Posted on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by Heather Dodd
Bank Holiday Monday 5th May once again saw ‘Knights-in-Training’ from all over the country descend upon the prestigious Knights of Middle England’s Warwick base at the Warwick International School of Riding for the 8th Bi-Annual Amateur Jousting Tournament. A unique opportunity for their regular ‘Trainee Knights’; participants are invited to take part in the competition and join the UK’s only Amateur Jousting League.
Now in its fourth year, The Knights of Middle England opened their gates to all to come along and join in with the Medieval festivities for the day, all run in support of the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance. As well the Jousting competition, spectators were treated to ‘Have-a-Go’ longbow archery workshops, delicious food and drink from Farrier’s Fayre and Falconry and Archery displays.
Run biannually, eleven participants battled it out, at the eighth tournament, over a series of heats that culminated in a Jousting Finale. The “Knights in Training” are marked in an ‘X-Factor’ style on their ‘Skills at Arms.’ This consisted of three mounted skills or games – striking the dreaded man-shaped target called a Quintaine; collecting small rings onto their lance whilst riding at speed and spearing a ‘peasant’s head’ off the ground from their steed. Bonus marks were awarded for the chopping of suspended ‘targets’ from their horse with their cavalry sword. Points were then collated to decide who would take pole-position for the start of the ‘jousting heat’ against an instructor.
Head Instructor Karl Ude-Martinez said of the participants: “The competition was once again wide open and all competitors were very nervous and had been working hard in preparation for the day. They were all keen to do well and score highly to better their league positions. The introduction of a new format to this years ‘Skills at Arms’ section definitely kept everyone on their toes and really put both riding and jousting skills to the test! Those with the steadiest lance and well trained eye (and a little bit of luck!), took the lead for the joust which would prove hard to win back.”
However, the competition was not yet won!The eleven participants took up their shield and lance, closed down their visor and the battle for that first place began! They were each marked on accuracy, presentation of their lance and shield and also riding technique. As the most important section of the Tournament, with the most points on offer, the pressure was on to do well!
Instructor Kelly Baddeley exclaimed: “It was great to see all the continued support for this event and how the league is growing from strength to strength, the league is ideal for anyone who wants to take up a new hobby – Amateur Jousting can now be on people’s lists! The new format really shook things up and with the introduction of new skills on the way, the Tournament just gets bigger and better every year!!”
During the “Joust”, three of the Knights of Middle England instructors scored their sheets and the points were all added together to give them the winner! Holding his strong lead from the ‘Skills’ section of the Tournament with a consistent Joust defending champion Steve Fearnley a.k.a. ‘Victor Von Doom’ claimed the Winner’s Shield for the third time! The first to win back-to-back, Steve first won the Tournament in May 2011 and then again in October last year. His consistent placings and wins mean he still holds his strong lead at the top of the ongoing Amateur Jousting League.
Second place went to another previous Tournament winner – Nic Bevan a.k.a ‘Sir Nicholas of Oakfield’ who pulled himself up the rankings after a particularly strong Joust, but could not quite catch up to Victor Von Doom.
Third place went to Kevin Hallett a.k.a ‘Sir Kevin Earl of Essex’ who is always a strong competitor to watch out for on the day and often found in the top 3. Kevin was also awarded the ‘Deramore Rhythm Trophy’ a special award presented to the participant who, the judges felt on the day deserved particular recognition.
The day ended with a fantastic and very entertaining show from The Knights of Middle England Team themselves, where the winner of the Tournament had the chance of being in their show as a guest Knight! Overall, the day raised just under £500 for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, and after celebrations and commiserations, all are looking forward to the next Tournament in October!
For more information on how you can learn to joust with The Knights and take part in our Amateur Jousting Tournament yourself, or to find out more about the various packages we offer including Jousting Displays, stag and hen, corporate and schools events please do get in contact with us!
w: www.knightofmiddleengland.com e: [email protected] t: 01926 400401