Wendie and I had shot at this very popular competition in 2007 and had a great time, I remember we were particularly impressed with the food, and the hill! So she didn’t need much persuading to come along this year, and we strong armed Mr Fenton into coming too. (And the non-shooting Gooseberry, of course). Fox Archers shoot at St Michael’s School in Otford, on the cricket pitch, which is sheltered in a sort of purpose dug dell... it’s hard to explain but very picturesque and is a real sun trap!
I’d been put down in the naughty corner for this shoot, on target 19, while Steve and Wendie were up with the big boys, but we arranged to meet for lunch! I was on a target of 5, shooting as part of a 3, where my gallant male target companions let me hog the middle, despite my explaining to them I was quite rubbish, so they shouldn’t worry too much about it… My 60 yards wasn’t awful but it wasn’t good… my sightmarks weren’t right, and I didn’t have a scope.. tbh it took me a dozen to get a decent mark, and by then it was nearly time to stop!
Lunch was included in the entry fee (as was free tea coffee and squash throughout the day) and was really lovely. The whole shoot was really well organised, but the way they fed 101 archers in about 10 minutes was truly amazing! We sat and chatted and ate our lunch, and enjoyed the lovely surroundings… then on with the 50 yards.
At the next distance change (and in another great innovation, the targets didn’t move, the line did, so no one had to carry targets about) we were served strawberries and cream!
My 40 was really good, I had no mark for it, but worked one out with a bit of help, and was very happy! I’d decided to aim for 600 and at the end had 637, so was very pleased.
The raffle came and went, and I won some wine, always welcome! Then the winners!
Who should the top gents recurve be, but our very own Steve! A great reward for hard work and a popular winner (with Wendie, the Gooseberry and I anyway!) Then ladies.. in third place , with 637… ‘Oh hang on.. there’s a problem’… But of course! This is me! I don’t win medals … ‘Two ladies have 637… and have equal hits… and so on golds, the winner is… dramatic pause…Rachel Elvidge!!’ Woohoo! Cue,victory dance, Paltrow style speech etc etc. I sit happily clutching my medal! Then the 2nd and 1st.. but oh dear. Wendie is not announced as first, with her mighty 766… This is because she is down as a longbow archer. Her longbow score is announced with hushed awe… is it some kind of world record? Er sadly no… because she shot recurve. Which means (and I know you’re ahead of me here) who has to give back their lovely shiny bronze medal? Yes, Rachel Elvidge!!! Robbed by Stevens yet again!
But like the Murphy’s, I’m not bitter. I had a fantastic day in a fabulous place with great company, and the announcement of Wendie’s stupendous longbow score made me giggle all the way home. I can’t recommend this shoot highly enough, and will definitely be back next year, hopefully scoring enough to get a bronze!!
Rachel Elvidge (Mayflower Archers)