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If only we knew!!

Some 10 years ago this picture was taken on a day out to Bodium castle! Have a go, said this gentleman! Its only £2!!

Archery….. After £10 I was hooked, but I was just 6 years old! But I want to do archery, not football!

I was too young to be accepted by a club, although my name was down on lists! And gradually over the next 3 years I went to every fete stall and “had a go!” and Deno days during school holidays run by RTCA.

Finally at the age of 9 I was in a club!

This was the start of my archery……….

Going from local competitions, to a little further out! I started winning competitions, collecting county records, even the only junior in Essex to have a 6 gold end in Clout! I was called for County!  Then in 2011 I won the Indoor under 14 Nationals!

Someone made a comment, after this event!  Where did he come from!

I started coaching with Mike Peart, and it was Mike who suggested I applied for the “new” academies which archery GB were starting….. 18 months of hard training, weekly logs and lots of arrow repairs I was offered a place on the Southern academy, once a month I travel to Gloucester for a weekend of training, coaching and shooting.

My Coach became Tony Ferguson.  During the outdoor season last year I carried on shooting in competitions and realised almost at the end I had qualification scores!!! But I was 1 short to be able to submit them!

Team “me” came to the rescue and at 4am one morning we were on our way to the “last chance competition”! In Leicester…  I did it…. I had my last qualification score needed!

Winter season I hardly entered competitions, Academy was still every month, this was the time when I was “worked on!” changing technics, trying new things and lots of frustration!

 Fast forward………………………………

April this year was one very busy April, managing to get away on holiday to New York for the only 5 days we all had together! The hotel had a gym….training never stops

 Followed by a weekend to Kirby Muxloe, then to Gloucester academy, and then the GB selection shoot. (Dad tells me some 1600 miles travelled by car!)  I slept for most of those!!

If I’m honest top 10 was my goal, this was some BIG competition almost like the nationals…but everyone wanting the all important place…and the GB shirt! The atmosphere was so different to any competition I had shot in before. 

I qualified 5th for GB and although just outside the all-important top 3 and reserve, I was please.

Then on the Monday we received and email!

Congratulations on qualifying for the second part of the English Archery Federation selection process for the Junior Commonwealth Games, Samoa 2015.

Back to Lilleshall the following Monday!  I was lying in 2nd place.  A full day of head to heads, between the top 4.

After the day had finished and all the head to heads were done, I held onto my second place, I had made it I was reserve for Samoa! (Yep I googled it to see where it was too!)

As it stands at present I’m classed as Non travelling (due to funding!) but I can be called upon up to 24 hours before. It’s so frustrating knowing all the flight numbers and the itinery, taking part in webinars and even submitting the size for my England kit!! Knowing I probably won’t be going, but I am proud I achieved it!

Qualifying for this gave me automatic selection for the Home nations at the junior outdoor nationals on the 4th July at Lillieshall, I would be representing England!!

Again having just moved into the under 18s section (by 2 weeks – blame my parents!) I could only do my best!  Not only was I shooting for myself I had the shirt! I was shooting for the England team! No pressure!

Again top 10 personally was my goal, I had tough competition from top junior archers who were just about to become seniors and very experienced!

I am pleased, very pleased England won!   And I finished 5th on the Saturday, Sunday I finished 3rd and came home with a bronze medal and a new personal Best by over 20 points! 

Already this season I have 13 JMB’s! And new county records, new PB’s and a “spare bow”! This is serious now!! 

If only this man knew some 10 years ago that it hasn’t turned out to be “just £2 to have a go”! But what a journey I have has so far…….and it’s just beginning……………………

Alex Body

This weekend saw our very own Imogen Newby participate in the Junior National Outdoor Championships 2015 held at Lilleshall National Sports Centre near Newport in Shropshire. The rounds here are as follows

Metric V – 144 arrows, 3 dozen over 30m, 20m on 122cm face with 6 arrows per end to be shot in 4 minutes, 15m and 10m 80cm face shot 3 arrows over 2 minutes. Scoring 1-10 points.

Bristol V – 144 arrows, 6 dozen at 30 yards, 4 dozen at 20 yards, then 2 dozen at 10 yards all on a 122cm face. Scoring 1,3,5,7 and 9.

The weekend was already going to be a huge event for Imogen as this is to be her last attempt to win the National titles for Metric V and Bristol V before she moves up to the U14’s next year….or is it?

I was later advised that as Imogen will be still 11 yrs old on 1st January 2016, she may still be eligible to compete for the U12’s even though her birthday is just 6 days before the event is held. This however, still needs to be 100% confirmed. She will definitely have to complete in the U14’s for the Bristol IV next year.

Friday we travelled up to Lilleshall after a brief visit to see Leon Stephens of Sudbury Physio and Sudbury Archery Club to review a pseudo winging scapula. We arrived to be greeted by a friendly face, Lauren Turner’s Dad, Nigel, of Wye Archery Club and discussions were had over the two girls and their progress over the sesason.

Patiently waiting for the Target List to be brought out than a mad dash for the shooting line so tents could be popped up ready for the following day. Tent up, a little shopping then off to the hotel for a high protein, high carb dinner and an early night.

Saturday was the Metric V. The mist over Lilleshall was not a welcome sight as the night before had rained heavily. The wind was ever present and due to reach a max of 16 mph around 2pm, Imogen was prepared for war!

This year’s objective was to win! Imogen wanted that gold medal. Tough competition was to had as Caitlin Aiken of Buchan Archery Club, who was 2nd last year, was the only name we recognised that we knew would prove difficult to beat. The weather was dry, warm and windy, not great, but Imogen had no choice so knuckled down to hitting the gold spot. First 3 dozen were a little shaky as Imogen settled into the round dropping 4 7’s and 8’s, hitting 54, 53, 52, but recovered to 55, 54, 54 finishing on 322. This was going to set the end result as a new contender showed herself to the other Juniors. Charlotte Hempstall of Bowmen of Pendle and Samlesbury proved to be a formidable opponent and the 1st distance was very close. Caitlin was 14 points up on Imogen and Charlotte close behind.

Imogen had a quick visit from Lloyd Brown the Olympic Coach while the bosses were being moved discussing her progress and how she was shooting…eyes were on Imogen here clearly. A happy Lloyd moved on to the see other athletes and the 20m began.

Imogen knows she’s got to nail this and nail it she did! Setting up a National Record Claim for this distance beating Caitlin by 1 point! 22 X + 10’s (10 X’s)! What a show! With my heart pounding and the wind blowing a hoolie, we moved to 15 meters.

Leaving the last distance at an impressive 667, moving onto the smaller face could change the fortunes for the 3 archers. They were all banging that gold ring, with arrows scraping and fletching’s flying! Imogen finished on 335 so 1002 in total so far, but 6 8’s could prove to be a thorn in her side then on that last shot she hit a 7! Time for breathing exercises and a stern talk from her coach Tony Ferguson! However, the distance finished as 52, 54, 58, 59, 58, 54…if could do that I’d be delighted but not Imogen!

10m and we can all go home! Imogen finished the round with 349/360 giving her 1351 equalling the National Record held by her friend Louisa Piper of Woking Archery Club. Caitlin shot an impressive 1377, so just 26 points in it and Imogen claimed her 1st Nation Junior Silver Medal.

(Imogen Newby, Caitlin Aiken and Charlotte Hempstall)

Delighted and tired, Imogen was to collect her medal the following day due to so many bouncers and the dreaded equipment failures!

Sunday was forecast thunder and lightning! Great! Just what we needed! The wind was to drop to a around 13 mph, but what can you do?

So the Bristol V. This has going to be a nail bitter if the previous days scoring was anything to go by. The 3 girls battled the sun, wind, rain, thunder, lightning and anything else nature could throw at the athletes over the next 144 arrows. Imogen completed 30 yards with an impressive 620/648 and was only 12 points behind Caitlin we think with Charlotte just 8 points behind Imogen at this point.

The awards were called out during lunch after 30 yards was complete for the previous day. Imogen received her silver medal and while waiting for the other presentations, Imogen was called out as part of the SCAS Team, who won the Regional Team section. This was a massive surprise as Imogen had no idea!

(In order Lauren Bann, Imogen Newby, Louisa Piper and Natasha)

England also won the Country Trophy over Scotland in 2nd and Wales into 3rd.

Now Imogen decided to get “really” serious….20 yards…nail it or bust! 426/432….BOOM! Imogen only dropped 3 7’s in the 20 yards section. I ran to check the scores on the live board and Caitlyn is 14 points ahead of Imogen so now there’s virtually no way to claw this back after dropping 2 more points.

Imogen finished on a perfect 216/216 as did Caitlin and Charlotte. Imogen shot a superb 1262 out of 1296, winning the individual silver medal.

During the closing ceremony the heavens opened and after receiving her medal we dashed off to the scoring hut to make her National Record Claim for the U12 Ladies 20m 122cm from the previous day. While there, we missed the call for the County Team results and so dashed off home to get a head start! Imogen’s score was a gold medal winning score as the Essex and Suffolk Team won the Counties and the SCAS team also won the regionals.

All in all, a great weekend for Imogen. Well done! You put up a good fight kid!

7 County Records in 8 Days

Over the past year we have seen and steady rise of one of our “small”est young archers Imogen Newby (10 yrs) from Braintree Bowmen Juniors. Most of you should know her by now…as the smallest one on the shooting line!

Imogen started the Archery GB Talent Development Programme about 18 months or so ago and is now trained by Archery GB Performance Coach Tony Ferguson, who is looking after athletes such as Lauren Bann and Alex Body but to name a few.

In the 2014/15 season she claimed numerous major event silver medals from the Essex Champs and SCAS Champs and also her JMB award, but 2015/16 is seeing a huge hike for this talented youngest.

The last winter season saw her break a multitude of club records and claim the Essex and SCAS Indoor Champion titles to her name. This summer she seems to be going from strength to strength.

In the space of 8 days Imogen’s summer campaign has claimed 7 county records, come with 5-6 points of the National Records for the Short Junior Western and the Metric V and had her first call up to the Essex County Squad.

Imogen trains 5-6 days a week following the guidelines set by Archery GB from the TDP. This includes Strength and Core Exercises, Technical Clini-band exercises and of shooting a decent volume of arrows.

Leon, Imogen’s Dad says “I think the key to Imogen is her determination to win. Even if she doesn’t win, she enjoys what she is doing. The training can be boring, I know this is what she would say, but she does it anyway. “

“I have helped with her home training since the start of the TDP and with the help of our club coaches, members and Perris Archery we got through really well I think. Not to forget Jo her Mum, feeding her the right food and doing all her laundry! Now Tony Ferguson is keeping a watchful eye on her and now I can stand aside more as she grows into the athlete we see today.”

Imogen’s plans this summer are to claim the Essex Outdoor, SCAS Outdoor, UK Junior Masters and National Outdoor Junior U12 Recurve titles. While we have a long way to go, things could turn to gold this summer and through next winter for Imogen. Just goes to show that with a little determination and training, anything is possible.

Good Luck Imogen.

After a glorious day on Saturday, Sunday was not looking good weather wise, with some hard work Rayleigh Town archery ground was set up and ready to go. Thanks to Neill Boatman of imageOn for bringing the new Essex & Suffolk shirts, the team looked very smart.

Undeterred by the weather we had a full turn out of archers raring to go, Shooting got underway on time using the new county timing system, thanks to our three judges, Mick Pearce, Paul body and Richard Pilkington.

As we were shooting one detail all day the shoot was flowing along very smoothly and lunch was soon upon us, by which time Essex had a the comfortable lead of over 300 points. Kent were not down trodden by this and were upbeat for the start of afternoon season.

After some settling in on the individual target faces in the afternoon, we continued with 6 arrows per end, the shoot was finished by 4pm, there was a great atmosphere all day with plenty of banter between the two teams, the wind caused some tricky shooting but we stayed dry for most of the day.

After shooting had finished we proceeded to the club house were we enjoyed afternoon tea supplied by Runwell social club whilst the results were read and thank yous given.

I would like to thank John Willson and Rayleigh Town archery club for loaning us the grounds and for all their hard work to make it a fantastic day. To our three judges who did above and beyond their normal duties and for Perris Archery for their kind sponsorship of the target faces.

Next year this event will be hosted by Kent and I will publish the dates in the new year.

Final results : OVERALL TEAM Score

1st ESSEX 20646

2nd KENT 19769

Full Results

Team Essex :


Susi Atkinson, Daisy Clark, Tim Davies, James Howell, Michael Judd,  Anna King, James King, Tony Maher, Eric Mallet, Steve Morris (debut), Simon Powell, Paul Ramos (debut), Kathryn Sartain, James Sinclair, Matt Webb


Lauren Bann, Alex Body, Tom Boatman (debut), Rhiannon Easton, Adam Harris (debut), Emily Mallion, Imogen Newby (debut)

It is with great sadness that I pass on the news that Chris Smith passed away on Sunday, 24th May. He had been unwell for several months recently.

The service for Chris will be held at Pitsea Crematorium on Thursday, 11th June at 1.20 pm. All are welcome to attend the service. However, the family would like to have a private reception afterwards just for family and a few close friends.

Tom and I have known Janet and Chris, and the whole "Smith" family, for over 40 years, since they were first at Hutton Bowmen. When Hutton Bowmen disbanded they joined us at Pilgrim and we have enjoyed many good times in their company. Chris had a good sense of humour and was always ready with a laugh or a smile when the occasion amused him.

Many years ago, when the County held their Championships at Crowlands Rugby Club (Romford), Chris and Janet ran the ECAA FITA Championships there. They also ran a number of coaching activities at Wicken Bonhunt on behalf of the Essex Guild of Archery Coaches.

Chris was a Senior Coach and was always happy to help archers with their shooting technique. He was awarded the County’s “Baldwin” Trophy for services to the County at their AGM on 5 February, 2006. In that same year, on 19th March, he was awarded the County’s prestigious “Red Tassel” and he also held the office of ECAA’s Vice President for the term 2009/2011.

Chris will be very much missed, not only by the members of Pilgrim Archers, but archers from many Essex clubs.

We send our most sincere condolences to Janet and the family.

Iris Major

Graham presented with Silver Plaquette

Graham Sibley was honoured with a Plaquette for 'Services to Archery' at AGB Annual General Meeting.

For obvious reasons he was unable to attend in person and was subsequently presented with the award in his hospital bed by ECAA Life Vice President - Marlene Hutchins!

Graham was delighted to receive the award and thanks everyone who put forward his name.

He also wishes to thank all who have asked after him and sent wishes for his speedy recovery to full health.