All the fours...


A couple of months to catch up on. After the AOR Portsmouth in Jan, there was nearly a month before my club?s open Portsmouth on 24th Feb. All the way through the season I?ve shot most Monday and Thursday lunchtimes at Indoor Archery Ltd, and at the club most Thursday evenings. On 16th Feb, I spent a whole Saturday afternoon at Indoor Archery as a birthday treat. Great to shoot a decent number of arrows, nearly 160 including a decent 581 Portsmouth, and a 559 single face WA18. Shot a fairly solid 579 Portsmouth at the club on the Thurs evening before the shoot.

Again shooting the first session only. Felt a lot less nervous before this one. Interesting how nervous I was at AOR. I definitely put a lot of emphasis on wanting to win it, instead of just wanting to shoot well. Like justifying another return and hoping to get near the scores I used to shoot. Before this one, I realised that was a bit unrealistic. I could well shoot the occasional 580 at the club, but 570 in a competition was a good realistic aim. Perhaps the other reason I felt less nervous was because there wasn?t the usual other guys there. No Shahram, Simon or Jeremy. Hayden Ledwick, of Eagle Bowmen of Bedford had won the AOR Portsmouth with 573, but he wasn?t shooting. Vernon King of Silver Arrow had been in the 560?s in the last few shoots, but other than that I didn?t really know any of the others.

I can?t remember the sighters but I started well with 58/57-115 for the first doz. A few too many 9?s in the second doz for 56/56-112. A really good 60/58-118, which got me thinking about getting near the NAC club record (580). 116 for both final dozens got me 577. No 8?s, and no arrows shot off of my rest!

I had little idea about the other scores. Could see a few decent groups during the round, including Terry Deery of Lutterworth who spoke to me after the round, asking me if we had shot together before. I recognised him but I don?t recall shooting with him. He asked what I scored and mentioned he?d finished with 569.

The results took a while to come out, nearly two weeks. 577 was enough to win in the end, and Terry Deery finished second.

Tried to shoot as much as possible during the couple of weeks before the county indoor. Felt fairly good going into it. The target list again seemed a bit light on some of the regular archers, with not too many from within the county.

Shooting the last session. The scores were on the wall from session one when I arrived, and I think Jeremy Beesley was top with 560. As the second session finished generally there seemed to be a lot of head shaking. Jamie was there to watch, on a rare weekend where he didn?t have much on. Talked with him a bit about his prep for the summer and the international events he had coming up.

Felt a little nervous again, but this was my goal at the beginning of the season I guess. Sighters were a bit to the left, but the first scoring end all 10?s. Managed an 8 in the third end which went right. 59/57-116 followed by 57/58-115. Generally I felt ok, most of the 9?s were to the right. The timing was a little slow, the last shot of each end was mostly hard work. Another 8 to the right and a few 9?s in the fourth doz for 59/55-114. A bit of a tired finish including two more 8?s in the last dozen for 55/57-112 and 573.

Luckily this was enough to win the trophy. Nice to call myself Indoor County Champion again, for the first time since 2011. Also my 44th open tournament win in my 44th year.

I?m not sure how much shooting i?ll do over the summer, but I intend to continue with the lunch visits to Indoor Archery and to try and get to to the club one evening during the week. NAC?s main midweek session is on a Tuesday evening which I probably won?t be able to do very often. The club also uses a rugby field in Northampton which members use on other nights. I might also look at rejoining Wellingborough again as an associate as another option.

We?re moving house again very soon. The new house is on the outskirts of Towcester and has a nice size garden which backs on to open fields. Should be able to get nearly 20 yards. Already got the wood ready for a stand.

I don't plan on entering any shoots yet. Perhaps towards the end of the summer once we're settled in the new house. The only thing I am planning on doing at the moment is the NCAS charity shoot in June, which will be similar to the Dawn til Dusk event we did in 2015 to remember Chris Mason.

Really sad news over this past weekend that Angela Bray, our NCAS secretary for so many years, and Chris Mason's partner before he died, passed away. The county and archery in general has lost another irreplaceable soul. She'll be greatly missed indeed.