Forty members of Ballyvally Archery Club journeyed to shoot in the English Open Field Archery championships in Kendal, Cumbria last week.
The two day shoot proved a great preparation for the All British Open which Ballyvally will host in June at Greenmount College.
The course was steep, very similar to Ballyvally’s steep course in Castlewellan Forest Park and provided lots of challenges.
“Field“ archery is very similar to the present golf at Augusta in that small groups of athletes go round a 24 target course shooting one target after another, each one different and each one presenting a different challenge in terms of slopes, angles and distances.
Day one was wet which made the slopes slippy but day two was fine with lots of sunshine.
There was a full course of over 100 archers with two waiting groups, so there was lots of competition.
Members of Ballyvally’s junior squad shot well over the two days. The girls who did well were Eleanor Walsh (1st under 12 girls barebow), Sinead Byrne (1st under 12 girls compound barebow), Hollie Gallacher-Teggart (1st under 15 girls barebow), Andrea Murray–Lopez (1st under 18 girls frestyle), Caoimhe Heaney (2nd girls barebow under 18).
In the junior boys sections, the club had equal success as follows: Bailey Kelly (1st under 12 boys barebow), Matthew Beattie (1st under 15 boys barebow), Tom Mehaffey (1st boys under 18 boys barebow), Stuart McCullough (1st boys under 15 compound barebow, just 3 points clear of Marc Matthews in 2nd place), Luke Gilmour (1st boys under 15 freestyle).
Senior club members did equally well.
In the mens barebow Robert Mallon and Craig McCreery took first and second place in the English Open.
Ashley Russell-Cowan win the ladies compound barebow and Mark Nesbitt beat all the men to finish 1st in the gents freestyle class.
Dean Hamilton finished a very credible 3rd in the gents compound unlimited, a class he has just entered as he is now a senior archer.
Angela Cowan finished 4th and was very happy with her personal best on day 2; Romaine Mehaffey and Patricia McLean were 6th and 7th in the same ladies barebow class.
Ruth Gilmour was 2nd in the ladies American Flat bow class, a style she has only been shooting for a few months.
Ballyvally members are now looking forward to the British Open and the club hopes to be able to put 60 archers in the field for this prestigious event.
It also shows the regard with which the local club is held by Archery GB in that this will be the fifth time they will have hosted this event.
Ballyvally club is increasingly growing especially in the number of families taking up this ancient sport, with almost 400 members, the club has members of all ages with the youngest archer being 3 years old and the oldest 91.
Details of beginners sessions in Banbridge Leisure Centre can be obtained by contacting club chairman Frank Mulligan on 028 406 23748.