Archers off target

Dominik Schindler at Birmingham

Last Saturday the Cambridge Archers faced the impossible task of defending the team title at the BUSA Indoor Championships, which they won last year. At the end of a rather unsuccessful indoor season and after having lost two high scoring team members last summer, expectations were not high and a fifth place at the end of the day was regarded as a great success. With an impressive score of 2269 and the highest winning margin ever recorded since 1984 Edinburgh reclaimed the trophy which had been kept safely in Cambridge for the past two years.

Birmingham hosted the event and it was truly one of the most memorable Championships ever. 299 participants from over 30 universities meant that it was the biggest national archery event ever held in Britain in the recent past. The standard was very high with new BUSA records being set in 7 out of the 12 categories.

The light Blues were directly confronted with their Edinburgh rivals as they both competed in the first of three sessions. Any hopes were dashed after the first out of five dozen when Cambridge was already trailing behind by 30 points. However they did not get distracted by these results and continued the competition with confidence and concentration. After two hours the team consisting of Ian Caulfield, Victor Yung, Omar Al-Mushadani and Chris Cowburn secured a good second place in this session. The probability that a score of 2116 would be enough for medal with a few good teams still to shoot in the afternoon was not high, and hence it was no real disappointment watching the teams from Imperial College, York and Oxford, going past Cambridge.

The men's individual gold went to Tim Mundon from Edinburgh who put in a perfect first dozen, but could not keep up this high level and finished on 579. The men's team, however, was far outclassed by the women's performance. British national team member Naomi Folkard from Birminghm shot 583 equalling the old BUSA record, only to see herself beaten by world ranked fourth and treble Olympian Alison Williamson from South Bank University on 593. Marietta Scott won bronze with 580 beating the first gent by one point.

In the novice category the competition was stiff. The team from Cambridge was led by Peter Tovey on 468 and his fellow novices Barry Cook and Garreth Powell made their contributions to the final team score of 1348. In previous years this score would have been enough for the bronze medal, but this Saturday novice teams from Nottingham, Imperial College and Edinburgh all scored in excess of 1500. This was a demonstration the efforts university clubs have made in recruiting and training beginners to a very high standard.

The Cambridge Bowmen now look forward to a very exciting Varsity Match to be held in May. Oxford may have beaten the light Blues in Birmingham, but the small margin of mere 10 points shows that there is no clear favourite. Indeed the competition will be held outdoors and this means that the conditions will be very different. Not all archers are able to transfer their skill from the short distances indoors to the 80 yard range shot outdoors. Cambridge take the positives in this performance safe in the knowledge that there is all to play for in the Varsity Match.

(The Cambridge Student, 27/02/03)