After an interesting journey that combined rain followed by blinding low sun, and a poorly marked junction off the A2 we arrived at the latest venue for this championship – the University of Kent's Sports ground at Canterbury. This year was a new format as well as a new venue as both junior and senior events ran on the same field on the same day – an impressive line of targets greeted us as we trudged through the wet grass to the tent line. The weather forecast was supposedly dry but with strong winds, however the black clouds above promised some rain, while the strong winds were very gusty and moving around in many directions – it looked to be a challenging days archery!!
Essex fielded recurve and compound teams for both senior and junior championships. If the longbow event becomes formalised next year I expect to be fielding a senior longbow team as well.
During the day the wind became stronger and we were subjected to a brief shower of rain, just long enough for some archers to put on waterproofs, before the sun came out for one of its few appearances.
This year team selection was relatively trouble free for most of the Essex teams, and on paper we fielded a strong team of juniors, a mixture of experienced and county debutee's that picked themselves from the Top Tens. However the senior compound team was not finally decided until the Thursday before, due to national appearance, work and ill health problems that had me replacing replacements and my copier working overtime. Special mention here for Cliff Tricker who shot a blinder despite feeling very poorly, only turning out because he knew of the selection difficulties and for Joan Ikel who filled the final team place at very short notice. The senior recurve team also suffered from some shuffling about too.
As it was a new venue there were a few teething problems, the worst being the communication from the organisers and judges during the shoot. As the line was so long and the weather so windy any verbal instructions were rapidly lost at the furthest ends of the line, and the speaker system was pointing down towards the targets. There was also no leader board, so most team managers met informally after six dozen to swop scores – this worked after a fashion. However this meant that counties final scores were not available except for the first three placed teams.
The organisers took advantage of a podium to present the medals and trophies at the end of the shoot. The Essex junior team won both recurve and compound championships, while the senior recurve took 3rd place. The final position of the senior compound team is unknown at time of writing. Louise Devlin produced the highest junior girls recurve score of 1160, and Matt Webb had the highest senior gents recurve score of 1063.
Team placings; 1st 2nd 3rd
Junior Recurve Essex 4386 Surrey 4360 Sussex 4267
Junior Compound Essex 3670 Sussex 3611 Kent ?
Senior Recurve Surrey 4044 Sussex 3987 Essex 3918
Louise Devlin 1160, Alice Hall 980, Luke Baharie 1114, Alex Body 1084, James Howell 1084.
Sophie Brown 1234, Lenni Canham* 1024, Rebecca Griffin* 1198, Luke Wiseman 1238
Jodie Barnes 758, Yvonne Wade 926, Peter Dent 975, Andrew Smith 954, Matt Webb 1063
Christine Higgins 1142, Joan Ikel 993, Alex Croft 1046, Joe Franklin 1088, Cliff Tricker 1127
* - denotes first appearance for Essex.
My thanks go to everyone who made the journey to Canterbury to support the team, and specially to Maggie Pearce, Paul Body and Andrew Devlin for being score collectors, and Carron Brown for delivering sweets to the juniors. As usual the team members were social and supportive to each other during the challenging conditions. Well done everybody.