Today Lauren and I would once again be up early for another archery tournament. This week she would be joining the NCAS team to shoot a Bristol II at the EMAS Junior Inter-Counties Tournament. More commonly referred to as the Sydney Bond Tournament, the archers would be shooting Bristol rounds according to their age agroups. The shoot was to be hosted by WOAC over at the old Grammarians Memorial Sports Field in Wellingborough, so thankfully not too far to travel and not too early a start.
Lauren would be joined by Katie, Bradley and (first time out for the NCAS Squad) Louis from Archers of Raunds. That would be nearly half the NCAS recurve squad being made up of AoR archers and testament to the strength of the clubs junior team and how they have developed over the last few months. We already have our eyes on a few other promising juniors, so maybe we’ll add to the number on the team next year.
Anyway, with some good weather for sighters at the club on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoon and with kits checked and double checked all four archers were well prepared and looking forward to another day in the sun, some more personal bests and maybe, just maybe go one better than last year.
Alas, opening the curtains and peering out found that the trees in the garden we blowing at a horrible angle and the clouds were racing across the sky. Well, Lauren does like windy conditions so let’s see what today will bring.
The Old Grammarians ground is on the far side of Wellingborough on the ‘mad mile’ but it is easily found and nice an convenient for us. With the car packed and kit triple checked it was just a short drive up the A45 to the ground where we found the field already setup, despite arriving a good hour ahead of time. The logistics for WOAC must have been challenging as their bosses are large and there was a lot of equipment to ferry over from their lockup. However, from the outside the whole shoot ran flawlessly, the field was laid out brilliantly and there was no need for AoR archers to adjust sights for uphill shooting.
The only fly in the ointment was a horrendous left to right cross wind that would prove to hinder and annoy some of the best archers on the field. The field was bordered by two roughly six foot high banks either side of the field and the wind was coming over the top and swirling around for about half way across the field. The flags on bosses 1 to 4 were flying strongly but inconsistently all day, bosses 5 to 8 were not much better with periods of inconsistency followed by consistency and then back again to inconsistent. The remaining bosses for the younger archers thankfully had a relatively consistent left to right strong breeze that was a little more readable whilst shooting.
Shooting Bristol rounds across the field, the wind really upset some of the senior archers shooting at 80 yards. Archers that were used to hitting blue inwards were missing the boss totally. One of the teenagers was blown clear off the line at one point and even Bradley had to settle for a few blacks and whites. It would be a trying day.
All things considered the NCAS team shot really well throughout the day and held out for second place in the Recurve category.
Louis stepped up to the plate and shot a very commendable 740 for his first county outing and he coped with the nerves very well. He’d been working hard on his change of distances and that preparation proved worthwhile as he had good changeovers at both distances and secured 7th place out of 10 for his class.
Katie and Lauren entered into another of their personal battles which resulted in Katie piping Lauren by just 20 points with a 914 (Lauren shooting an 894) but taking the top junior ladies recurve position. Lauren secured second place with Laura from Derby picking up third place for the class.
Bradley had a torrid day with the wind being the least of his problems. Half way through the shoot he sustained a very nasty facial injury when he bent down by the boss and caught his upper cheek on an arrow, missing his eye by millimetres. He hit the arrow so hard he broken the nick off the arrow which embedded itself in his face. With a swelling eye, face and lip, he shot the latter part of the round practically blind as his aiming eye closed up from the swelling. It was a nasty injury and my heart went out to him and I don’t know how he dug deep to continue shooting for the county – a real sportsman if aver I saw one and testament to his commitment to his sport. Even with the wind and the injury, Bradley still managed to top his class (Bristol 1, Gents Recurve) with a fine 1040 given the conditions and beating Robert (his key rival for the shoot and fellow Archery GB teammate) by 118 points.
As for the other NCAS archers. Daniel Nixon (NCAS) took third place in the Bristol I Gents Recurve class of 5 with a fine 734. Josh Hall topped the Bristol 1 Gents Compound class by just 10 points with a score of 1053. George Stubbs posted a fine 943 for the Bristol III and Finlay Lancashire took second place in his class with a 967 shooting the Bristol IV. That left Will Ross with a second place and a 938 for the Bristol 4, Lyla Lancashire (recurve) with a fine 915 for the Bristol V and Millie Bott (Compound) with a 995 for the same round and both girls taking second places in their categories.
So the final standings:
1st Leicestershire and Rutland 5064
2nd Northamptonshire 4730
3rd Derbyshire 4720
4th Nottinghamshire 3756
1st Lincolnshire 3352
2nd Derbyshire 3324
3rd Northamptonshire 2991
4th Nottinghamshire 2956
5th Leicestershire and Rutland 2892
Well done to everyone that took part and also to WOAC on a fine tournament. The windy conditions spoilt that chance for a host of Rose awards and Personal Bests, but it was one of the best character building days shooting that I have seen since the thunder and lightning storm at Wicken last year. Let’s hope for better weather at Wicken next weekend for the 3rd of the three NCAS Caswell shoots.