Young Louth fencers set for European challenge

Louth's international duo William Lonsdale (left) and Sam Blair EMN-180115-144802002
Louth's international duo William Lonsdale (left) and Sam Blair EMN-180115-144802002

A pair of talented young fencers are set for more international trips as they look to build on a groundbreaking 2017 season.

William Lonsdale and Sam Blair worked their way up through the under 17 rankings to earn selection for the British squad.

The pair, who are both 15 and members of Louth Fencing Club, are expected to be in the squads for Rome in January and Paris next month, having already competed in international competitions in Slovakia, Austria, and France.

William finished a superb fifth out of 208 fencers in Bratislava, Slovakia and has just qualified for the Cadet European Championships in Sochi, Russia.

The King Edward VI Grammar School pupil is ranked fourth in Britain in the under 17s age group and has set his sights on qualifying for the under 20s squad.

He won gold at the British Youth Championships, silver in the English Youth Championships, and also won a senior competition at the Norfolk Open.

Sam, meanwhile, is ranked as Britain’s number 12 in the under 17s, and won gold in Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol.

The Cordeaux Academy student also claimed an eye-catching seventh place in a top London International.

William and Sam are both on the and do part of their training in London and Manchester.

Both boys have had numerous placings around the country in both junior and senior events, individually and part of teams, and are on the British Talent Pathway programme, which allows them to train with national coaches in London and Manchester.

Jim Harris, who coaches the boys at Louth along with his wife Kate, said: “For a club of our size in our location to have a fencer on the national squad would be brilliant, but to have two on is just amazing.

“Well done to William and Sam for all the hard work to get there; they are a credit to both their schools and club.”