A SWASHBUCKLING team of miniature fencers have been declared the champions of a prestigious fencing competition.

Pupils from Prior Park Prep School, in Cricklade, were named the 2017 champions of the IAPS (Independent Association of Schools) National Fencing Championships after a dazzling display of swordsmanship at Millfield School in Somerset last weekend.

The IAPS championship saw 568 fencers from schools across the UK competing in the three categories of epée, sabre and foil.

Although the Prior Park entered with some trepidation, due to the smaller team size – eight rather than the recommended 10 – it took comfort from having two team members from the England Fencing Team.

A trophy was re-presented to the victors in a special assembly earlier this week and a new plaque was engraved.

The Prior Park’s fencing coach Neil Bromley said: “With Eddie and Charlie in the England team for foil and epée we always felt that we were in with a chance, but the result was beyond our wildest expectations.

“Eddie and Charlie performed fantastically over the weekend. With the support of the other children who fenced incredibly well, we achieved the final title.

“Maddy is the Under-nine Wiltshire Champion and Wiltshire under-10 bronze medallist. For her to convert these achievements into a national title is phenomenal.

“Teddy’s performance in epee was remarkable, given that he has only had one hour’s tuition.

“Ethan was also remarkable fencing with his secondary weapon, the epée due to his range of his other commitments that weekend.”

Team captain Ed, Year 8, said: “The squad fenced really well all weekend to give us the best possible chance of winning the small prep school national title.

“I'm thrilled with my performance and contribution, but sorry I had to knock out two of my team mates on the way.

Charlie, Year 7, said: “It was great to represent my school at this national championship.

“We all tried our hardest and it was a shame for me that Ed and I met before the final, but I'm still really proud of my two bronze medals. I can't wait to defend the title next year.”