The Adventures of Ruby Paul: France Beckons

You don’t always see much of Ruby at the club due to her ongoing coaching and various tournaments taking her up and down the breadth of the country. Now her travels take her even further afield with a visit to France.


She has been selected along with several others to attend a French Archery Academy in Dijon in April as well as already attending the New Age Group (NAG) academy at Lilleshall one weekend a month. Attending both of these academies is a huge achievement and each archer must work hard, show promise and earn their place in what is a phenomenal opportunity for progression in the sport.

Prior to NAG Ruby attended the National Talent Development Programme (NTDP). The NTDP is a great opportunity to get assistance from Archery GB and all archers under the age of 20 can apply for this programme. If you have an interest in joining the NTDP please see the archery GB website for instructions on how to apply.

It is a huge achievement that Ruby was able to progress from NAG after only 1 year of attending the programme. It is even more impressive that her progression in the sport continues with a place on the FAA and the club is very proud of her achievements to date. We are even more pleased to see Ruby having the opportunity to train overseas and gain further valuable experience in an international setting.
Ruby herself can’t wait and feels she has worked so hard over the past 12 months by shooting 700-750 arrows a week on top of strength and conditioning training,  bow drills,  cardio, benchmarking,  pre-hap and coach contact. Twice a week she also attends Aim4Sport where she is so lucky to have not only her Academy Coach but also her Personal Coach, Gaynor Hutchison and Dave Leader.

Alongside all of the archery madness Ruby is also juggling her A levels!
Archers of Raunds would like to congratulate Ruby on being chosen for this fantastic opportunity. It is great to see hard work and determination paying off and Archers of Raunds are very proud of her achievements to date. We look forward to hearing about her travels upon her return!

Posted in AoR Juniors, AoR News, Archery Achievement, Ruby Paul | Leave a comment

Outdoor classifications – A beginners guide

At the recent AGM certificates were handed out to people who had achieved their next Portsmouth award and to those that had achieved a classification in the 2016 outdoor shooting season.

A few people came up to me and asked what the system was for, what a “first” was or a “bowman”. This guide is for you and our newer members which are just starting their first outdoor season.

So what is a “classification”?

When shooting outdoors the classification scheme is used as a method of reviewing your progress and gives you a target to aim for.

The classification is awarded at the end of each outdoor season if you shoot 3 qualifying scores in competitions. This includes our Sunday competition round.

The classifications, from easiest to obtain to most difficult, are third class, second Class, first Class, bowman, master bowman and grand master bowman (NB: juniors are awarded junior bowman and junior master bowman instead. There is no gmb qualification for juniors).

The scores required change depending on the round shot, age and gender. This levels the playing field and makes it easier to compare progress between other archers of any age or gender.

A list of the required scores can be found in THIS DOCUMENT
The classification list works as follows:

  • The bow class is listed at the top of each page.
  • Each column represents a particular round as described at the top of the column.
  • Each row provides the gender or age of the individual and the score required for each classification.

    So you know the score you need and the round.  But you have no clue what the rounds consistent of? I have tables for that as well…

    Please click HERE for a list of the rounds at sections 1.1 and 1.2

    The above tables list the amount of arrows (in dozens) you need to shoot at each distance for that particular round.

    So now you have all the information you need to try and obtain your target classification this outdoor season. I look forward to hearing how you get on.

    In addition to the outdoor classifications there are also a few other awards. I would recommend reading the shooting administrative procedures for further information. A list of awards can be found at section 6 HERE

    If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

    (A final note: master and grandmaster bowman classifications can ONLY be achieved at record status competitions. This applies to both juniors and seniors).

Posted in AoR Juniors, AoR Seniors, Beginners, Competition | Leave a comment

Additional Pictures from the AoR Open Portsmouth 2017

Good Evening all,

Please find below my images from the AoR open. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and hope you enjoy the pictures.


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Portsmouth Results Online

aor-portsmouth-2016-top2Hi everyone,

There was some great shooting across the board last Sunday and I’m pleased to confirm that the results from the Archers of Raunds 39th Annual Portsmouth Open Tournament (say that after a few drinks), are now online.

The results can be obtained from the Events -> Results Page link on the site or simply by clicking here.

These should be sufficient to claim and county and national records, but please contact AoR if you need any more support in those claims.

Also, just a reminder that the photographs from the event are online (on, please email Martyn if you would like copies.  In addition, Matthew and Michelle took some great photographs and they will be uploading some more images to the blog over the next few days.  All in all, another very successful and enjoyable tournament.

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Open Portsmouth Tournament


The Archers of Raunds Open Annual Portsmouth tournament is one of the highlights of the club’s indoor calendar.  The club usually hosts three Portsmouth rounds during the day, giving archers of all abilities and ages a chance to undertake a single round, a double round and for the most ambitious amongst us, the gruelling triple round.

The preparations

The preparations for the event began well in advance with Richard (our tournament officer) putting in a lot of hard work promoting and organising the event. Then the work to setup the hall started on Saturday which meant cutting short the usual shooting session. The setup was quick and painless thanks to Geoff being able to take this role on with his eyes closed, one arm tied behind his back and singing … well I don’t know what he sings really, but you get the point – with his guidance and a good AoR crew around him, the laying out of the hall was quick and easy.

The big day arrived which meant an early start. The first task for most of us was scraping ice off of the car and for some a long journey as well.  However, Leza soon had the bacon sizzling to warm everyone up and the smell wafting through the hall.


Competition Day

The assembly for the first session was just before 9:00 and Martyn opened the address with a welcome and the usual housekeeping items.  He then handed over to Heather and Val who would be our brilliant judges for the day.

Session one passed with some very competitive shooting, smiles, some frowns and a few reports of personal best scores being placed during the session.  Session two and session three passed in a similar way with Geoff only being called on for a couple of equipment failures, the day just ran beautifully.

After the final round was shot, Richard cracked on with collating the scores while the AoR team packed the shoot away.  With the raffle completed the awards were presented with Ruby as our Lady Paramount and then people went on their way – hopefully happy and satisfied with their achievements through the day.

A few interesting things to note

aor-portsmouth-2016-archieYoung Archie really puts the time into his archery and his performance really showed during his amazing triple round shoot.  He left with a raft of medals and the Junior Gents trophy, but the highlight for him was shooting alongside high flyers Ruby Paul and Brad Denny.  Brad (Archie’s idol) surprised most of us by joining the shoot for one round and then went on to shoot all three.  It made Archie’s day and I even caught him on camera taking down the target face that he and Brad shot on.  It’ll be a wonderful keepsake and thanks goes to Brad for making a young man very happy indeed.

aor-portsmouth-2016-kevinTowards the end of the event I also learned that Kevin had been shooting a very (VERY) special bow and set of arrows.  A little over a year ago, the club lost a great friend and supporter.  Phil Rhodes was one of those guys that was always ready to help despite having not been well for some time.  Kevin and Phil became great friends and often traveled to clubs to shoot together.  When Phil sadly passed away, he inherited Phil’s bow and arrows and during session three Kevin shot Phil’s bow and arrows in memory of his friend.  A fabulous gesture as I am sure everyone will agree.

With four national champions and at least one NCAS past county champion shooting in the room, the competition was going to be tough.  As a result, I heard of many personal best scores being posted throughout the day and some being broken more than once. With the recent rule changes each round now counts and any of the rounds can count as an archers best score.

aor-portsmouth-2016-deb2In addition, I’ve also heard that a national record might also have been broken, not once but twice during the event.  Congratulations to Debbie on that amazing achievement and I look forward to hearing about that being officially confirmed in the fullness of time.

It was also great to see so many archers undertaking their first tournament with us.  I’d like to thank all of you for joining us and supporting AoR and we look forward to shooting with you and welcoming you back in the near future.

Martyn, from M4Photo was also on hand to capture a few hundred images from the day.  For those of you who attended, those images are now available from in the Archers of Raunds gallery.

Posted in AoR Juniors, AoR News, AoR Seniors, Archery Achievement, Bradley Denny, Competition, Portsmouth, Tournaments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Target List Online

awaytournamentsJust a quick note to let anyone that is shooting the 39th Annual Portsmouth at Archers of Raunds this coming Sunday, the provisional target list is now available on our website.  As always, this will be subject to change between now and the event, so please double check the target lists in the hall on Sunday.

Good luck to everyone shooting and we hope that you have a great day.


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Your First Competition: Some tips for our newer members

Dear Diary,

Oops! Wrong Document.

Good afternoon readers,

The coaching team has been encouraging our newer members of Archers of Raunds to compete in the AoR open Portsmouth on the 22nd and I am delighted to see that so many have entered.

My intention with this blog post is to try and help you with your first competition and give you some hints and tips on what you can expect.

So lets get started!

Before the competition

  • Check the rules for dress codes and make sure you comply with them. Rule 307 is the one to look at and can be found here:[21393].pdf
  • Check your equipment. Make sure that there is no damage to your arrows for instance and you have any spares you may need. Most importantly make sure everything is together and ready to go. There is nothing worse than getting to the competition to realise something is still at home!
  • Check you have the correct sight settings. This Saturday would be the ideal time to double check them but it will be a shorter session due to the hall being set up for the competition so turn up early to make sure you can get any practice you may need.
  • Set a personal goal. This could be reaching above a certain score or a new PB. By setting yourself a goal you can concentrate on your own shooting and forget about everyone else.
  • Make sure you understand the round you are shooting, how to score it and how many arrows each end. If you are unsure try to find out beforehand or worse case speak to someone from the club on the morning.
  • Prepare plenty of fluids and food. There will be refreshments available on the day but you want to ensure that you eat normally. If you usually have a pizza for breakfast, hot dog lunch and a doner kebab in the evening then a spinach and grape smoothie for breakfast will not do you any favours! Equally Be careful not to eat anything that will be too heavy. We all know what it feels like on Christmas day when the Turkey isn’t the only thing stuffed anymore…     imagine trying to shoot with a similar feeling! Top tips for food choices include slow release foods that will provide energy over a longer period of time including nuts, potatoes, cereals and pasta as examples (Wholemeal options are even better!). Also consider a high energy sports drink to keep you going.
  • Photography (in any way shape or form) – if you intend to take any form of imagery whilst at the event you MUST sign the photography request form prior to the competition. Please see a committee member for further information.

Competition day

  • Sign in – All competitions have a register and you must sign this to confirm you are present. You may also be requested to provide your GNAS card as well so ensure you have this to hand.
  • Set up your equipment with plenty of time to spare and check which boss you will be shooting on and which detail you will be (A and B shoot first, C and D second). If you bump into your fellow shooters then feel free to introduce yourself and make them aware that this is your first competition (if you would like to). Archery is a gentlemen’s sport and they should be happy to help and guide you if you need it.
  • Remember your etiquette – Do not leave the shooting line if someone is at full draw, stay on the line if you are the second to last person and so on. The rules I linked to above contain the etiquette as well if you would like to check it (paragraph 3).
  • Scoring – remember not to touch your arrows! Point at the nock only!
  • Call the highest score through to the lowest.
  • Check EVERYONES scores. If you think someone has called an arrow higher than it is say so. If that person disagrees the judge has the final say and should be called over.
  • What if something goes wrong? An arrow bounces out of the boss? Part of your equipment fails? Take a few steps back from the line when it is safe to do so and raise your bow in the air. This will get the judges attention. The judge will advise what you need to do to rectify the situation

After the competition

  • Check the scoresheet – make sure the maths are correct. Once you sign it you have accepted it! Any amendments required should be highlighted to the judge and they will advise what you need to do to correct it.
  • Once you are happy ensure it is signed by yourself and the target captain (the person that wrote your scores down).
  • If you have enjoyed shooting with your fellow archers let them know. Also thank them for their assistance scoring and pulling. Half the fun of a competition is making new friends… make the most of it! Chances are you may see them at the next competition.

Most importantly enjoy the day. Archery is a fantastic sport full of lovely people. Your aim for the day should be to enjoy yourself and shoot the best you can.

Do you have any tips worth sharing? Have I missed a few? comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Edit: Some Great comments below. Please be sure to read them for some tips i missed!

Please also feel free to share this blog with anyone you may feel will benefit from it.

I look forward to seeing you on the line this Sunday!

p.s. I was offered a bacon roll if I opened this post with “Dear Diary”. I could not refuse such an offer and look forward to collecting my prize from Ruby…

Posted in AoR News, Beginners, Competition, Portsmouth, Tournaments | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

AoR Fun Shoot



It was with some trepidation that  awoke this morning, packed up the AoR Fun Shoot targets and other paraphernalia and of course my camera case.  When I first suggested this shoot, someone said to me “Don’t over complicate things”, but me being me, that is exactly what I’d done.  Mixed with trying something completely new and untried, the session was therefore set to be either a mitigating disaster or the best laugh ever.

However, there really was nothing to worry about because the morning session went wonderfully well with people laughing and enjoying themselves from the off.

This was a shoot where “Anything Goes” and that became clear from the outset.  I’d promoted this as a 20m shoot but then realised that the usual line that we shoot on is blank across part of the hall (a line on a badminton court). So a quick last moment decision and the first of many, saw the shooting line moved back by about 3 or 4 meters.  So what about everyone’s sight marks, well you get sighters right to sort that one out????

After a short welcome address, we got straight into shooting, and I mean straight into shooting.  Yup, the second surprise of the day, NO SIGHTERS, now that’s not normal.  Where was this shoot going???

With that the archers set about putting some scores on the board.  Now, Matthew had given me an idea on Friday.  He’d asked me whether the scores could go into minus.  Of course, without giving the game away, I said of course – afterall this is a shoot where anything can happen and probably will.  So, everyone shot their 12 arrows per team and we had plenty of nice scores, nice groups in the gold and everyone came back from the targets looking a little too happy with themselves.  Enter twist number three.

2016_11_27_img_0007154The targets that we were shooting on were enhanced with pictures that put you in jail, one you chance cards, jokers, etc.  I’d decided on the way over that IF all of the teams did the usual archery thing and simply shoot for the gold, well, I’d mix thing up a little and set the tone for the shoot.  Yup – I zero’d everyone’s score sheets for the end – Hey we had an end of sighters anyway <rofl>.

Yes the rules were a little complicated but with the help of four strong team captains people soon got over their apprehension and the idea behind this shoot slowly began to dawn on people, well quite quickly actually because by the third end we were earning and playing chance cards and the teams could then see what I meant by the fact that “I was NOT in control of what happening in this shoot.  It was up to the teams to earn, claim and play cards that changed everything.2016_11_27_img_0007161

You really needed to be there to understand the cards that were being played and how they affected the teams scores.  However, our visiting team, up from Milton Keynes, SALT, quickly took a strong lead and on many occasion I noticed them checking what the other teams were doing.  Tactics were already beginning to play their part.

However, how to you play your tactics where a whole team plays a joker and finds themselves shooting a club barebow, when most of the team had not shot barebow in a long time, leaving the team captain to coach barebow on the line.  Like I said anything goes.

Matthew did a great job and his team were rewarded with a nice haul of points for the end.  Annoyingly, they got to play the card again later and knowing that misses now scored 50 points, Eddie (English Longbow archer) stepped up to shoot all of the teams 12 arrows, perfectly legal and again tactics playing their part.  Tony’s team noticed what was going on and in the spirit of the event, he decided to shoot one of his arrows straight into the gold of Matthews target.  That confused us for a moment when we came to score, but nice one Tony, I really enjoyed that moment.

2016_11_27_img_0007160Another moment that I thoroughly enjoyed was one of Amanda’s (from SALT) shots.  She’d never taken out the X and for a few anxious moments see studied the boss from the waiting line trying to see whether she’d hit that elusive X on the boss.  It’s hard to tell evening with a scope because the hall lights cast awkward shadows on the boss form the arrows.

Going forward full of  anticipation, I was hugely pleased to see her arrow firmly embedded in the X and we had to celebrate her achievement with a impromptu round of applause.

At AoR, it’s not always about the big wins, the club and county records.  Those are important to archers as they progress but, for me, it’s those small personal achievement moments that make archery so much fun.

The shoot continued to score sheets being swapped back and forth, much to Matthew and Tony’s annoyance, delight, bewilderment (I’m not quite sure which).  Score sheets were amended with additions and subtractions from the Chance Cards and then the Jokers started to come out.


On one end, Martin’s team played a Joker which had them sit out and quietly not shoot, much to the amusement of the SALT team to quickly noticed and began pondering on what was going on.  Neil, there was no need for the binoculars on this one, your team might have been doing well, but Martin’s team claimed a whole heap of points for doing nothing and it actually became a Fun Shoot winning end for the team.  With SALT well out in the lead for so long and reminders form me that “Anything can happen”, the whole shoot turned on its head at the end.

Another of my classic and favourite moments from the shoot was where partners Matthew and Michelle came to blows, literally.  I missed the actual event, but with lots of laughing going on I had to find out what the nature of the amusement was.  Matthew had done something (annoying I can’t recall what but maybe someone will fill in the details in a comment below) which obviously Michelle was not too happy about and she marched over to his team and gave him a good slap or six.  All if good part and what fun, this really is what this shoot is all about.

2016_11_27_img_0007163         2016_11_27_img_0007159

All along the shooting line were smiles, laughs, confused faces and bewilderment, oh and a little exasperation at time.  So, was I worried.  Not any longer, the shoot was going really well and the moment that I knew that we’d got the balance right was when the team captains began sharing the deeds of their cards in front of the archers and best of all was when the SALT captain took to the floor and addressed the other teams with a nice thank you for making them feel so welcome and giving them 200 points each, yup another chance card to mix things up a little.  I think that this is the first time that I have seen a visitor jump out and take control and it was immensely warming to me to see this happen and it really summed up the whole event for me:


Finally and by no means last a few thank you notes from myself.

Firstly to Leza for taking time out of a very busy day to lay on the catering and especially the bacon rolls which were the icing on the cake.  I know that you needed to be in Lilleshall to pick up Ruby in the afternoon, so I was hugely grateful for you taking this time out to support the club.

To Cate for helping me to keep the rules in check and to help keep things running smoothly.  Yes, I did notice that you asked me a lot of qualifying questions for the first couple of ends and then cruised the waiting line helping the teams.

To Lauren, who (without reading too  much into what I was planning) helped me to finalise the shoot in my head and then who helped to create the countless cards and the target faces.

Finally, to all of the archers who came along to support the club’s fun shoot and especially the team from SALT.

So what next?  Well I’ve already had reports from young and not so young that they want to do this shoot again VERY soon.  Plus, the one person that had been asking me to put on this shoot ended up having to shoot at ArcheryGB in Lilleshall this weekend and I believe that she was very disappointed to miss this one.  Let’s do this again in January or February at a time when young Ruby can also join us.

Thoughts in a comment below please.

Posted in AoR News, Archery Achievement, Fun Shoot | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

IMPORTANT – AoR Shooting Times



Please be aware that the shooting times for December 24th and 31st have been changed to accommodate early closing of the college.  The college have kindly let us have the morning on these two days and we will therefore be shooting between 10.00 am and 12.30pm on both days.

Also, the AoR Fun Day is fast approaching.  Shooting the Fun Day on the 27th November will be by prior application only.  I need application forms and your payment by the end of Sunday 20th November and I do not plan to cater for people turning up on the day.  This is because I need to create special targets and make other arrangements for the shoot.

I will be at the club on Friday (17th) so please bring your entry forms along and catch me at the end of the session.

Please also share these time changes and the fun shoot with other people shooting at the club.  This will help to avoid people turning up to shoot and being turned away or finding that we have finished shooting.

Many thanks.



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Another rising star!!!


Archers of Raunds have always prided themselves in offering good basic coaching from day one of the beginners course. This was drummed into me by Roy who was my brilliant mentor and senior coach for the first few years of my short coaching career. Now, I work with Senior Club Coach Tony and Candidate Coach Neil to deliver those same high standards that we hope will set people off on the right track with regards to their archery.

Every once in a while, we see someone special come along and it is an absolute joy to be able to set someone off on the path of success. For me, this came early in my coaching career. I’d been working with Ruby’s brother for a while and one day she asked to have a go. From that session, we knew that she could go on to great things. She joined the beginners course, listened, worked hard and the results soon came in great arrow groupings. Geoff quickly took over what I had started and he continues to mentor and work with Ruby today. Yes, she’s been coached by much better coaches than I and those people have taken her on to shoot much better than I could, but I always think of those often frustrating fledgling days when the basics are put in place for the better coaches to build on.

What’s really nice, is when your past beginners (now experienced archers) come over to a new course and share some time with the new intake of beginners. This is something that Ruby ‘always’ does and it is hugely welcome. Sometimes it can even make your day. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was working with a new archer and explaining about using her back muscles to draw the bow for more power and control. Behind me, Ruby watched and listened and then commented that she remembered an exact same conversation that I’d had with her at the beginning of her career and what a difference it made. Well, they say that archery is all about consistency and I guess I’m consistent in my teaching.

Anyway, I was hugely proud of Ruby to learn that she has recently taken her archery to the next level. With lots of records in the bag and a technique that just gets better and better, she spent the last year with the National Talent and Development programme with Archery GB. Last month, she was called back for a profiling day at Lilleshall and she has since learned that she has been picked to join the Archery GB Academy. This is nearing the top flight and some of the best coaching available in the UK. I just know that she’ll embrace the coaching, building on her archery knowledge and develop into an even better archer under their stewardship.

People often ask why I give up my Friday evenings to coach adults and children. This, amongst other similar stories (yes I’m watching Archie), is just one of the reasons. To see the joy from such an accomplishment from someone so young and that you started out on the road is second to none.

I wish Ruby all the success and I’ll keep watching her progress, even though she is now well beyond my basic coaching skills.

If you would like to have a try at archery and you live in the Raunds, Rushden, Wellingborough, Thrapston area, please contact Tony or Martyn on and we’ll set something up for you as soon as possible.

Posted in AoR Juniors, AoR News, Archery Achievement, Ruby Paul | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment