“Shooting with Friends”

Word reached your correspondent a few weeks ago that someone had described Brighton Bowmen as being akin to “shooting with your friends in the garden.” The intent behind that remark wasn’t in the least bit generous, but it had a ring of truth around it in the context of our latest FITA 18 tournament. The shoot went smoothly and the atmosphere was competitive but friendly. Very many thanks to everyone who turned up and made it a special weekend. It was the most satisfying of several I’ve organised since 2008.

If you’re here to find the results from the tournament, click this link. They include one new UK record and several new county records. Read on for the details.

From Far and Wide

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that people came to St Aubyns from far and wide last weekend. Archers from Sussex, its neighbouring counties of Hampshire, Surrey and Kent, plus the usual suspects from Essex were on the target lists. London, the West Midlands and Scotland were also represented.

Among the entrants were three young people who behaved impeccably, shot with determination and were a credit to themselves and their parents. Hopefully we’ll see Henry Riseborough (Bognor Regis AC) and Louisa and Eleanor Piper of Woking AC at many more archery tournaments. Well done to all three of you, especially Louisa whose 416 was a new Surrey under 12 record.

A couple of other juniors managed to set new records for their counties, among them Chris Woodgate (Woking AC) whose 563 is a new Surrey best for junior recurve. At the other end of the age range Chris Ellis (The High Weald AC) narrowly missed out on a new national gents longbow record, although it’s probably only a matter of time until that happens.

Somewhere between those two, at least in terms of age, stands Michaela Lake, the archery mum behind our much-lauded archery tournament diary. This was her first competition, a little more than four weeks after she completed her beginner’s course. It was a good first effort and somehow you just know there are going to be many more tournaments and many higher scores. Well done, Michaela.


Rumblings from the audience suggest that it’s time to reveal the identity of the person who shot a new UK record; but before doing so it should be noted that this wasn’t the first occasion such a mark has been set at Brighton Bowmen. Back in March 2012, Daisy Clark’s 583 took that honour and it was once again a pleasure to see her, dad Paul and their friends from Chelmsford Tudor Rose Archers and Mayflower Archers at St Aubyns.

This time round, however, the headlines went to Naomi Jones of Edinburgh University AC. Her first two dozens in session B – 115 followed by 120 – suggested that something special was happening. The last three dozens – 118, 118 and 117 – sealed the deal for a total of 588, breaking the existing record by two points. An exceptional performance and a helluva way to warm up for this week’s European Indoor Championships, where she will be representing Great Britain.

Congratulations, Naomi. And good luck this week.

Rock ‘n’ Roll

As ever, Tim Nash graced the tournament with his unique mixture of excellent shooting, offbeat humour and quirky dress sense. One feels that the changes to Rule 307 were made just for him. Thankfully the pink cord trousers stayed in his bag this time.

Four 580 plus scores on Saturday were merely the prelude to dinner with friends that evening and then a classic Nash performance at St Aubyns on the second day.

At the assembly for session F, people were asking “Where’s Tim?”

“In Worthing. Having breakfast,” came the answer via text message. No ETA was mentioned.

Finally rocking up around 15 minutes before the second session, Nash set about securing his place in the selection shoot for the 2014 World Indoor Championships. A score of 589, sealed with the last arrow of the tournament and celebrated with a neo-punk victory jig that had the neighbours worrying that the Russians had invaded, saw him finish on a roll and quite literally the highest of notes.

Archery meets rock ‘n’ roll courtesy of Tim Nash; you have to love it. But God help the good people of Rzeszow in Poland, where he is also representing Great Britain this week.

Go, Scalpel!

Behind the Scenes

No Brighton Bowmen event is complete without Roger and Zillah McMullan, who took charge of affairs at front of house and behind the scenes respectively.  There is an awful lot that’s good in Sussex archery that wouldn’t happen without them. Thanks, folks.

The same goes for Paul Clark, who once more assisted Roger in his capacity as a candidate judge, and also Nick Cole, who worked tirelessly as field captain throughout the weekend from Friday evening through to Sunday evening.  Top blokes both.

It’s worth mentioning that Naomi Jones and Tim Nash drove to Rottingdean from Edinburgh via Lilleshall on Friday and arrived in good time to help set up the range for the weekend. Stars in every sense of the word and worthy of their appearance on the Brighton Bowmen Pinterest boards.

Pip Tucknott and Jamie Cole were the final members of the field crew on both Friday and Sunday. In the intervening 48 hours Jamie shot 578 to equal Pip’s Sussex county record; but in the same session Pip shot 579 to make it all his own for a while longer. The rivalry is still there, but the spirit of 2010 lives on. Thanks, lads.

Pip assisted Sidonie Lake and Julia Tucknott with much baking the day before the tournament. Grateful thanks to everyone who didn’t have the chocolate cake. I’m looking forward to finishing the last slice once this has been published. Before doing so, I must mention that Julia and Zillah manned the grill and the tea urn throughout the weekend.

And finally, and as ever, Pip and Julia were responsible for doing numerous jobs that needed doing to make the tournament happen and to enable the Organiser to appear something like efficient. He’s a very lucky man.