A team match is between two teams of three fencers (each team is also allowed one “reserve” fencer) and the format is called a 45-touch relay. Every fencer fences a 3-minute bout against each fencer on the other team. This is a little like pools except that fencers don’t fence anyone on their own team. As there are three fencers on each team, there are nine bouts in a match. As with pools, the order of the bouts is set in advance.
Before each match the team captain, advised by the coach (if present), decides which three fencers will fence in the match and which fencer will be the reserve (a different fencer can be the reserve in each match). The captain may substitute the reserve for another fencer after any bout, or in the middle of a bout in the case of injury. However, the fencer who comes out may not fence again in the same match.
The first bout ends when one team has five touches, or the three minutes are up. The second bout starts with the score where it was at the end of the first bout (that’s what makes it a relay) and continues until one team has a total of 10 touches or time expires. The third bout continues until one team has 15 touches, the fourth until 20 touches and so on.
The ninth bout continues until one team has 45 touches. If time expires first, the team that is ahead is the winner. If the score is tied when time expires, there is an extra one minute of fencing with priority (as in pools and DEs) between the same two fencers who competed in the ninth bout.
Except in the ninth bout, it is okay for the score to be tied at the end of a bout. It is also okay for both teams to reach the target number of touches for the bout. For example, if the score is 14-14 in the third bout and there is a double-touch, the score goes to 15-15 and the bout ends.
Below is an example score sheet for a match in progress. From top to bottom, it shows which fencers compete in each of the nine bouts. Down the middle are the numbers 1-45. The scorekeeper puts a mark beside the number for each touch scored. At the end of each bout the current total score is entered in the box headed “Score”.
Also in the example, the team on the right has made a substitution. Beginning in the fourth bout, Meeks replaces Kretzmer.