Never, with the possible exception of the Glastonbury Festival, have a group of people been so delighted to gather in a cold, damp field as those members of the Isle of Man Archery Club who turned out at Greeba on Sunday. Along with every other sport on the island successive Covid lockdowns have played havoc with the schedules. The Indoor season was abandoned without either the Senior or Junior Championships taking place, and the start of the Outdoor season was shrouded in uncertainty, so it was a relief for all restrictions to be removed with the loss of only a couple of weeks of the shooting calendar. The Chairman, not trusting the Records Officer’s levels of compassion, declared the opening shoot to be a single distance WA round – 72 arrows at 70m for Recurve or 50m for Compound, with the juniors shooting a distance suitable to their age group. This would allow everyone to ease back into archery after the enforced layoff. One thing was obvious from the start and that was while the archery was a little rusty, the banter was a keen as ever.
Rhys Moore, Pete Mumford and Dave Moore faced off in the Gents Compound, while lone lady Compound Joy Gough kept them company at the 50m distance. Unfortunately for Joy even a half day’s round proved too much and, rather than risk injury, she dropped out after three dozen arrows. Pete Mumford managed to complete the round but registered more misses for it than he had recorded in the whole of last year’s season, not that you could tell by his inscrutable demeanour. Dave Moore seemed happier with the conditions but had to settle for second place behind son Rhys who made everything look rather easy romping home to victory by some 30 points.
The Recurve side of things saw the resumption of hostilities between Danny Cowin and Alex Allen-Snell, with Ralf Mitchell adding his usual quota of drivel and non sequiturs alongside them. Under 18’s James Hill and Records Officer Barbara Harris made up the rest of the contingent. Alex hit the ground running and was the only Senior Recurver to break 500. Danny started slowly but made progress towards the end as he slotted into second place. Ralf claimed to be shooting the round for the first time. This, along with his assertion that he was an extraterrestrial, was untrue. Ralf did however add 41 points to his pb for the round on his way to last place. Barbara Harris’ only ambition was to make it through the morning, which was just as well since for the first 18 arrows she looked as though she had never handled a bow in her life. James started well but fatigue hit with two dozen arrows left to shoot. The youngster dug deep and managed to see out the round.
The afternoon session saw two more juniors in action. Ollie Blockley, who was shooting up an age group, and Nathan Kinrade kept each other company on a 122-50m round. Ollie set a decent benchmark score, while Nathan showed the adults how to do it by being the only Recurve archer to keep all of his arrows on target.
Sunday was a lot of fun and things can only get better – hopefully.
Results: Gents WA50 – 1.R.Moore 72/648/21/4, 2.D.Moore 72/618/16/7, 3.P.Mumford 67/533/6/0. Gents WA70 – 1.A.Allen-Snell 71/502/4/2, 2.D.Cowin 69/422/3/2, 3.R.Mitchell 51/258/0/0pb. U18 Gents- J.Hill 63/370/5/1. Ladies WA70 -B.Harris 70/469/2/0. Junior Gents 122-50- N.Kinrade 72/525/8/3pb. Junior Ladies 122-50- O.Blockley 71/487/6/2pb.