This yearís National Champs were hosted by Kings Forest Bowmen on the 10th and 11th September. Their shooting grounds are in a large, fairly flat area of Forestry Commission woodlands a few miles north of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. White Mark Bowmen was represented by twelve of our finest (finest at what, Iím not sure), with entries in the Longbow, Freestyle Recurve, Freestyle Compound and Bowhunter Unlimited styles. Some of us travelled up on Friday whilst others chose an early Saturday start.
With the registration formalities and mandatory bacon butties completed, El Presidente Kendrick welcomed everyone, delivered some news items and handed over to Rosie Potter who reminded us of the rules and assigned groups to their marshals to lead us out to our starting targets for the Hunter round on the red, white, or blue courses as allocated.
The weather was cool, breezy and cloudy, threatening rain. However I had remembered to take my magic umbrella, so other than a couple of brief showers it remained dry with a number of pleasant sunny periods. The first groups finished the round at about 2:30 and then others gradually appeared with the slow-coaches eventually turning up three hours later.
For overnight accommodation, some of our crew had chosen to camp, the campsite being on the end of the runway at the Mildenhall USAF base, and our resident South Africans, Kobus and Karl fired up their barbeque and opened a few bottles (actually, quite a few). A steady stream of meat, comprising burgers, steaks, chops and what appeared to be half a sheep, was excellently prepared by Karl and we were eating and drinking until well after dark.
As dawn broke on Sunday it was raining (so Iím told) and the forecast was grim, promising cloud and blustery showers but by the time we got to Kings Forest the rain had stopped and the temperature had started to rise.
For the Sundayís Field round, the groups had been rearranged according to the scores obtained on the previous dayís Hunter round. Sue, Justyn, Sam and I had managed to get into our respective top groups and all the BU boys had contrived to get themselves into a White Mark only group.
We set off for a 9:30 start and progress was steady with no undue hold-ups. My group stopped at about noon for lunch to sample the excellent fare provided by the Kings Forest catering crew and then continued, finishing about 3:30 by which time lots of groups had also finished.
My shooting was consistent over the two days with moments of brilliance interspersed with long periods of mediocrity but that, despite starting in second place on Sunday morning, was good enough to overhaul the competition.
Also, Sue Crowe won the Ladies Longbow and other White Mark members managed to bag a second, a third, and a class award. We also entered teams for three of the team competitions and came third in all of them. The full results can be viewed on the EFAA website.
After the prize giving the President thanked everyone and reminded us that next yearís Spring Champs are to be held at White Mark.
Overall it was a good weekend, well organised, well catered, well attended, and well worth going again next year.
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