Everyone’s favourite round of the season took place on Sunday – the fabled Nev Mason Long Haul Trophy. Devised by the late, great Nev Mason to showcase his longbow skills, the Long Haul consists of 36 arrows shot at each of two distances (60 and 40 yards), using full sized targets but employing metric scoring. The round is for traditional wooden bows or modern Recurve bows from which all shooting aids such as sights, stabilizers and clickers have been removed. Gamesmanship, barracking and inflicting mental torture on the opposition are actively encouraged. The Juniors shot an equivalent round, also for a Trophy, known as the Short Haul.
The eight archers who turned up for the Long Haul all had very different aims and objectives. Pete Mumford and Dave Moore were looking for the win. To which end Pete had unearthed a beautiful magenta Hoyt from his Recurve shooting past, and Dave had broken out his wooden American Bearpaw. U18 Recurve Champ James Hill was shooting the Long Haul for the first time and fancied his chances. Toby Young was also shooting the Senior round for the first time but all he wanted to do was beat Rhys Moore. Rhys pinned his hopes on Barbara Harris being even worse than him, and so save him from the ignominy of yet another wooden spoon. Barbara, using a flat bow that she had pinged six arrows out of down the length of her kitchen, was pretty certain she was going to come last. Cliff Graves, new to the Club, turned up to see what it was all the fuss was about and Ralf Mitchell, the whisky whisperer, was unusually quiet and determined looking.
The weather was kind for once and the wind, which seemed to be blowing a hooley everywhere else on the island, was non-existent at Greeba field. Barbara Harris had stated her intention of getting at least one arrow to hit at least once, at one of the distances but this looked overly ambitious at first. Eleven arrows in she broke her duck and went on to score with another 4 arrows. The onlookers were doubled up with mirth. Barbara found the second distance more to her taste, hitting an X10 and, while she finished dead last, she was genuinely ecstatic with her final score 113. Toby Young easily outshot Rhys to claim fifth place, but Rhys did hit the first X10 of the day which came as something of a surprise. Dave Moore focussed too many of his mind games on James Hill and Pete Mumford, to notice that Ralf Mitchell was marching towards victory. By the end of the first distance, Ralf had only missed twice and had amassed a lead of 63 points over Dave. Realising his mistake, Dave turned his destructive powers upon Ralf. Ralf buckled under the onslaught and notched up another 6 misses, but it was too late to prevent him from taking the title at his first attempt. A last-minute burst of form from Pete Mumford relegated Dave Moore to the third place, just ahead of James Hill. Cliff Graves got into the spirit of things and managed to finish in sixth.
Meanwhile in the Short Haul, defending champion Nathan Kinrade got off to a slow start against Jacob Brookes and Tilly Ashton. After a dozen arrows Nathan was in third place, 14 points behind the leader Tilly. Nathan dug in to pull past Jacob and threaten Tilly, at which point Tilly ruthlessly broke up Nathan’s rhythm by making him laugh. Her lead increased again, and Tilly never allowed Nathan to close the gap. She held on to win by 25 points, taking the Trophy in a style Nev Mason would have approved of.
Results: Nev Mason Long Haul- 1.R.Mitchell 64/326/1/1pb, 2.P.Mumford 57/279/0/0, 3.D.Moore 51/268/0/0, 4.J.Hill 49/255/0/0pb, 5.T.Young 44/221/0/0pb, 6.C.Graves 43/205/1pb, 7.R.Moore 42/189/2/1, 8.B.Harris 24/113/1/1pb. Short Haul- 1.T.Ashton 68/413/3/0, 2.N.Kinrade 69/388/3/0, 3.J.Brookes 62/366/3/0.