Fencing quartet collapse in quarter final at Sheffield

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Great Britain’s men’s foil team looked far from potential London 2012 medalists as they capitulated in their quarter-final against Germany at the European Fencing Championships at the EIS in Sheffield.

The hosts, who have their sights set on winning the nation’s first Olympic fencing medal in 48 years next summer, squandered an 11-point lead to lose 42-39. Britain led 29-22 going into the final match - each team contest is split into nine individual duels - but Laurence Halsted crumbled at the death against four-time world champion Peter Joppich. The defeat was particularly hard to take given Halsted had at first extended Britain’s advantage to the point where they looked home and dry.

The British quartet of Halsted, Richard Kruse, Edward Jefferies and Jamie Kenber, who beat Denmark 45-28 in their opening last-16 match, bounced back to finish in fifth place with wins over Poland and Austria. Kruse said: “I just don’t know how Joppich got back into it, I suppose that’s why he’s the four-time world champion.”