by Chris Tobin
When Steve Fish set out to start a fencing club in Waimate, it created some confusion.
Being a rural service town, people associated fencing with posts and No 8 wire, not with such things as sabres, foils and epee.
That has since changed.
Waimate now boasts, a small but committed club, with Fish as the coach.
“We’ve a dozen members which is quite a manageable number for a single coach.”
Rather than call it the Waimate Fencing Club, he has opted for a different name just to make it plain what the club is about.
“We call it the Waimate Swords Club.”
Fish was introduced to the sport at Brentwood School in Essex, which he attended.
“It’s not a well-known sport but besides individual competitions, it has team of three events that are really good fun.”
“We try to limit the cost to $5 a night and that covers all the protective gear, weapons and coaching.”
The club meets in Waimate’s Arts Society rooms on the corner of High and Shearman Sts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“We want to encourage under-15s and under-17s to take it up.
“Once they start and learn the technique of fencing they can carry it through life.”
People of most ages could enjoy the sport starting as a beginner, he said.
“We’ve had a 60-year-old starting and continuing and a guy in his 50s.”
Fish said while it was a great little club he would like to “future-proof” it with more members.
“Not many small rural towns have fencing.”
Recently, four club members contested the Fencing Mid South championships in Nelson which cover the region from the Waitaki River to Nelson.
Fish’s son Jonathan won the under-15 foil for the second year in a row; another son, Peter Fish, won the under-17 foil for the third year to add to a silver medal he won at the New Zealand championships in the foil the week before.
In the girls’ under-15 foil, Lexis Mawdsley finished third and Thomas Jefferis was 11th in the under-17 foil.
Peter Fish also won the epee in which Jonathan won silver; Jefferis was fifth and Mawdsley sixth.
He will contest the national championships in Wellington next month and in July, both Fish brothers will contest the Australian championships in Sydney.