Archery - 70 metre Individual

Saturday, May 20, 2006

As Will drove us through the wilds of Witney, we passed this pub. The rain was coming down quite hard, but doing nothing to dampen the wind. I suspected the pub might be as close as we would get to anything archery related last night, but thankfully I was wrong.

After some initial confusion when we arrived at Witney Rugby Club about where exactly the archers were hanging out (there was some sort of caravan convention being held on one of the pitches), we eventually found a couple of members of the Windrush Bowmen (a number of whom later turned up and were clearly women).

People in clubs tend to be either incredibly welcoming and eager for you to join in whatever it is they’re doing, or incredibly aloof and eager for you to go away. I’m delighted to report that the Windrush Bowmen (and bow-women) were all very firmly of the former persuasion. Within ten minutes of finding them, I was handed a target frame and told to follow the man with the tape measure while he very exactly measured out the 70 metres we needed.

The rain came and went, but the wind persisted as this same man gave me a very rough idea of what to do. I shot a couple of arrows into a target that was only ten metres away to give me a feel for what I was doing. I assume doing so was also designed to be an exercise in confidence boosting; if it was, it nearly backfired horribly as my second arrow only just hit the target.

Having established that the sights on the bow were essentially meaningless at this stage, as I’d probably miss the long target anyway, my mentor decided I should get on with it and give them all a laugh. I think he was a little surprised when my first three arrows only missed by feet instead of yards. The gentle mocking turned to gentle encouragement as we walked down to retrieve them (from the ground).

My fourth shot was dead straight (“as an arrow” in fact), but missed slightly high. My fifth shot, however, hit the target and I may have yelped ever so slightly. By this stage, I could no longer really see properly for all the rain on my glasses, so it was the noise the arrow made as it hit that produced the little yelp of triumph. The sixth shot missed high again, but I didn’t really care by then. I walked, rather faster this time, down to retrieve the arrows and to see how many points I’d scored.

The grapefruit was safe, in fact, you could have nailed a prize-winning marrow to the target and it would have survived unscathed, but I’d hit the outer black, and that’s worth three points. I trotted back to the other end, almost oblivious to the rain, to shoot what I promised the patient Bowmen would be my last three arrows.

I missed with all three. The wind was getting up, the members of the club were waiting to use the range, and the rain just wouldn’t go away. It was time to call it a day. Somehow, the photos make it look like it was a reasonably pleasant evening weatherwise. It wasn't. For a bit of archery footage, and some indication of how strong the wind was, take a look at the video.

I scored three points with my nine arrows. Assuming that I had gone on scoring at the same rate (which, as assumptions go, is reasonably heroic) for the full 72 arrows of the Olympic qualifying event, I would have scored 24 points. In 2004, at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, the Korean Im Dong Hyun broke the world record with a score of 687 points (out of a possible 720). That’s a hell of a lot of grapefruits.

Of the fifteen events I have tried so far, archery has shot to the top of the list of things I’d like to try again sometime; maybe next time on a dry, windless, sunny evening.

Massive thanks to the Windrush Bowmen for their hospitality, and to Will for braving the elements and taking such good photos and video footage. I’m off to Scotland for a few days to continue the rehabilitation of my knee by playing one of the finest golf courses in the world. When I get back, I hope to set about finding some other events I can do while my knee continues to improve.


Anonymous said...

Very professional photos, even if I do say so myself. If I ever get bored researching tyres for a living (like THAT will ever happen!), I think photography would be a good fall back plan.

Similarly, if John gets bored editing my tyre research (like THAT will ever happen!), I think he could become a professional archer. Seriously, he was a natural - I was most impressed.


adem said...

Well done. I almost tryed archery the other week but it has slipped down my 'to do' list for the moment. I will try it though, although the 70 metres looks REALLY far away.

Lord Bargain said...

It is bloody *miles* away!! The fact you actually hit the target thing at all when it's like a speck in the far distance is cause for great celebration in my book.

good work!

Anonymous said...

what are those knuckledusters all about then?

John said...

Those are for when you miss your foe with the arrow and have to punch his lights out.

[or possibly it's a little piece of leather to prevent the bow string from cheese-wiring through your fingers when you draw it back]

manik said...

which all bows you use? i love recurve bows


I believe that Robin Hood has a big credit for the fame of Archery as a Sport. His the one who really broadcast this sport so I'm glad that you started this sport with Robin Hood picture.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a case for a while and finally bought this Aurora backpack for my recurve bow after my friends advice !
It looks nice, problem is that the quality is pretty disappointing, the bag just wont stand by itself, I always need to have it lying on the floor. The side opening makes it difficult to open and stuff the accessories inside. I wish i didnt buy this bag ! So here we are , its now for sale !

Archery Targets said...

I am new to this sport and watching this kind of event really eager me to learn more. I am amazed on on those archers who can make a long shot and target the bullseye.