Period 1: Simmons and Eldeib begin the bout at large distance, with Simmons preparing with half advance and half extension to draw out Eldeib’s attack because of Eldeib’s significant height advantage. Eldeib takes 3-2 lead by baiting Simmons’ attack and countering before Simmons’ front foot is able to hit the ground. Simmons changes tactics to bring the bout inside by engaging in a deep six to tie the bout at 3-3, yet Eldeib is ready for this action on the next touch and meets Simmons with a well-timed parry-riposte before Simmons can get inside to take a 4-3 lead. Simmons does a beautiful last second disengage into Eldeib’s preparation to tie at 4-4.
At this point, Simmons tries to take a different tactical approach, trying to lure Eldeib to his end of the strip. Simmons and Eldeib launch an attack at the same time, doubling out. Once again a consecutive double to tie the bout at 6-6. Simmons surprises Eldeib with a short feint 6 preparatory action under the guard with advance to close the distance and finish with a beautiful close in 6 to a lunge. 7-6. Eldeib comes towards Simmons a little faster and more aggressive than usual and baits Simmons into infighting once again, closing out Simmons with a parry-riposte to tie at 7-7. Simmons responds quickly with a feint 6 preparatory action under the guard with advance, this time hitting Eldeib cleanly with the preparation to go up 8-7. The touches begin to come out a lot faster. Eldeib pushes Simmons and launches a long lunge with last second disengage into Simmons’ advance before Simmons can close him out in 4. 8-8.
Simmons responds by feinting 6, making Eldeib think he is going for the short action under the guard once again, and Eldeib falls for the trap and launches into the preparation to be met with a strong 8 from Simmons. Within three seconds, Simmons launches a feint 6 disengage lunge to Eldeib’s body, but Eldeib uses his long arm to counter Simmons for a single light before he can get close. 9-9. The two fencers take the last 23 seconds to back off and kill the clock, with the 1st period ending at 9-9.
Period 2: Simmons begins to push Eldeib with much smaller steps than he began the first period with, and does a small flick remise over the top of Eldeib’s guard to take the 10-9 lead. Eldeib pauses in quiet contemplation for a moment, but then gives the thumbs up, because when you have a name like “Ace,” you have to be positive and shit.
Simmons doubles out Eldeib. 11-10. And finally: the turning point of the bout. The entire bout thus far had been a back and forth between Simmons scoring, followed by Eldeib scoring, followed by double touches. Neither fencer held more than a one touch lead at any point during the bout. Simmons begins to pull Eldeib in and does a flick in preparation, then closes Eldeib out in a deep 6 to take a 12-10 lead.
In the “I swear to God Eldeib can cover an entire strip with an advance-lunge” moment, Eldeib covers a lot of ground with an advance lunge but is met with Simmons who does some kind of a creative squat-down 8 counter-attack in response. 13-10 Simmons.
Simmons slaps his thighs, as if to say, “Hey guys, I got this.” Or maybe he was in pain. I don’t know. Simmons goes for his deep infight quickly, but Eldeib takes a large retreat and counterattacks before Simmons can continue. 13-11. Once again, Simmons flicks to draw Eldeib out and goes for the deep 6 once again. 14-11. Eldeib goes for a deep toe touch into Simmons’ advance, misses, then goes for it again to be met by Simmons’ point. 15-11, final score.
Overall: This bout was an excellent case study in how to manage an opponent with freakishly long arms and long attacks when you’re not quite his size, which is what Simmons managed to do. Simmons’s marquis action was the use of a flick to draw Ace out and to finish with a deep 6 at the last second, which he landed somewhere between 5-7 times.
This bout ended in 229 seconds; yet, if you subtract the 23 seconds at the end of the first, there were roughly 206 seconds of active fencing in the bout.
The bout had a total of 26 touches scored, roughly 5 of which double touches, which means that there were a total of 21 halts in the action due to a touch scored. What this means is that there a touch scored once every 9.81 seconds—a very fast pace for an epee bout. Simmons chose to fence an aggressive bout, and it paid off for him.
Both have many more years in Juniors, and are not only quality fencers, but great people as well. It will surely not be the last time they meet up!