At a glance
Stephen Fawcett – 67 – 4th
Liam McDonnell – 18 – 9th
Janna Collier – 75 – 4th
Fiona Walsh – 43 – 4th
Ever since taking part in the Bath Clout last year, SUAC has got the taste for clouting, so a small, select group of clouters made the short journey to take part in the Southampton Double GNAS Clout. Being a clout, there is no such thing as a target list because everyone in a category aims at the same target, so the lack of target numbers on the start list confused Fiona Walsh. While this is understandable, since there aren’t many clout competitions, Fiona inexplicably also had to double check what ‘LB’ meant on the sheet (it’s longbow by the way, in case anyone else reading doesn’t know), but did know that ‘CU’ stood for compound unlimited, which is a more unusual term.
There was a small amount of concern about the whereabouts of Stephen Fawcett when he didn’t get on the bus as expected, but since he had his bike, he was fine. It later emerged that Stephen used to own a BMX when he was little, the idea of Stephen being a BMX bandit sounding unlikely to his fellow team mates. Despite Stephen walking up with his bike, and the intention of everyone walking up together, the men somehow became detached from the women and spent the entire journey walking about ten metres in front of them.
The men would be shooting at the pink flag 180 yards away, while the women shot at the 140 yard orange flag. The scoring rings would also be smaller than in the metric form of the competition, with the 5 and 4 rings being especially small. While Stephen lamented that he didn’t get to shoot at the orange flag to match the rest of his equipment, of greater concern was the fact that there were rugby posts on the field, presenting a possible obstacle for some of the archers.
In the opening end, one of the female archers had an issue with the nock fitting on her string, leading to some misfiring. One arrow even fell backwards, in the direction of Janna Collier just as she was going to walk up to the line, much to her shock! Meanwhile, Fiona discovered that she had started the shoot by forgetting to put her button in. After putting in her button, she wasn’t happy with the results, so she decided to do the rest of the shoot without her button; a curious strategy to say the least.
The day’s good luck text from a non-participant came from Matt Potticary, and as ever, Janna received her text about half an hour before everyone else did… in his defence he claims his text was meant to be a team-wide broadcast of good luck. Matt couldn’t take part because he hasn’t done a clout before, though Stephen found from the judge (in his usual archery whore mode) that those of us that have done a few clouts now are probably competent enough to unofficially teach someone the rules, though officially a clout-competent judge would be in a position to teach. Despite there being no official rules on the matter.
Liam McDonnell was struggling to find the extra few yards needed to hit the target as he was finding a beautiful line but was falling incrementally just short at every end, regardless of what he was trying. In the final end of the first half, Liam threw caution to the wind and managed to shoot beyond the flag, which still meant he finished with a score of zero for the morning. The judge was happy to regularly update the ladies’ target on how well Liam was doing.
The rugby posts were actually aiding Stephen, unaccustomed to not using his sight for much, as the intersection of the tree line, rugby post and knuckle was a reasonably effective reference point. However, using the exact top of the tree line would cause Stephen to go slightly long, causing him to have one end where four of his arrows were tightly grouped within the size of the 3 ring, but were having their own hipster party away from anyone else’s arrows.
The ladies were periodically having success, though things were a bit tumultuous as there would be some ends when they were getting most of the arrows scoring and some when there would only be one or two hits. Janna did manage to get all six arrows scoring in the final end of the morning though.
Matt decided to wake up and eventually come to find us at lunch, though he regrets the choice of Janna to navigate him to the field. Despite the competition taking place at the turn-off of Stoneham Lane, the same name is used for the main road, so when Janna told him to keep walking up Stoneham Lane, Matt ended up walking past the turn-off (despite there being the sign saying ‘Southampton Archery Club’). Fortunately he recognised the top of the road, at which point he figured he should probably follow the sign.
The fact that SUAC were taking part in a clout was generating interest among the other archers, and one Southampton archer came over to ask why the team hadn’t taken part in the practice session the day before. The fact of the matter is that nobody had told Stephen about the possibility of practice or teaching, either on the entry form or in communications, but that didn’t stop the entire team blaming him for the letting them down. Repeatedly. It was therefore decided that this would become ‘the-competition-where-Tap-gets-blamed-for-everything’.
The first end after lunch presented an upturn in the gents’ fortunes. Liam managed to score some points, while Stephen scored a dubious 5, which was a line cutter but was definitely a 5, or a ‘clout’. (Dubious 5 sounds like a cheesy pop group name.) The 5 was a talking point among the archers, as they joked that since it belonged to a student, it should definitely be scored down. There were two flags for the senior gents to aim at due to the size of the field, so there was a surprise when a mystery arrow from the other target landed by the flag of Stephen and Liam’s target. Stephen would continue to score frequently in the low numbers, while Liam would get almost the same end score by getting only a single hit.
In the final results, there were additional entries to those stated on the start list, which meant that neither Janna nor Stephen won any competition prizes for thinking that there weren’t many recurve entries as they both finished 4th (woop). Despite this, Janna scored a very credible 75 for the senior round, which is exactly the score required for her to claim a white Tassel award. Stephen was eight points short of this, while Fiona was seven points short of the barebow target of 50, also in 4th place. It also means that Janna has now officially beaten Stephen in a competition (re Sussex) so she is allowed to exert some bragging rights over him. After scoring zero in the morning and effectively shooting a single clout in the afternoon, Liam didn’t quite manage to beat his score from the heavily rain affected single metric clout at Bath last year.
During the presentation ceremony, Stephen started to collect the entry fees off the rest of SUAC; however Fiona tried to pay the £5.50 in several coins to get rid of all her coppers and other change. Doing so caused Stephen to check that she had actually paid the correct amount, at which point he found that she had tried to sneak in a coin with ‘New Mexico’ on it as a 10p…
The walk home took the team past the Flowers Estate, where Matt and Stephen had the entirely manly chat about flowers, with Matt discovering that a honeysuckle is in fact a flower, but that the men in general were ignorant about what the colour of each flower was. Stephen was able to identify that carnations did come in pink though due to the condensed milk brand of the same name using it as a logo several years ago!