The weather for the day looked promising as the archers collected at the Mill Road Sports Ground atColchester, for the Bill Tucker York, Hereford and Western rounds. There were heavy clouds, but with the sun trying to break through, making a little breeze a welcome event. As usual for this competition, the targets were all set-up with white tramlines marking out the shooting lines, hence no excuse for shooting the wrong target.
Whilst signing in, Barbara Knight explained that the shooting lanes had been changed this year, with the Yorks on the right and Westerns on the left. This was to give more room for tents behind the Yorkshooting line. This did however put them closer to a practice pitch for the rugby tournament taking place at the ground during the day.
However, introductions by Barbara and our judge for the day, Alan Harding soon got the competition into its stride, York and Hereford first and Westerns a couple of dozen arrows later. Being on Target 19, the one closest to the hedge separating the archers from the rugby players, we soon appreciated its drawback, as a rugby ball came floating over, quickly followed by rugby players trying to penetrate the hedge. Fortunately Alan quickly recognised the potential danger and came over to keep the footballers at bay. Nevertheless, it was somewhat disconcerting to be at full draw and see a rugby ball bounce into one’s peripheral vision.
While tea and cakes were available in the club hut just behind the tent line, other facilities were only available in the rugby pavilion, a steady walk away. This meant that we had a number of comfort breaks e.g. after 3 dozen and 6 dozen arrows.
The afternoon session proved to be showery and a little chill, but the last dozen proved the worst, with a big black cloud bringing a damp end to proceedings. This meant that this time we all had wet tents and gear to put away and try to dry out during the following week. By the time we had packed everything away in our cars, the rain had stopped and the raffle and presentation could take place in front of the pavilion.
Mayflower archers shot well, but gained little in the way of medals, apart of course, from Wendie Stevens, who won Gold in the Hereford (and gained her 6-Gold End), ahead of the wheelchair archer Lynne Burton (in great form) and Burntwood’s Yvonne Wade. However on completion, whilst Colchesterhad been awarded the Recurve Team Trophy, it was found that in fact the Mayflower team of Wendie, Alex Purser and Nigel Norris (with Michael Judd backing up) had won. The announced winners had by this time left with the trophy, but we are assured it will be passed over to the true winners.
Thanks to the organising team, work party and catering staff (and of course the judge) for providing us with a smoothly run and enjoyable competition so early in the season.
Mitch Vaughan (Mayflower Archers)