[ Report by Tim D]
Rayleigh Town Archery Club was represented at the 2013 Indoor National Championships by a small, focussed team of Junior archers and an even smaller, no less focussed team of Seniors…
The competition is held over 2 days at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry – Juniors shooting on Saturday 7th December, Seniors on the Sunday.
It is a huge event: hundreds of archers shooting at two rows of 25+ target stands each side of a central area where leader boards and various retailer’s stalls were set up, along with seating and the Director of Shooting platform. This year, the organisers had improved the lighting by deploying powerful foot lights below each target (more on this later…!)
The Juniors shot Portsmouth rounds while the adults would be shooting a qualifying round (FITA 18), followed by Indoor Match rounds for eliminations followed by Olympic head-to-heads for finalists.
After a bit of a bun-fight to get into the hall, registered and assembled for shooting, competition started. The noise of so many arrows hitting home is strange – starting first in a trickle then building to something like a roar as everyone releases their 3 arrows…amazing.
As the juniors and seniors alike discovered, those powerful footlights may have improved the visibility of the target but introduced other issues – the upward throw of bright light created strange shadows, shifting perception slightly and causing vertical sight marks to basically drop. After collecting arrows, shooters had to be careful of not only tripping on the taped-down cables but also inadvertently glancing into the lights themselves – easily strong enough to temporarily blind the unwary!
Rayleigh Town Juniors represented themselves and club admirably:
Junior Ladies Under18 Compound:
Lenni Canham placed 7th with 546.
Junior Gents Under16 Recurve:
Luke Morgan placed 32nd with 464.
Junior Ladies Under16 Recurve:
Josie Skinner placed 15th with 496.
Junior Gents Under14 Recurve:
Charlie Deeks placed 8th with 512.
Jordan Johnson placed 13th with 492.
Junior Gentlemen U-12 Compound:
Reece Johnson placed 3rd with 536.
Junior Ladies U-14 Recurve:
Lauren Bann placed 2nd with 539.
Helena Milne placed 22nd with 304.
The senior team of Grant Hannan and I took up position for qualifying amongst some extraordinary talent: over 160 archers aiming for a place in the head-to-head elimination rounds.
Grant unfortunately suffered impaired vision – a result of spectacle glare caused by those foot lights and the strange overhead lighting. Having removed his glasses, shots began to wander off line and scores dipped – such a shame having put in a lot of practice (over 1000 arrows!) in the week before the competition. I’m sure there was compensation however, in claiming a FITA Star and catching up with his old shooting mates from Zimbabwe.
Grant ended shooting 510 to reach 93rd place – well done, Grant!
I shot well enough in the qualifying round to place 22nd with 551 and, having made the cut for the 1/16th head-to-heads, was drawn against GB squad member George Harding. General terror at being in a totally unfamiliar scenario and shooting against one of the UK’s best archers put paid to my ambitions: knocked out in straight sets by some awesome shooting from George (who later went on to win the overall competition and title!).
All in all a fantastic showing for Rayleigh Town!
Full results for the Juniors competition available here (pdf)
Full results for the Seniors competition available here (pdf)
(ps after discussing it with Grant, we believe there to be some scope for trying to replicate this kind of competitive environment during our regular club practices. We think head-to-heads need to be practiced, with timing etc, in order to prepare for the many pressures of these shoots, both indoors and out. Grant has undertaken to build a timing system and we’ll think of implementing some practice at Deanes).