With only a couple of weekends to go before the first big shoot in the county (the NCAS 1st Caswell) and with the weather not looking too favourable, you would not usually want to be introducing things like clickers and new distances. However, with Louis considering pulling out of the Caswell, I threw the rule book out of the window and broke the rules to do just that. Not only did I introduce Louis to the clicker for the first time, but less than a half hour later I would myself asking him to try 60m for the first time – Met with a puzzled expression and a “Do you think I can hit it?”, my only answer could be “Of course you can” – and he did and then some.
Over the next couple of weeks Louis and I worked on making that new distance and getting his sight marks and I was pleased to watch him complete his first major full day shoot away from home. Better still, I was in admiration of him as he battled through some problems in the early stages to finish very strongly, despite me introducing new things for him to think about and work on during the shoot – making changes to an archer during a major shoot = a big rule breaker.
For me, Louis was amongst the winners on the day for overcoming what had to be the biggest hurdle that any archer on that line had to overcome on the day.
Rule break number three and it was me yet again. It Saturday and Lauren is getting her sight mark for the shoot on the Sunday. A major shoot and coaches just don’t make big changes to archers at such a late stage. With only an hour or so shooting time left and I step up and make a major change to Lauren’s bow hand position. It worked and the arrows squeezed a good 6-12 inches closer to the gold and (thankfully) she came away smiling.
With that, I’d broken the rules three times and felt that my luck was stretched enough.
So Sunday, the NCAS 1st Caswell of 2013 and it’s an early start to head over to Kettering Archers ground at the Kettering Cricket Club Ground. It is an interesting ground to find and it involves taking a little road over a brook and down the side of the courts to the club house. We parked the car, unloaded and took the long walk to the equipment line. It’s not actually that long (a little over a cricket pitch, but laden down with archery kit, chairs, lunch, etc. and the morning sun and it seemed a lot longer.
That’s right, the sun. Saturday had been nice and Sunday began without a cloud in the sky and even at 8.00am the sun was warm enough to be evaporating the early morning dew on the grass. My wet feet (my trainers leak and I must get some new ones), would soon dry.
Kettering’s ground is really nice. Over to the left is the railway embankment lined with trees. The back of the overshoot area is also lines with trees and so too the right hand side of the field – it proved to be a sun trap and Lauren and I awoke with the proof this morning. The wind was only a slight breeze at best and the conditions were perfect for a good shoot and records to be broken.
Following the usual judges assembly and the announcement of only one end of practice owing to the later than planned start (problems with the timing machine), the shoot began slowly at first and although the archers would have to shoot a full Metric round (60, 50, 40 and 30m for Lauren and Katie) the day went very smoothly. Simon started the day with an equipment failure that saw him miss the first end of practice. However, this benefitted the majority of archers as it lead to a second and of practice which was much needed by a lot of people. Lauren and Katie would be shooting on the same boss, next to Bradley and Louis who would be shooting on the adjacent boss – number 13 and would that prove unlucky for someone?
Following some good sighters the archers settled into their longest distance. For the four AoR juniors, that would mean three dozen at 60m. Bradley began strongly and no surprise there following his call up for Archery GB and he would settle into a solid shoot in preparation for next weekend in Slovenia. Louis knuckled down to the distance but struggled a little. Following a quick reminder that he was shooting with a clicker and only two weekends practice at this distance did nothing to settle the frustration of someone used to shooting red /blue inwards. Misses are not something that Louis is used to, but this was a huge shoot for him and I am pleased to say that he worked through his frustrations and, with a little help from his friends and a humongous amount of self-courage, he battled on and turned what could have been a bad time into a good time and he ended the day feeling proud and satisfied – a well-deserved personal goal achieved and a clear winner in my book any day of the week.
As I said earlier, Bradley is on a high right now. The Caswell has come right off the back of being selected for the Archery GB squad next weekend following a comprehensive weekend of winning last weekend.
Was that enough?
Would he settle into a steady practice session to prepare for the coming weekend?
Not on your life.
I won’t bloat this posting with the juniors scores end by end as it is long enough already, but Bradley opened with a 322 for his 60m distance hitting an impressive 12 golds, 4 of those X’s. This was followed up with a 335 (13 and 3 X’s), a 331 (15 and 7 X’s) and then finally a 340 with no less than 19 10’s and 8 X’s. A great performance and a delight to watch, but the best news was yet to come.
Now we all knew that he’d won yet another gold medal and he quickly picked up that he’d shot yet another personal best, but a few minutes later in the club house we learned that he had (unconfirmed at the time of writing) broken not one, not two but THREE NATIONAL records – a truly awesome days shooting and richly deserved.
So then we turn to the girls – Katie and Lauren. Katie is shooting 60m for the first time this year and she’s only had a few opportunities to practice this new distance, whilst Lauren has been working on getting back on form following her shoulder issue and pulling out of the EMAS shoot a few weeks ago. So it was all to play for and, boy, were we in for a treat. One that not only had Heather and I closely watching the scores, but several other people around the two bosses.
This time I will get into the detail a little more. As you’ll see from the scores below it was a gargantuan battle that saw neither of the girls crack, weaken or really badly wobble. Those small wobbles that did creep in were usually quickly addressed with golds and the two archers pushed each other all the way:
|Dist. / Doz.||Katie||Lauren||Difference|
|60m / 1st||75||64||KB + 11 points|
|60m / 2nd||148||137||KB + 11 points|
|60m / 3rd||229||215||KB + 14 points|
|50m / 1st||319||310||KB + 9 points|
|50m / 2nd||412||408||KB + 4 points|
|50m / 3rd||494||504||LP + 10 points|
|40m / 1st||562||574||LP + 12 points|
|40m / 2nd||652||650||KB + 2 points|
|40m / 3rd||733||736||LP + 3 points|
|30m / 1st||822||828||LP + 6 points|
|30m / 2nd||908||924||LP + 16 points|
|30m / 3rd||1010||1018||LP + 8 points|
So, Lauren was the victor on this occasion by just 8 points after 144 arrows with a highly deserved win following a solid performance and Katies county record set a couple of weeks earlier was safe, but Lauren is back in the game and once again pushing Katie. I know that there will be some great battles with these two best friends and rivals over the coming months and I’m looking forward to watching both grow as archers throughout the rest of the outdoor season.
Once again the seniors were not to be outdone and Christine Marshall back at the club house Christine Marshall shared with me yet another broken AoR record. Still to be confirmed, but on this occasion she blitzed her own AoR club record by around 130 points – a remarkable achievement for a lady who is just getting better and better each month.
WHAT’S THAT MICK – HOLD THE PRESS, there’s more!!!!!
Whilst writing this blog posting I have received an email form Mick to tell me about yet more successes at AoR today.
Shooting a FITA 70 round at Manor School in pleasant conditions marred by a capricious head on wind, Martin Davis broke his personal best with a 409 and Mick broke his with a 378.
Then Imogen Neville stepped up yet again to set a new Personal Best for the Short Metric with a 239 braking the AoR Ladies U16 club record for the round.
After today, I think that I need another bank holiday to get over the excitement and hard work of this one. Seriously though, congratulations to everyone mentioned in this posting. It makes me more and more proud to be heading this amazing archery club with so much talent.