It was a busy weekend for the Isle of Man Archery Club, with three of it’s Junior members travelling off Island to compete in the prestigious National Junior Outdoor Championships, whilst the seniors went toe to toe on home soil at Greeba.
The Junior National Outdoor Championships were hosted by the sport’s governing body, Archery GB, at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire. Tilly Ashton was on familiar ground having competed at the Championships before. Toby Young had tasted the pressure of high level competition having shot at the Junior National Indoor Championships, but this was his first two-day outdoor competition; while 10 year old Lily Priestnal was competing off island for the first time ever.
After a tiring journey by boat and car the juniors faced the prospect of shooting in energy sapping heat over two days. Saturday was given over to the metric WA Star event which was plagued by equipment failures all along the shooting line, as the 31 degree heat took it’s toll on the bows. By the end of the first distance Toby (u16 Boys) was in 12th place, Tilly (u14 Girls) was 8th and Lily (u12 Girls) was in 3rd. At the second distance Toby managed to gain a few points and moved up to 11th place which he held for the remainder of the shoot. Unfortunately, Tilly and Lily had a poor second distance which saw them drop to 18th and 8th, but a pep talk from their coach Uncle Dave and a reviving lunch break in the shade of the tents saw them come out fighting. Tilly added 19 points to her pb for the Metric IV to finish in 11th place overall, while Lily put in some fantastic scores to pull herself up to 6th place by the close of play.
The equipment failures of the day before had meant that the competition overran and did not finish until 6:45pm. The temperatures on Sunday were even higher and fatigue began to take its toll on the IoM contingent. The second day’s shoot consisted of a National round, shot over yards, using five-zone scoring. Lily Priestnal who had never even shot her Bristol V round at home got off to a dreadful start. Too inexperienced to call an equipment failure herself, her Uncle Dave was prevented by an unhelpful Judge, who blocked his sight line, from assessing what the problem was. By the time the equipment failure had been sorted Lily had scored just 63 points out of a possible 216 and she was in dead last. Once the problem was sorted however she carried on as if nothing had happened and pulled back up to 7th place. By the end of the second distance Lily was 6th and she maxed the final distance to consolidate her position. Tilly started well but her fair freckled skin saw her fall victim to the heat and she slumped from 7th to 16th. Not one to give up, Tilly gave herself a mental shake and bounced back adding 20 points to her pb for the Bristol IV to finish in 10th place. Toby had a couple of misses at the start of proceedings, but he remained calm and focused to improve from 13th to 12th and added 11 points to his pb for the Bristol II. Tilly Ashton broke her own Club Records and all the children recorded Junior Master Bowman scores for both days – a terrific achievement by all concerned.
Back home at Greeba ten Club members turned up to shoot a Short Western (4 dozen arrows at each of two distances 50 & 40yds). The round had never been shot at the Club before so pb’s and Club Records were there for the taking. Rhys Moore made it all look very easy in the Compound division as he shot a perfect round to record a maximum score of 864 and set an unbeatable Club Record. Dave Moore had a nasty surprise as his release aid cut through the D-loop on his string which resulted in a miss and which caused him to punch himself in the face. Luckily his newly capped teeth were not damaged. Pete Mumford beat him by just 1 point to finish 3rd but surprise of the day was Colin Moore who turned up for only the third time this season to put in a terrific round, dropping just 10 points over the course of the morning to take second place. Joy Gough put in another solid performance to set a Club Record in the Ladies Compound.
Danny Cowin and Barbara Harris indulged in the usual snarl fest in the Recurve division. Barbara outshot Danny over the first distance but threw it all away with her first six arrows at the second distance. Both archers set Club Records for their respective genders. Jane Berry overcame an equipment problem to take 3rd place just ahead of Eric Lutes who thoroughly enjoyed himself despite of the heat. Ralf Mitchell ironed out a major flaw in his shooting style to make decent progress in fifth.
The afternoon was given over to a half metric round – 18 arrows at each of 4 distances. Barbara Harris took on Danny Cowin over the Gents distances of 90/70/50&30m and wished she hadn’t as she suffered her second defeat of the day. Harris did manage to hit the only x10 at 90m and she out shot Cowin at 30m but it was too little too late. Danny added 40 points to his pb for the round and broke the old Club Record by 14 points into the bargain. Barbara also pb’d as she had never shot the round before and established a new Club Record. Tired from his morning exertions Rhys Moore was the only archer who did not shoot a pb in the afternoon round. Pete Mumford added 9 points to his pb and break the Club Record for the half metric I. Joy Gough added 12 points to her pb for the same round, Jane Berry shot the round for the first time and Peter Howland only had one miss in his half metric III.
Results – JNOC Lilleshall – T.Young Metric II 1038/14/8, Bristol II 966/43pb. T.Ashton Metric IV 1206/35/18pb NCR, Bristol IV 1146/78pb NCR. L.Priestnal Metric V 1226/37/14, Bristol V 1110/88pb. Greeba Short Western: Recurve – 1.D.Cowin 96/766/55pb NCR, 2.B.Harris 95/741/45pb NCR, 3.J.Berry 96/730/40pb, 4.E.Lutes 96/728/46pb, 5.R.Mitchell 85/477/15pb. Compound – 1.R.Moore 96/864/96pb NCR, 2.C.Moore 96/854/91pb, 3.P.Mumford 96/846/86pb, 4.D.Moore 95/845/90pb, 5.J.Gough 96/836/83pb NCR. ½ Gents WA: Recurve – 1.D.Cowin 72/487/3/2pb NCR, 2.B.Harris 66/458/8/3pb NCR. Compound-R.Moore 72/652/23/11. ½ Metric I 1.P.Mumford 72/650/17/10pb NCR, 2.J.Gough 71/616/17/5pb, 3.J.Berry 70/427/2/0pb. ½ Metric III- P.Howland 71/524/3/3pb.