At a glance
Team (Boris, Andy, Nat) – 1674 – 2nd
David Williams – 558(29) – 10th
Andrew Howe – 558(27) – 11th
John Bowes – 545 – 22nd
Matt Potticary – 523 – 41st
Stephen Fawcett – 459 – 56th
Nata Chavanich – 558(24) – 5th
By David Williams (edited by Stephen Fawcett)
The first SEAL leg of the 2013/14 season was meant to be held in the Old Sports Hall in Southampton, but as this was unavailable, the seniors decided to travel to the Surrey County Championships to join Stag Hill Archers (i.e. Surrey) there whilst the novices stayed in the range to shoot their first tournament in comfort. The day started with Stephen ‘Tap’ Fawcett heading off to the range to help Declan Ashworth, Ally Miller and Samantha Hewkin organise the day, and when he got back received a frantic phone call from David ‘Boris’ Williams about when and where to meet. Stephen had made it clear in his email to meet on the platform 1 side of Southampton Central train station earlier in the week, which Boris had paid little attention to as he had originally planned to join James ‘Dono’ Donovan in Guildford the night before. There was some confusion however when Stephen got on the bus with David and John Bowes as to where Matthew Potticary was, as he probably should have taken that bus. When the trio arrived at the station, Stephen pointed out someone who looked like a Declan/Dono hybrid which Boris found most amusing. Nat Chavanich and Andrew Howe soon joined the trio on platform 1, but the question remained as to where Matt could be found. Boris was bouncing around all over the place and in a very happy mood so didn’t really care where Matt was, John posited that Matt wouldn’t be silly enough to not read the email and go to the wrong part of the station and when it turned out he hadn’t read the email as he frantically called Stephen, Andrew repeatedly said “Hodor!” down the phone and then called him a name that for the purposes of this family friendly match report shall not be repeated. However, soon enough Matt found his way to the correct side of the station and after a bit of teasing, SUAC got onto the train.
Much messing around was to be had on the train, partly due to Boris’ hyperactivity and partly due to Matt’s tiredness (ladies… Ed.). Andy kept trying to win a game of Minesweeper on Boris’s Kindle but was ‘rubbish’ at it (as Boris labelled him) and there was a group dare directed at Nat to slap John, who looked like he had fallen asleep. She politely turned the opportunity down. Whilst much fun was had, it could not compare to that of the BUTC ‘Lad Bus’ of 2013, which Tap claimed was due to a token female presence in the team this time. The time passed quickly and the group got off at Woking for Tap to try to work out where we were meant to be going with the map in his head. As soon as we left the station, Boris, John and Matt disappeared into an M&S, and when they came out a coach to Heathrow had arrived in the car park with the rest of the team seeming to be in the queue to get on it. Tap found his bearings and started leading the team in a direction, preferring to allow others to walk in front of him so he could get an air of superiority when they went the wrong way when only he knew where they were going. (Your fault for walking ahead of me. Ed.) On this short walk, there was much discussion about Tap being on a target with three ladies, namely Nat, Charly Knight (listed as a gents longbow on the original target list) and Steph Gooch from Surrey. Boris on the other hand had Dono…
The team arrived with an hour to go and signed in but it turned out the handicap scores that Stephen had sent had not arrived, so the team would not be eligible for the handicap competition unless he got them. Luckily, Stephen lives with Suzanne Coley and after a few phone calls he managed to get hold of them and submit them. The rest of the team ate lunch whilst Andy decided to take apart the competition box and Boris’ wallet. Upon finding his wallet turned out, Boris told Andy to put it back together again, a feat that he did not manage to do quite correctly. Before long, Stag Hill arrived and after they signed in – causing a queue at one end of the shooting line – they came over to chat with SUAC who were no longer taking up a substantial section of the waiting area. Boris had to run off to get his arrows pointed from Sam Baldwin, a friend to SUAC and Stag Hill, as Boris had tried the previous day and had burned himself on several occasions. The team settled into their places and got on with shooting soon after. There however was only a 10 second wait between buzzers on the timer, though the rule has not changed yet.
Boris had a dreadful set of sighters, something that Dono was very pleased about as he was outshooting him, but as soon as scoring started, they all started miraculously going in the middle. After a few ends though, Boris wasn’t looking at what he was doing and in the 10 second waiting period leant on his bow and knocked it over, which was seen by most of those on the shooting line at the time as it made a big crashing sound. The completely professional SUAC tried their best to not laugh too loudly while everyone else was on the line. It didn’t get much better for SUAC as Matt had to score two misses on one end as he couldn’t pull them through the clicker in the record status two-minute time limit, which he would later discover had been moved probably by accident when he pulled the bow out of his bag. For most of the first half everyone was fairly happy with Boris still hyper like a small child, with Andy, John and Nat reasonably happy with their scores. Stephen was finding it difficult however to put them in the middle, as he had earlier discovered that all of his arrows had hairline cracks in the back end of them and whatever he did they just didn’t seem to be grouping at all. It was at this point that Charly’s longbow nocking point started to come undone to which Boris was asked to fix it and she seemed fine after that.
After three dozen, the scores of SUAC were fairly evenly matched. Andy and Boris were on 335, with John on 334 and Nat on 332. Matt had recovered well from his clicker malfunction and normal service had resumed, but Stephen was still struggling. It was at this point that Matt and Steph had a discussion about how the former was very warm and the latter was very cold. They hugged it out and both agreed that the other was the temperature they claimed to be, but Stephen was slightly unnerved by Matt’s foray onto his target of ladies. Soon after this however, Nat managed to hit Stephen with her bow whilst he was at full draw. Stephen, a seasoned archer and one accustomed to being put off at the range steadied himself and stopped the arrow from flying out of the bow. Meanwhile, Rob from Surrey also intruded on Stephen’s target, asking Nat whether she had learned how to shoot with SUAC because he observed that she had a noticeably different technique from the rest of the team. Stephen pointed out that she was new to the club this year and was definitely not a novice because she already has a CXT with a custom grip, so no, she obviously did not begin at SUAC and he sent him on his way. Towards the end however several of SUAC were finding it difficult to keep going, as Boris hadn’t shot much in the previous week, John had shot too much, Andy was struggling to find the form that had brought him some great scores earlier in the week and Nat was consistently hitting the 9, but less so the 10. Matt continued his good form despite his earlier mishap.
When all was finished at the end, SUAC compared scores and it turned out that three archers had scored the same! Andy, Nat and Boris had all scored the same 558 on the round with John shooting a 545 giving a SEAL team total of 2219, which is impressive for a team consisting of one of last year’s novices and a compounder! Boris was whizzing around because he was so happy at this point although the others were slightly disappointed at their falling form towards the end of the round. The team stayed around for the prize giving, not before Nat, Matt and Sam tried to put Nat’s case back together as the strap wouldn’t fit. SUAC won things in both the raffle and awards this time, with John picking up a box of Maltesers early in the raffle and Nat winning a bronze for visiting ladies recurve, though the organisers struggled to pronounce her name. Matt lamented that nobody was going for the alcoholic raffle prizes early on, and had his eye on a bottle of red wine that he didn’t win. After a long ceremony, we were kicked out of the sports hall by an announcement over the tannoy cutting short the Lady Paramount’s speech where we bid farewell to Stag Hill as they went home by car. We walked back through the now pitch black park we had gone through earlier making our way to the station to get home as it was now 8pm! Not as much silliness was had on the train journey back, with a fair amount of talk on what new arrows Stephen should get, but Boris invited Nat to come and sit next to him to have a little social conversation between the team (as he was still hyper) before the team went their separate ways to go home. A great fun day for all who went and one where we got to say hello to all those at Stag Hill Archers too!
SEAL results can be found at http://uksaa.com/seal/2014_league.shtml