Confidence will be sky high this weekend as aspiring young fencer Amber Moss bids for a national title following a maiden senior tournament win.
Prior to this season, the exciting Louth sportswoman had narrowly failed to win a senior medal in her fledgling career, but she broke her duck with an impressive epee silver at the Welsh Open.
Moss followed it with another runners-up spot at the Hereford and Worcester Open, and then took this momentum into the Cambridge Winter Open where she registered her first-ever senior title.
She said: “I had never managed to break through to the medals at senior competitions; I’m usually just outside the top four.
“We weren’t expecting anything, I just entered the seniors for experience and to calm my nerves before the junior championships.
“But everything seemed to click into place. I beat some of the top seniors who had beaten me umpteen times before, and I beat them quite convincingly.”
The 18-year-old, who is sponsored by Louth-based accountants Clark Hearsey and the town branch of the Nottingham Building Society, has had to show plenty of character to recover from long-term injuries in recent seasons.
But Moss’ recent results suggest she is over those setbacks and back to full fitness.
Her physical as well as mental stamina were certainly put to the test in Cambridge where she fought through from 9am to 6pm to earn her winners’ medal.
The intense competition schedule plunged her into two pools of six followed by four direct eliminators.
And for some, the strain is just too great.
“At Hereford I was losing 14-7 to one of the seniors, but managed to hold my nerve and pull it back to win 15-14,” she added.
“You normally go off the boil when you are that far behind.
“Someone went out (of the arena) to tell my parents I had been knocked out. They were very confused when they didn’t see me for ages!
“My parents come with me to tournaments, but my mum’s too nervous to watch, and my dad keeps her company.
“She says it makes her feel like she’s been fencing, too, because it’s so stressful.”
Moss, who twice fought for the Great Britain junior squad in World Cup series last year, will be among the medal favourites this weekend in London.
But the University of Lincoln student is canny enough to know nothing in sport is guaranteed
She said: “Hopefully I’m going to get a medal and that would set me up for the rest of the season. I will be disappointed if I don’t.
“It is worth double points so if you mess up you have to fight to get your whole season back.
“Ideally I would like to win, but with the amount of girls there and knowing the standard, it’s anyone’s game. Anyone can win on the day.”