23 & 24 June, Maidstone
After dragging myself out of bed at an horrendously early time (6.30am. On a Saturday. Who knew such a time existed?), I made my way to Marilyn B's house, who would be driving us up to Allington Castle Archers' grounds for the tournament. Once we had negotiated the diversion around Maidstone's town centre, we arrived with plenty of time to spare. We were on two of the middle targets and so our camp was right in front of the bacon butty stall. Somehow cold toast and a cup of tea lost its allure in the waft of griddled bacon.
The Sir Thomas Wyatt is a popular shoot that spans the weekend. Named after the Tudor poet and diplomat who was born at Allington Castle, this is the 18th tournament since it's inaugural shoot in 1984. While a mixed shoot on both days, Marilyn and I were doing it for the CM&FB ladies on the Saturday, while Steve, Chris, Pete and Dave P were the club massive on the Sunday.
Marilyn and I couldn't have picked a better day for our expedition - even the light shower of rain conveniently decided to fall while we were on our lunch break. Otherwise, it was warm, sunny and with occasional cloud cover; the only downside was a crosswind that picked up closer to the targets, so I saw many of my arrows whiz off to the right and miss! That'll learn me to shoot aluminiums. Still, it was only my second attempt at shooting a Hereford and I did manage to hit it at 80 yards even with my low poundage bow. I soon made up for my losses when we brought the targets down to 60 then 50 yards. In the end I came a respectable third in my category. Ok, so there were only three of us in the Ladies' Recurve, but like a politician, it's all about the spin. Marilyn, however, was on fire and won the Ladies' Compound; bringing home as promised to her kids, a medal.
All in all we had an excellent day's shooting; good company, good gossip, good weather and good fun. We did snigger when we saw the weather forecast for the Sunday - a complete contrast with heavy rain. Steve reported that all scores were down, but many congratulations to Dave P who not only came third in the Gents' Recurve, but also claimed his 900 Rose Award. Chris also deserves congratulations as he came third in the Gents' Compound, beating Steve into fourth place.
It was the first time I'd shot at Allington's grounds and I'd recommend any members who haven't been to one of their tournaments to consider entering as it was a really relaxed and enjoyable day. They have a few tournaments throughout the year, so if you are thinking about entering one have a word with our Club Captain who only happens to be the victorious Marilyn.