Mark : First Competition! Norwich Stafford

It’s a wintery afternoon on 13th January 2013 and I’m wandering around a near deserted college campus somewhere on the outskirts of Norwich. The sports hall, the venue for the Norfolk Bowmen UKRS (UK Record Status) Stafford, is proving to be difficult to find. I feel okay about this because as soon as I do find it I’m in unknown territory – the elusive world of the archery tournament.

My quest to find the sports hall left me plenty of time to ponder the bigger questions in life: How will I know what to do? What if I don’t know the etiquette? Why does Rule 307 make me feel like I’m back a school? What on earth is a Lady Paramount?

Ah, found the entrance! Deep breath. Here’s what I found out….
  • It’s similar to shooting at the club. There are loads of people with bows, a few familiar faces (some of the staff from Clickers in Norwich) and a lot of less familiar faces. But we’re all here to do the same thing.
  • It’s really well organised and the judges are here to help. I arrived at the end of the first session, found a judge and blurted out, “This is my first tournament, what do I do?”. 
“Don’t panic!”, came the wisened reply, “Set up your bow and we’ll explain everything”. Which they did, immediately prior to our two ends of sighters.
  • Although the signalling system is different to the one used at 2020, it only takes a couple of ends to get used to it. In short: 

    • *bleep bleep* first detail to the shooting line 
*bleep* first detail shoot

    • *bleep bleep* second detail to the shooting line
*bleep* second detail shoot

    • *bleep bleep bleep* safe to score and collect your arrows

    • The process then repeats, but if you were on the first detail for the first end you swap to second detail for the second end and so forth. That way, everyone gets to shoot at a blank target face an equal number of times.

If there are four people on a target (A,B,C,D), archer C tends to write the scores, but this can be negotiated. You call your arrows in turn, highest value to lowest, pointing at each one as you call it (but don’t touch any of the arrows or the target face until scoring has finished!). If you aren’t the scorer you should pull your fair share of arrows once the scores have been taken, not just your own arrows.

And so it goes until the end of the round.

I was lucky enough to be on a target with three friendly and more experienced archers so I took the opportunity to ask lots of the questions. In my next post I’ll let you know what I found out about etiquette and preparation.

p.s. the Lady Paramount (or Lord Paramount) appears to be the chief judge. This wasn’t overly clear. I think they should have to wear a special hat or something.