Success at the National County Team Championships

Chris Horan [Castle Moat & Folkestone Bowmen].
The Kent team for the National County Team Championships. Adam Kells.

The weekend of 29 & 30 June saw the inaugural National County Team Championships held at Lilleshall National Sports and Conferencing Centre, Shropshire.

The Kent Archery Association supported the entry of two teams for this event, with each team consisting of 3 competitors. The Senior Men's Recurve Team consisted of Marc Martin (captain), Graeme Souch and Adam Kells, while the Senior Men's Compound Team featured Chris Horan (captain), Steven Batey and Mike Kells.

Both teams contained a high calibre of archers, featuring the current Indoor County Champions - Adam Kells (recurve) and Mike Kells (compound), and the current Outdoor County Champions - Graeme Souch (recurve) and Chris Horan (compound).

The Championships consisted of three events over two days of competition:

  • Day one consisted of a 72 arrow ranking round, followed by a team head-to-head elimination match play event. For the recurve teams this would be completed on a 122cm target at a distance of 70m. The compound teams competed at a distance of 50m on a target that was 80cm in diameter.
  • Day two would consist of a 144 arrow FITA round.

Points were awarded for each event based upon the teams' final positions, with one point being awarded for a first place, two points for second, continuing down the entire list of teams. The number of points accumulated by each team was totalled at the end of the tournament, the team with the overall lowest total winning the Championships.

Day 1

View of the targets and score boards at the end of Kent's Compound Team Bronze medal match against Berkshire. Chris Horan.
View of Kent's Compound Team during the team matches. Amyce Aurora-Smith.

Both teams qualified in strong positions in the ranking round, with the compound team placing 5th out of 18 teams and the recurve team securing 3rd place out of 20 teams.

The head to head elimination rounds followed an identical format to the event held at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Each team was required to shoot ends of six arrows in 120 seconds with each team member shooting just two arrows and only one team member being allowed on the shooting line at a time. Each match would consist of four ends, 24 arrows in total, with the highest cumulative total score winning the match.

This therefore created a high pressure environment where successful performances required strong technique, good teamwork and important time management with an average of only 20 seconds allocated for each arrow to be shot.

Kent's recurve team excelled at this event, winning matches against Devon & Cornwall, Middlesex and Norfolk, before reaching the final against Lancashire. A strong performance in the final saw them narrowly lose the match to Lancashire, who featured two-time Olympic medalist and Team GB archer Simon Terry, 197 points to 207 points.

The compound team also performed well, winning matches against Oxfordshire and Durham & Northumberland, before losing the semi final match to Warwickshire in testing weather conditions. However, the Kent compound team recovered quickly from this defeat, to deliver a strong performance in the bronze medal match, comfortably defeating Berkshire, 226 points to 219 points, to secure 3rd place in this event.

Day 2

On day two, during the 144 arrow FITA competition, both teams again performed well.

In warm, but difficult windy weather conditions, Kent's Recurve team finished in 9th place, while the compound team finished the event in 5th place. Individual placings of note were Mike Kells finishing the day 2nd in the compound and Graeme Souch 7th in the recurve division.

When the final Championship results were revealed, Kent's recurve team placing of 3rd, 2nd and 9th over the three events were enough to earn them 4th place overall.

The compound team, with positions of 5th, 3rd and 5th over the two days of competition, were also successful in securing 4th place.

This was a huge success the Kent teams, with both only narrowly missing out on podium places at these Championships.

Full results are available for download as a PDF document.