Kent Target Championship, 2007 - Event Report

All change this year in the Senior Compound championship, but business as usual for Gould and Brighton in the Recurve!

Earlier in the year, members of the KAA were shown the new facilities under construction at Leigh City Technology College, Dartford, with the possibility of creating a long-term partnership. When booking problems prevented us from using Hadlow College for this year's championship, the opportunity was taken to stage the event at Dartford. So this year the work party had more work than usual, having to transport equipment to temporary storage on the site, then marking out and setting up on unfamiliar ground in very poor weather.

Entries were up by more than 30% on the previous year, with 100 competitors from Kent subscribing to their county championship, joined by 34 archers from clubs in other counties in the south-east – the latter would effectively compete in a parallel "open" event.

It was, however, no great surprise that a number of competitors decided that Sunday's weather was just too unpleasant and so stayed at home. In the end, though, the number of competitors who completed the day's shooting was more than double the number from last year's weather affected match!

The morning started grey, wet and breezy, not especially cold, but punctuated by heavy showers of light rain – while this did not have a great impact on shooting, it certainly added more challenges. By lunchtime Alex Purser of Mayflower had a comfortable lead in the Gent's Recurve division, but retired, leaving Mike Brighton with a small lead over the remaining shooters. In the Ladies' Recurve Yvonne Wade of Burntwood Archers lead from the off, establishing a 35 point lead over Kent's Jacqui Gould. In the Gent's Compound, Mike Johnson of Tonbridge opened up a 26 point lead over the reigning champion Richard Clark, while Pat Spragg of Oakwood (Essex) led the Ladies' Compound division by a comfortable 67 points from Kent's Theresa Gower.

The afternoon was dry, but as the breeze strengthened and became more variable, it made shooting all the more tricky. Mike Brighton held his lead in the Gent's Recurve until the last dozen, when Gary Ward of Brent Valley Archers passed him to become the overall winner, but leaving Mike Brighton to win the county championship for the fourth successive year. Jacqui Gould fought back in the Ladies' Recurve, narrowing the gap to 19 points at the close, taking the Kent championship for her fourth year in a row, but losing out overall to Yvonne Wade. Richard Clark was able to chip away the odd few points here and there, but Mike Johnson continued to shoot strongly to win his first county championship title by a 20-point margin. Pat Spragg continued to dominate the Ladies' Compound event, winning by an eventual margin of 130 points over Theresa Gower, who succeeded in taking her first county championship title.

Among the juniors shooting, special mention must go to champions Piers Lawrence of Crown Archers in the Under-14 Recurve category for a very accomplished and hard-fought 1178 and Phillip Gower of Canterbury in the Under-16 Compound Division who posted the highest score of the day (1242) with only 27 of 144 arrows outside the Gold – these are certainly two youngsters to look out for in the future! Also recording championship wins were Robert Button, Adam Stannard, Harrison Earl, Stephanie Kenyon, Leah Smith and James Harris in their various age divisions.

Eight Longbow archers also took part in this tournament, but for them there was no championship at stake - that was decided earlier in the year in their own separate event. Clinton Hill, the current county longbow champion romped away with a convincing win, but the Ladies event was a hard-fought battle between Stella Green and Hilary Talbot, both fresh from wowing the audience at a demonstration event at the Meteksan Archery World Cup event at Dover – Hilary Talbot finally winning by 4 points, the slenderest of margins.

The event also gained extensive coverage in the Kent and Sussex Courier - a third of a page - indicating that coverage can be achieved, as long as we provide the media with suitable material.

The list of results and main awards can be downloaded here (in PDF format).