Target Archery Championship, 2009
The 56th. Kent Target Championship and Open Tournament took place on Sunday at Vigo RFC in near perfect weather. Although numbers were a little down on last year, they were still well above the average for the last 15 years; even so, a number of archers missed out on the event, because their entries were not received in time.
The day started out overcast and got progressively sunnier and warmer, but never to the point of being uncomfortable. Fortunately the wind was lighter than forecasts suggested, but the breeze from behind was enough to keep everyone on their toes - regularly changing from right-to-left to left-to-right and back again.
Our tournament organiser, Peter Sansom, decided to turn tradition on its head by starting the proceedings with a presentation; for as long as many of us can remember, John Poyner has been travelling from his home in the West Country to officiate at tournaments in Kent, but Sunday's county championship was expected to be the last time we will see him this far east. Mike Brighton, KAA President, presented a specially commissioned stained-glass plaque to him as a thank you gift for all the work that he has done in the county over so many years. The plaque was made by one of the conservators at Canterbury Cathedral.
The inscription reads: "Presented to John Poyner - on 16 August 2009 by the Kent Archery Association - with many thanks for all the work you have done in the county."
Kay Outram of Bowmen of Darenteford consolidated her position at number one in the county by again winning the ladies' compound class - and this year young Ellie Outram also got in on the act with a very poised 1200 in the under 9 category. The gents' compound class seemed jinxed after last year's champion had to pull out because of a broken cable less than 24 hours before the event; this left Chris Horan (Castle Moat and Folkestone Bowmen) to win against his club-mate Mark Gowing to win the title for the first time. Philip Gower (Canterbury) shot a very solid 1240 to win the under 18 category.
In the recurve class, Jacqui Gould of Crown Archers recorded her 6th straight championship win since becoming a senior and Matt Sharpe (Ashford Archers) took the gents' crown for the first time. The juniors were rather depleted because of the SCAS Junior Inter-Counties team Tournament, which again fell on the same day. Shannon Girdler and Leah Smith took the ladies under 18 and under 16 respectively, while Adam Outram made it a real family occasion by winning the gents under 16.
Among our visitors Pat Spragg was again up there only just off the winning pace in the ladies compound class with 1203 and Clifford Tricker was even closer to the pace in the gent's compound, only 12 behind Chris Horan. However it was a different story in the recurve, with Sandra Warnes winning very comfortably in the ladies division, and Derek Lawless leading the visitors in all of the top four places in the gents' recurve.
On a sadder note, the county wanted to honour Geoff Allen, who passed away recently after a long illness. Instead of the customary period of silence which he probably would not have greatly appreciated, after the last tournament arrow had been shot and scores recorded, every archer was invited to the line to shoot three volleys in his memory. 100 archers wered in each volley.