. To find out more about Navy fencing email Lt Cdr Rubin Nash [email protected]

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