Last Sunday morning we were packed and ready to head up the motorway to Wolverine Archers shoot, then I remembered. I hadn’t checked the cars tyre pressures and oil levels on Saturday. Oops. Never mind it was only a short delay and as it was we were still some of first archers to arrive. It was also dry and not promising any rain! I think it is the first time we have shot at Wolverines ground and it’s not rained at some point during the day.
Having said that there was a little mud, well actually quite a lot, which made it interesting getting round parts of the hillside course and in some cases on to and off the parking area. There are times I am very glad we have am old Honda CRV.
The slipping and sliding did cause a number of people to lose their footing and unfortunately one archer was taken away in an ambulance have fallen badly on her side. Good news is she is okay, she does have bruising and fractured rib, but it could have been much worse. I will spare her any embarrassment by omitting her name but we are all wishing you a speedy recovery. On this point I feel it should be said the ambulance personnel and the club members looked to deal with the situation really well.
Anyway onto the shoot report. I quickly identified two objectives for the day. Firstly, not to fall and twist my ever troublesome left knee and secondary was to try and hit Kong with my first arrow, a goal I have had since I first shot at Wolverines ground so many years ago. More about Kong later.
Wolverine is always a popular shoot and Sunday was no different, with most pegs being full so over 150 archers in a variety of classes making the journey to just outside Stoke on Trent. If you are interested here is a link to an earlier shoot report from last year.
The 40 target course was a mix of 3d and paper faces and I think it is fair to say it was a challenging course especially some of the paper faces which had been set at their upper limits as far as distances were concerned.
We would be shooting with Sarah Bacon (ladies bowhunter) and Martyn Cotterell (gents unlimited) both of whom are excellent shots and from Woodend archery club.
My first 10 targets were a disaster with 3 blanks! My head was just not engaging and I was really struggling. I was either hitting with first arrow or missing with all three. It wasn’t until we were coming up to the lunchtime break my brain started to work.
Due to the terrain Wolverine operate a lunch break from 12:30 to 1:15, though on this occasion it was extended due to the archer falling on her way back to the peg. I think partly due to the slippery conditions it was a slower shoot than normal as people traversed the hillside with care.
So on to the infamous Kong. Kong is Wolverines club signature shot and is a homemade 3D target standing over nine feet in height. Being that tall you would think it would be easy to hit, but it isn’t. The giant of a target is often set out in the open field, making it very hard to judge the distance and even harder for those who miss to find their arrows. Fortunately there are always a couple of marshals stationed nearby to help search for the wayward arrow or two. I think they enjoy watching the archers challenge themselves.
We’d got to the peg late afternoon and watched the two groups in front of us shoot Kong, with the marshals helping them search for arrows. Then it was our turn. Martyn went first and got a fantastic shot, straight in the red heart with his first arrow, Sarah shot next and got it with her first arrow, this time on the shoulder.
You know it is a long shot when there is a significant delay from a compound arrow being released to you hearing it hit the target. Then it was the wooden arrow turn, being a gentleman I let my good lady go first. This resulted in me seeing Sharons’ first arrow sail through the air and hit it in the leg. So I was the last to go and everyone in group had hit Kong with their first arrow, add we now had two groups in audience waiting to shoot Kong after us, no pressure.
Well nothing ventured. nothing gained as they saw, so I went for it and let lose watching the arrow fly. After what seemed like ages in flight I saw my arrow appear in Kongs chest. For the first time since going to Wolverine I’d hit it and not only that but it was a good solid hit. Walking up to collect the arrows Martyn stated he’d set his sights at 75 yards. That is actually closer than other times it has been out at Wolverines grounds.
Sharon shot well winning ladies afb with a score that would have got her second in the gents class. Congrats to Martyn and Sarah who both won their respective classes too. Despite my terribly poor start I ended the day with 630 enough to get me a first in gents afb.
I must give top marks to the guys at Wolverine who made sure everyone got off the parking field at the end of the day. Not an easy task considering the condition parts of the field were in. I know how hard they worked as we were the last non Wolverines members to leave. Nice work guys.
I think it might be a while before our boots manage to shed the mud though, but I did manage to get round without falling, though my knee is twinging a little after all the walking or should I say sliding.
Thanks for reading.