After being given the go ahead for the sport to resume by government on the 12th of May, archery finally resumed at Greeba on Sunday. The delay was caused, in part, by the social distancing laws which meant that the Club’s bosses had to be re-engineered, put on wheels essentially, so that they could be set up by an individual. The re-build project fell on the capable shoulders of professional vegetarian Pete Mumford – groundskeeper and head coach of the club. Peter, assisted by his partner Joy, rebuilt all the bosses between them, for which the Club extends its heartfelt thanks. Without their hard work there would have been no return shooting at all.
Group numbers being limited by law to 10, on top of social distancing, made it impossible for the Club to go ahead as it had done before the pandemic. The Committee took the decision that to begin with the limited number of shooting spaces available should be offered to those Club members who had expressed their intention to try out for the Island Games to be held in Guernsey next year. A rota was drawn up by the Records Officer and the lucky few were allocated a time slot and a boss – people from the same household were able to share a boss. An agreement with local residents to allow them continued access to the field for exercise purposes meant the field was only available for shooting purposes from 9 am to 2 pm. This gave the Club two shooting sessions – 9 – 11:15 and 11:30 – 1:45 pm, the delay between the two sessions thereby allowing one group to clear the field before the next group arrived.
At 9 am six archers arrived at the field and the careful choreography began. It started with socially distanced parking arrangements. The archers then donned the disposable gloves provided by the Club to set up the field, before finally taking it in turns to set up their bosses and individual target faces. A quick warm up and the season got underway. The weather was decent, sunny for the most part but with a tricky gusting cross wind which suited Barbara Harris down to the ground. The second the wind made things difficult she relaxed and put an arrow straight into the x in the centre of the target – known at the Club as ‘shooting the spider’. Pete Mumford who needed sight marks for his new bow, hit the ground running. His estimation of the sight mark needed for 30m (which he had extrapolated from the difference in his sight marks at 10 and 20m) saw him grouping his arrows in the centre of the target from the start. He did grumble about the wind a bit, but then if he hadn’t he wouldn’t be Peter. Dave and Rhys Moore carried on where they had left off last season. Alex Snell was content to just open his shoulders and get back to the rhythm of things. While accuracy did not seem to be a problem, lack of match fitness was, and fatigue saw all the archers pack up their kit a good fifteen minutes early.
Harris as designated Field Captain stayed on to police the second session which heralded the return of Billy Lightfoot -The Seldom Seen Kid (well not a kid exactly but definitely in his second childhood) and Danny ‘it’ll start raining any minute’ Cowin. Fortunately for Barbara’s blood pressure they were also joined by junior archers Tilly Ashton, in the company of Uncle Dave Berry, and Toby Young who just got on with things. Billy was not happy with the set up of his bow – as usual. Danny growled and muttered under his breath – as usual. Tilly scowled – as usual. Toby said very little – as usual. Barbara Harris was sarcasm personified – as usual. It was good humoured, good natured and good fun – as usual. No competitive round was shot, just practice but, my goodness, it was great to be back.