So this is my first shot report of the new year and it sees us heading north to Leicestershire to try out a brand new club and ground. The “HaySmith and Spares” club was set up following the success of the course they laid at last year’s 3d championship course.
So on a cold frosty Sunday morning we headed up the motorway. I approached the shoot with some trepidation as it was to be the first time out for several years with my American flat bow (AFB). I’ve been trying to build up my strength to cope with shooting it for last couple of weeks but this would be the first real test.
The club’s grounds are quite a small deciduous woodland with a few streams running through, but generally a flat course and easy to navigate.
Being a new club there were a few 3d targets with the majority being paper faces. Having said this they did have some new 2d foam targets: a wolf and rabbit which I hadn’t seen previously. Maybe in hindsight reducing the numbers on the shoot to 4 a peg with a couple of empty pegs might have made the day flow more quickly but you live and learn. Having said that it was great to catch up with so many people many of whom we hadn’t seen since last year. It was also good to meet up with Jim Grizzly Kent from Merlin Archery Adventures and have a chat.
One thing the organisers did right at the beginning before the shoot started, which I though was a great idea, was have every archer check the arrows of the archer next to them. After which they announced that anyone found with unmarked arrows would be escorted off the course.
I think it is fair to say the club members put a lot of effort in to making access around the wood easy with numerous bridges across the brooks and secure steps cut into the banks.
We started on target 7 and were joined by Alan and Neil from Pines Park and Josh from Centaura.
One interesting thing they did was take some standard faces and change the scoring zone and to ensure all archers were aware of the new zones they provided copies at administration and catering. One of these was to be our first target which fortunately I managed to hit.
There were some lovely set shots including one of a 3D wolf across the small pond, thought the reflection looked great.
There were some lovely framed shots which unfortunately suffered due to the low sun and shadows making them not only hard to hit but also hard to see.
They had the space to put on a particularly long shot to a 2d hessian tiger which was over 50 yards and probably closer to 65.
In all there were good shots but I didn’t feel they knitted together as a course as well as they could.
Like many clubs HaySmith relied on outside catering and unfortunately they weren’t the fastest which resulted in delays as groups waited for food. In fairness the food was good and it was the first time the caterers had done such a large event.
Sadly these issues and delays resulted in a long and at times slow day and for this reason the organisers decided to reduce the number of targets that the archers were to shoot from 40 to 30.
It was a brave move by the organisers on the day and I think given the delays they were encountering it was probably a good idea. It meant people could get off the ground and set off home before it got dark.
I’m sure they will review and develop the course over time addressing any issues.
Sharon did well winning ladies Hunting Tackle and being only a few points behind the top gent archers. As for me I didn’t do well and need a lot of practise to get my head in the right place with the AFB. I did have one very lucky shot on a 3D standing bear that was a lot smaller than I expected.
I think the mark of a course and shoot is whether people would go back. Despite all the problems I know we will and I hope others do too. Yes there were problems on the day but they reacted to them and will know for the future. Not all clubs learn from their mistakes.
PS I still say the club colours are pink and not salmon Chris.