As I understand it, it is more the lethality of real world combat that allows combatants using weapons with a longer reach to keep their opponents at a reasonable distance. Where this breaks down is when the opponent is Heavily Armoured and capable of resisting initial contact or has use of a Shield and can use it to block the opening attack (which is the theory behind modern understanding of the use of the Roman Scutum and Gladius, which basically helps to explain the tendency towards shorter blades and the advantage it provides). Of course, those are mainly theoretical explanations.
Anywho, glad you both like the mechanical implementation. Obviously, there is room for variation of application.