At a Glance
Team (Andrew, Liam, Stephen) – 291 – 3rd
Andrew Howe – 144 – 5th
Stephen Fawcett – 63 – 8th
Fiona Walsh – 34 – 2nd
Liam McDonnell – 84 – 2nd
James Nelson – 41 – 4th
Since the objective of a clout is to shoot arrows into a field, it was probably no surprise that the Hampshire Clout Championships would be at a field in the middle of nowhere. Appealingly, the location did double up as a steam railway and flower garden, so if the shooting went badly then the team could always go on an excursion. Stephen Fawcett hadn’t printed out the directions, but did have them in his mind and a dubiously drawn map. James Nelson, driving the team in his car, had the option of a sat nav, which Stephen took up since this would absolve him of any blame for getting the team lost. It wasn’t a particularly long journey, as it was just outside of Southampton, but taking the electronic option was probably the better one.
For a shoot at the start of October, it was still relatively warm and bright. Due to his experiences earlier on in the season, and partially due to the grief he gets from his housemates, Stephen decided to put on sun cream despite the time of year. Fiona Walsh eventually decided to do so too, after much umming and erring about whether this should be a thing. Bizarrely, this had an adverse effect on Stephen’s shooting at the start as it was causing his tab to slip off his fingers. The day’s good luck message eventually came through from Janna Collier, though it’s not clear when she sent it as there was a very spotty signal in this field in the middle of nowhere.
Looking down the line, it was noticeable that most of the other sighted bows had adapted sights for clout shooting, where the sight is much lower on the bow, below the rest. SUAC had no such technological advancement, and used their tried and tested method of referencing off trees or patches of ground. This was the first time that Andrew Howe would shoot a senior distance clout, and it took him a while to find a suitable sight. Stephen’s arrows as ever were too cool for the target, and regularly flew just long of the harsh GNAS clout scoring zone. Liam McDonnell noted that the outline of the FITA clout circles from the previous day could still be seen and that all of the arrows would have scored had they been in that format.
The first end saw no scoring arrows for James, Andy and Stephen, but points for Liam. This was after the previous double clout where Liam scored a total of zero for the first clout. Liam was decidedly restrained about his newfound accuracy, and by that, I mean not at all. Most of the morning was spent with Liam taking pleasure in his shooting while the other SUACers were finding things a bit difficult. Towards the end of the morning though, they too started to find their aim, though the occasional shot from James would fly at a weird trajectory and fall way short of the target. Andrew also had the biggest fail of the day, managing to lose one of his arrows in the morning. In a competition where you shoot arrows into a field, he lost an arrow by shooting it somewhere else in the field. Strangely, it wasn’t the arrow that he misaimed by referencing off the wrong part of his bow; he found that one. Fortunately the field is only used for archery so it didn’t matter that the arrow was lost, other than the expense of it. Liam and Stephen were early contenders for the ‘most petticoats’ prize, but both would eventually fall short by three arrows.
In the afternoon, Andrew had definitely found his aim, regularly scoring a ‘clout’ for the maximum 5 points and earning the applause of the fellow competitors on the target. There were prizes for ‘best clout’ over the course of the shoot, though because the judges almost forgot the day before and awarded it at the final end, the judges decided to make the best clout the first end, before Andy had figured out how to be good at this distance. Stephen also improved his scoring rate, but not by quite enough to get himself a badge. Liam figured out that he seems to better at competitions that don’t have much riding on them (such as this one), and that he did better at weird competitions such as clouts, making him adaptable. For reasons that are not entirely clear, this linked on to Stephen suggesting that Liam’s previous failure before redeeming himself at this competition sounded like a film plotline, and then this got Liam thinking about action figures. Since he was adaptable, this would mean his figurine would be ‘fully posable’, a term that both he and Stephen had forgotten before Andy reminded them.
Anyway, in the actual results, Andy got the third best gents recurve score in the second clout to get 5th overall, and it would have been even higher had he found a successful sight reference earlier in the shoot. Liam got a silver medal in the gents barebow, and both he and Andy were able to claim a black Tassel award, trumping the white one won by Janna at the last clout. It turned out that for the Hampshire Championships, there were very few archers from Hampshire, and the bronze in the team prize was won by Andy, Liam and Stephen (woop), though we will ignore the fact that the team in second (which was a ‘B’ team) almost doubled their score. Fiona won the Lord Patron prize, which didn’t improve her mood (protip – unless there’s a specific criterion, the Lord Patron/Lady Paramount prize is the consolation prize). Thus this ended the outdoor season, later than ever in the SUAC calendar, and now everyone can stress again about how to shoot from the significantly shorter distance of 20 yards for the next half year.