Updated: Feb 23, 2020
What a weekend!!
On Saturday, SWWU hosted their first ever indoor championship, followed by a ball in the evening. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with the fixture looking set to stay in the calendar for many years to come!
The competition's format was a Bray 1 seeding round, with over 100 archers competing. Scores from the seeding round also contributed as a leg of SWWU's experienced, novice and compound leagues. This was then followed by head-to-head matches, with novices bundled in with experienced archers for a thrilling afternoon of archery.
Plymouth once again proved their dominance, sealing 1st place in both the experienced (1034) and novice (466) team categories. Exeter were hot on their heels though, only 20 points adrift in the experienced team scores (1014) and 25 in the novice team scores (441). Swansea took 3rd place in both categories with an experienced team score of 967 and a novice team score of 421. This weekend also saw change in the compound league table, with Swansea putting in a dominant performance to score 553, narrowly nudging Cardiff into 2nd place (549) and Exeter into 3rd (529).
The individual seeding results were just as close, with Plymouth's Alex Rowe, fresh from his awesome performance at the National Indoor Championships, leading the male recurve category with a score of 275. He was closely followed by Exeter's Will Ingamells (271) and Bristol's Will Black (267). The top seven archers in this category were separated by only 13 points - BUTTS had better watch their back...
The female recurve category also saw some top scores being shot, with Cardiff's Joanne Humphreys seeding 1st (258), Bath's Johanna Meyer seeding 2nd, just a point behind (257) and Exeter's Surabhi Desai seeding 3rd (250).
In the male compound category, Cardiff's Jack Pickford seeded 1st (283) ahead of Bath's Olly Hyland (278) and Swansea's Matt Walker (277), while the female compound category was topped by Swansea's Grace Barrett-Rees (276), followed by Exeter's Catherine Hughes (271) and Cardiff's Becca Eckles (266).
Plymouth lead the way in the barebow category, with top seeds being taken by Lonja Selter (250) and Eloise Hepburn (224). Plymouth's Emma King seeded 1st in the female longbow category, reaching triple figures with a score of 101, while Exeter's Joe Barham managed to successfully reach the venue without crashing this weekend, scoring 84 to seed top in the male longbow class.
The head-to-head matches saw a number of shocks throughout the afternoon, including Swansea's Matt Butler (7th seed) knocking out Bristol's Will Black (2nd seed) in the first round of the male recurve matches. Matt then went on to claim silver, losing 6-4 to 4th seed, Plymouth's Joe Tripp in the final. It remains to be seen whether Joe deliberately threw his arrow off the face in the final end, but it didn't matter too much as Matt quickly copied him...
1st and 2nd seed met in the female recurve final, with Bath's Johanna Meyer beating Cardiff's Joanne Humphreys to gold in straight sets.
In the male compound category, Swansea's Matt Walker let bronze slip through his fingers, with Exeter's Charlie Lever pulling off a surprising comeback to win 135-131, while Cardiff's Jack Pickford narrowly edged out Bath's Olly Hyland 140-139 to claim gold.
The female compound final was also extremely close, with Exeter's Catherine Hughes beating Swansea's Grace-Barrett Rees by just 3 points, winning 139-136.
In the barebow class, Plymouth's Lonja Selter overcame Swansea's James Hayday 6-0 to take gold in the male category, with Bath's Andrew Kukielka picking up bronze. In the female category, Plymouth's Eloise Hepburn overcame Bath's Jasmine Turner 6-4 to take gold, whilst an all-Bristol bronze medal match saw Lauren Manton outscore Sophie Brain 6-2 to finish the podium.
And last but not least, Bath's Kieran Pargeter beat Exeter's Joe Barham 6-0 to take male longbow gold, with Swansea's Keely Pringle beating top seed, Plymouth's Emma King 6-2 to take gold in the female longbow final.
And as if that wasn't enough for the day, archers gather at The Stable, Exeter, for an evening of black-tie camaraderie. Both competitors and spectators alike came together in what turned out to be an thoroughly enjoyable evening. The winners of the SWWU annual awards are as follows:
Most Stylish Bow - Nicole Almond (Swansea)
Worst Kit Maintenance - Will Beaumont (Cardiff)
Most likely to blow a 5-point lead in a head-to-head (despite it being physically impossible...) - Elliot Shaw (Cardiff)
Biggest liability on the range - Matt Butler (Swansea)
Biggest Joker - Wyn Firth (Exeter) and James Hayday (Swansea)
Biggest Lightweight - Connor Williams (Exeter)
Most talented experienced archer - Alex Newnes (Aberystwyth)
Most talented novice archer - Harriet Wood (Exeter)
Coach of the year - Sophie Brain (Bristol)
Committee member of the year - Matt Walker (Swansea)
SWWU person of the year - Tom Braxton (ex-Cardiff / Leeds)
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that helped to make the day so memorable. A special thanks must go to Jess Billington, Ed Burbridge, Catherine Hughes and the rest of Exeter's committee for ensuring that the competition ran smoothly, as well as the team at The Stable for being our great hosts for the evening.
The next competition that will feed into the SWWU league scores will be the BUCS regional qualifiers, taking place in February.
And in the meantime, you can find:
Updated league tables here
Updated record tables here
Full results here
Photos: Connor Williams, Catherine Hughes, Emma King