Varsity 2014



1st: Southampton – 2179
Andrew Howe – 562
Matt Potticary – 554
John Bowes – 541
Stephen Fawcett – 522

2nd: Portsmouth – 1863
Jonny Hawkins – 484
Tim Fagg – 472
Stoycho Velev (BB N) – 485
Dan Dimartino – 449


The second ever Varsity archery match against Portsmouth again doubled up as the final SEAL league match of the season, though this year the logistics were made easier by Southampton hosting Varsity. There was some confusion before the competition about the exact format, but in the end Stephen Fawcett decided to run things as per usual for SEAL, as the opposition understood what was meant to be happening and the Varsity administrators probably wouldn’t be too fussed. This did mean that Southampton’s squad of nine featured five seniors and four novices, while Portsmouth went for a novice-heavy line-up, which is fine for SEAL, though this made the paperwork look slightly dubious as the official Varsity rules say that an individual can’t play for multiple teams (which makes sense for most other sports). Also adding to the fun of the paperwork was the supposed need to have an official. Ordinarily, Stephen would take this role, as he is the SEAL Organiser, though this would again look suspicious on the paperwork as he was also the designated team captain for the day. Jo Sullivan from South Wilts (and not SUAC, not at all…) was fortunately available, with her services being paid for in wine as is the standard for archery competitions. As he was running the shoot, Stephen bought the wine himself, but he doesn’t generally drink wine to be any sort of judge, so he apologises if the choice wasn’t very good.

The wine was put in the safekeeping of Matt Potticary, as he lived closer to the range and it was decided that Stephen cycling with the Varsity paperwork and a bottle of wine in his bag was a risky move. Stephen turned up on time, to find that most of the competitors had already set up and were waiting – Portsmouth were constrained by the early time of their coach, but they were given a lift to the range anyway so they didn’t have to worry about walking from Highfield. There were still a few people to wait for after Stephen – Isabelle Hawkins, Andrew Howe (it’s Andy so it was to be expected) and Matt. Izzy and Andy were still on time, but Matt was worryingly not, which was unlike him. He also wasn’t answering his phone. Stephen didn’t want to keep everyone waiting and wanted things to look like they were being run professionally, but there was no rush for time and he was running the shoot anyway, so he held everything up to wait for Matt. He also checked with Janna Collier to see if she knew where he was, which she didn’t. He didn’t realise at the time that this would also get Janna worried about what had happened to Matt… Fortunately Matt eventually arrived, slightly late but tolerably so. Stephen didn’t think to tell Janna that Matt had been located, and as he had his phone on silent during the shoot he also missed her checking that Matt was fine. Stephen did eventually respond, probably rather later than what Janna would have liked.

The target list was cunningly devised by Stephen to try to keep an alternating Southampton and Portsmouth line over the three details, and an equal balance of novices and seniors on each detail. Unfortunately this meant that Stephen found himself on a fresh piece of Danage that he couldn’t pull his arrows from. Portsmouth’s designated captain for the day gave his team a pep talk, while Stephen didn’t specifically bother with this as he instead had to do the introductory welcome and start the shoot. With so many things to have to look after, thankfully Izzy was on hand to keep track of the rotating details, especially as Stephen himself forgot he was shooting first on one detail. Portsmouth comforted themselves with the idea that they had already won the nominal novice barebow competition by virtue of being the only team playing novice barebows.

With archery being the only Varsity sport at the Watersports Centre, and the official programme stating that it was taking place at Highfield anyway, Stephen felt compelled to try to promote archery’s place in the event through social media. Given that other sports would be promoting how well they were doing, Stephen took an opportunity to take a photo of himself managing to get three 10s in one end to post. Andy protested that Stephen hadn’t taken a photo of the several times he scored three 10s. For unusual technical reasons, he had to upload this photo from his phone via Facebook to then download to his Apple Mac so that he could then tweet it. It managed to feature on the Varsity live blog, though for some reason it later disappeared from the live feed! Maybe they decided that archery was not a legitimate event after all. Both sides enjoyed the live blog feed, especially since featuring heavily was the results of the pole fitness contest, and just like the blog, those at the archery weren’t sure how you marked a pole fitness competition. Some archers (mainly the male ones) pointed out that they were perhaps playing the wrong sport and should be spectating elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Stephen was carelessly left logged in to his Facebook, which prompted his teammates to make some minor alterations. These were quickly detected, for the most part, and Stephen could get back to shooting. Fortunately his phone that was powering the internet ran out of battery before further Facebook editing could take place. Some of his shots took some time to get through the clicker, with him determined to avoid the disaster from BUCS the week before, but fortunately James Clark was on hand to keep him company. In fact, there was some healthy chat between James and the people from Portsmouth, as the atmosphere started to relax. The presence of Jo as an actual official judge meant that there were still several more judging calls than the average SEAL match, but that’s what she was there to do! There was also a moment where everyone was waiting so long to take his final shot that someone took a photo, then someone else took the photo of the person taking the photo, and so on… At this stage, Stephen hadn’t changed into his new club top as he was away on charity duties the day before to pick it up, so the photo is technically not official Team Southampton material. Fiona Walsh came in to drop off the shirts before she went off to the simultaneously occurring St Dunstans competition.

Stephen also calculated the details so that he would shoot first in the final end, which meant that he could start taking down his bow first and get started on the counting of scores. This meant that he missed what happened in the rest of the final end, in which the unfortunate Azaliya Ibraimova, who had been shooting well, ended up with an arrow somewhere towards the top of the boss rather than on the target. Izzy was keen to point out that she had managed to equal her PB during the shoot, in competition conditions, and she individually got a higher score than any of the Portsmouth team did. However, the rest of SUAC’s senior squad shot reasonably ok by their standards, so Izzy just missed out on making the team. The seniors of Andy (562), Matt (554), John Bowes (541) and Stephen (522, woop) won convincingly, as did the novices of James (494), Azaliya (472) and Jiahao Chen (467), and the weather was as bright as it had been all year so a small ceremony and team photo took place outside. The scores meant that as well as securing a vital eight points for Varsity, SUAC regained the senior SEAL trophy as the league’s unbeaten team, while the novices finished second in the leg to the dominant London, just falling short of overcoming Kent to finish third in the league.

Liam McDonnell had stopped by to see how things were progressing, and at his suggestion, Portsmouth and some of SUAC went to watch the rest of Varsity. Portsmouth opted to get everyone to walk uphill back to Highfield in order to get their free bus to Wide Lane rather than pay for the Unilink fare. Nobody was really sure where the free buses would be coming from Highfield, giving Stephen enough time to run to the Jubilee Sports Hall and back to find out what was going on. There wasn’t quite enough space to fit everyone in one journey, so a couple of Portsmouth people were seemingly stranded at Highfield, though they soon made their way. Upon reaching Wide Lane, nobody was really sure where Stephen and Izzy needed to go to hand in the results cards. They stumbled upon a Portsmouth fan who had got a bit rowdy and declared loudly to them that Portsmouth would win, having just won a rugby match. Stephen calmly pointed out that he had the cards showing that Southampton had just won the archery, to which the Portsmouth guy could only retaliate by shouting “F*****g Southampton c**ts” in anger as the archery pair casually walked off. They eventually found the results desk in the bar, handed the results in, met up with everyone else and got a drink to sit outside and watch the rest of the day. It emerged that Stephen had not managed to rectify all of his Facebook changes, as it had now been changed to him being in an ‘open relationship’, that he hadn’t previously noticed. With his phone dead, he couldn’t do anything soon about it either. Apparently the idea had been to put him in an open relationship with Pole Fitness but Facebook wouldn’t let this happen.

A hot topic was the cheerleading, which Matt seemed to know an awful lot about. He nearly dug himself into a hole before he neatly sidestepped it just as Janna arrived to join the group. Although cheerleading was merely going to be a demonstration event for the day, nobody was sure how you regularly scored cheerleading, similar to the pole fitness debate that still nobody had answers for. Sam Killgallon helpfully pointed out, “You go up to a cheerleader, ask her out, then you score”. Sam became increasingly fixated on the troupe of Southampton’s Vixens (or whatever a group of cheerleaders is called) though in fairness some of the moves were worth watching. That’s probably not what Sam was getting interested about though…

With Liam’s updates filtering through that Portsmouth had barely scored any more points since SUAC arrived at Wide Lane, and that the Southampton Varsity win was guaranteed, everyone went off to try to beat the traffic for the free transport. Upon seeing that several groups of others had decided similarly, most of SUAC decided to walk back instead, though Janna and Jiahao took the Unilink bus. Sam missed out by opting to be in the walking group, as Janna’s bus happened to have several of the Vixens with her.

Final SEAL results are available at