Sherwood Archers Club Championships September 3rd 2016
I am pleased to have been invited to provide a write up for the club championships this year. As a relative new-comer I was not sure what to expect. Certainly none of us expected the rain until much later!
I arrived a little before 10:00 to find a handful of people already present and some getting stuck in to the morning’s work, setting out the first few target stands. I quickly found my gloves and went to assist with rolling out the straw target bosses. In previous tournaments at our field we have used the foam bosses, so I was a little surprised to see them using the straw ones normally reserved for practice and club nights. But I suppose there was nobody present from other clubs for us to show off to. – I’m sure there must be a more technical reason for not using the foam targets, but mine is not to reason why…
Young James landed himself the duty of hammering in the ground stakes to anchor the targets. I believe he had several comments, including from myself and his dad, Matt, on how to hold and swing a hammer. He certainly took it to heart as he was later offering advice to others for the last few targets when we had to move them and re-peg them.
The targets were set out towards the far side of the field, away from the club house. There were six set at 60 yards and I think four at 40 yards, plus one other at 30 yards, filling about half the width of the field. No sooner had we set up all the targets and were about to start setting up our own equipment than the first few spots of rain were reported. By the time that most had done the trips back to their vehicles to fetch chairs and bows etc. it was already drizzling properly. Umbrellas were soon very much in evidence everywhere, being set up to protect the precious equipment, not the archers. Jenny dashed back to her car and retrieved her pop-up tent / shelter. We had all been expecting the rain to arrive in the early afternoon, but it was already showing signs of getting serious and being settled in well before we were ready to start, so the club gazebo was extracted from storage for the benefit of those along to watch, (and for Mario!) Those not taking part comprised our illustrious club President, Richard, so that there was someone to give out the awards later, and Brian, on hand to offer advice to the novices on tournament etiquette, especially on the scoring, plus one of our newest members, Petros had dragged his young lady along to watch him shoot, so she was well pleased to find a seat under the shelter when the rains came.
You will have already noted that this year the club championships were being held on a Saturday. I understand that it is more common to hold them on a Sunday and we would probably have got a bigger turn out. I know several people that wanted to attend but said they were working. But still the car park looked quite well occupied.
Going from memory, working from club house end, starting with the club novices, (and apologies if I have missed anyone) there was Petros, Matt, his son James, Ian, David all on recurve, plus Linda, not such a novice, but electing to shoot the shorter distance as she had not ever shot at 60 yards. Then there was Reece Buckland, Nick, George Brown, Mario Stankovic, Richard Gentle, and Jenny Place shooting longbows, then Susan Stankovic with the one and only compound, then Chris, Jason, David Salmon, Myself (MAC Crisp), Martyn Smith and his daughter Charlotte all on recurve. (Sorry, I don’t know all the surnames.) We shot in two details, shooting three, then retiring to allow the second detail, then returning. In truth there were not that many targets that had more than two people shooting on them, certainly not down at the far end, but we still observed the routine of stepping away after three arrows to keep things according to routine and fair to the others.
We were supposed to be shooting a Western round, that is 4 dozen at 60 yards, break for lunch, then move the shooting line forward 10 yards to shoot another 4 dozen at 50 yards. Those starting at the shorter distances similarly would do the same 4 dozen in each session with 10 yards difference and these are also recognised rounds know as Junior Western (4Dzn @ 40y + 4Dzn @ 30y) and Short Junior Western (4Dzn @ 30y + 4Dzn @ 20y). However…
The rain just kept coming down, getting gradually heavier. Several of us had started out braving the elements, but gradually the numbers not wearing some sort of jacket or waterproof layer got less and less. Chris had declared that he intended to stick it out in his T-shirt so long as it stayed warm enough. Hard man, we thought, but no, he succumbed. Matt, David and Petros were the only ones at the end still in just a T-shirt. Linda also did not resort to any extra layers, but she did start out with at least two, so was probably a bit warmer than Matt at the end, who was visibly shivering. But I’ll get to that later.
I must admit to being one of the first to resort to a waterproof layer. I already had my trusty and now very familiar hat on. My waterproof jacket has elasticated draw strings at the hood and toggles, and whilst shooting down the field over the winter with other hard cases like Craig and Christina, I had learnt the trick of wearing my jacket like a cape. This means that it does not encumber me when shooting, keeps my back and shoulders dry, then goes back around me fully when I finish shooting – quite a nice solution, I think. So I declared myself as “the Caped Crusader” to anyone that was remotely interested in a bit of lightening the mood, and started the trend to cover up. Jenny found a warm coat and was sporting a rather nifty Russian looking fur hat. David S. was having somewhat less joy with his hat, having misplaced his usual wet weather option and the peak on his ball cap kept getting in the way. Then when he looked down to the score sheet there was a torrent which ran off and nearly drowned the pages despite protecting them under an umbrella! I’m sure there were other hat issues that I did not hear about. Glasses were also becoming a problem for both David S. and Jason. Charlotte had a red jacket on that honestly did not look very waterproof, but I suppose was serving the purpose of keeping her warm. Martyn was doing a quick strip off of his jacket to shoot, shooting very quickly, then jacket back on, but soon adopted another solution where he wore his waterproof jacket with his right arm in the sleeve, but left arm out, the the front zipped up as far as it would accommodate.
So, you can tell by all my rambling on about the weather that it must have been taking its toll. After just one dozen arrows, Martyn and Charlotte were heard to exchange a comment that they were thankfully already one third of the way through. They weren’t actually at that stage, just a quarter, and they were corrected. But Martyn must have been prescient. Our illustrious field captain, Mario, got together with Club Pres. Richard, Tournament Organiser, George, and I think Susan got in the mix there somewhere too, and between them they worked out that we should abandon the four dozen format and instead stop early for lunch after just three dozen arrows, then shoot another three dozen at the shorter distance. There was some debate, but it was thought this would still make the tournament a recognised round, apparently, although I fail to find it listed on my favourite reference for such things.
The point of shooting a recognised round, for those who are unaware, was to enable us to do a handicapped score against those of us that have such a thing. Archery GB publish a set of tables (which you have to pay for) that allows formulas against recognised rounds to correct the scores as if you were shooting a full twelve dozen metric scoring end, then adding your handicap to that score to level the competition between those with varying abilities, rather like a golf handicap, but much more complicated in the maths. There was a Handicap Trophy up for grabs, so they wanted to keep it to a recognised format.
So lunch came and some of us ate soggy sandwiches. There was no BBQ as there has been for all the invitation tournaments that I have attended. Probably not a bad thing as it would have been drowned out.
During the lunch break the rain started to come down really quite heavily. I resorted to wearing leggings, not just to keep trousers dry, but also to combat the drop in temperature. The wind started blowing stronger from directly behind us. My shoes were also at the point of giving up, so I went to change into my winter snow boots that just happened to be living in the car.
We continued the afternoon session with lots of struggling against the elements. I personally had problems with my grip slipping, even though I specifically wear a glove to combat that issue. The poor leather glove became totally waterlogged and took two days to eventually dry out! My hat also gave up, with rivulets streaming through the seams as I tilted my head in certain angles. I know I was not the only one having these issues. We got to half way through, i.e. one and a half dozen, and there was a general consensus that it was amazing that nobody had actually walked away yet, but they might well do so soon! So the “committee” declared the next end to be the last and announced the fete accompli as we finished the second dozen.
I personally had just shot a much improved end and was keen to do so again to hopefully build up my score, but who knows if that would have actually happened in those conditions. Oh well…
Clearing away seemed to be done in record time. I’m sure everyone was keen to get sat inside their cars. But then Mario had also announced that our Pres. had managed to lose his silver wedding ring, so could we all look out for it while clearing away. So in the end I don’t think anybody actually retreated to the shelter of their cars. We all carried on stumbling around the field and car park areas with our noses down, looking for Richard’s ring, which, by the way, is still missing as I type.
Matt finally succumbed to an extra layer, explaining that he had forsaken it earlier for the sake of less restriction of movement. That is dedication for you (or something like that?) James was bounding around still full of energy and sporting the grin that never left his face the whole time, despite the rain. It was evident that he had enjoyed himself. Even Petros’ lady friend said she had enjoyed it as she joined us in the hunt for the silver ring.
George eventually called off the hunt and got us assembled inside the club house to announce the results. I won’t go into details here as I don’t have them. George will post them later. Suffice to say that there was no award for Gentleman’s Compound. Susan of course won the Lady’s Compound. Richard Gentle won the Gent’s Longbow, with Jenny unopposed taking the Lady’s award. Charlotte got the Lady’s Recurve gong and Martyn the Men’s. Reece and James both picked up awards as juniors. There was no handicap award, although I am informed by George that he has managed to work out some handicapped scores based upon the first two dozen arrows at each distance, making it a Warwick round. I look forward to seeing how that turns out. (Charlotte Smith was later awarded the Handicap medal – nobody ask George how he worked that one out! – Ed) I won’t go into second and third place details as I can’t remember them, but I will add that I personally did rather better than I expected!
Well done to Mario as field captain again, and heaps of praise to George for making it work.
See you all soon and hope to see a bumper turn out for next year’s club championships. Let’s pray for better weather.