An Archer eats shoots and leaves some standing
Three stout-hearted French bowmen – Bruno Busato, Emeric Sebille and Quentin Wagner endured the long coach journey from Villiers sur Marne to Bishops Stortford – where they were joined (courtesy of Ryanair) by archers Markus Ruth and Stefan Kolodziejski from Florstadt near Friedberg in Germany.
The invitation was to shoot 108 arrows at targets 60, 50, then 40 yards away. Yes, yards! The Stortford team needed all the advantages it could get, and playing by English rather than international rules was the way they tried to leverage the home advantage. The field party, led by John Tait had laid out the targets, and by numbering them in English managed to fool one of the French archers into shooting at the wrong one. Twice. All to no avail, as it turned out, as the Visitors beat the Home team – albeit only by a modest margin.
But the British know how to concede defeat gracefully, and a most enjoyable session at the Chequers pub, with buffet, drinks and prize-giving cemented the friendships that had formed during the day and salved some of the dented pride. Stortford Archers chairman Phil Lambert was presented with a memorial plate by the team from France, and all retired to sleep off their exertions.
On Sunday Stortford Archers hatched another cunning plan. Longbow specialist Mike Denmark and his team set out animal targets (some 3D models and some 2D pictures). To most of the visitors this was a new experience – especially since Mike had made sure that all shots had to be taken from the undergrowth. Phil clearly explained that there were no prizes, and the shoot was “just for fun” – but that didn’t stop a rather high incidence of foreign names appearing among the top scorers.
So the Brits, led by Jenni Tait and Gill Grist, played the English trump card – afternoon tea, taken in bright sunshine on the shooting field. Little did the visitors know that this was a further step in the cunning plan to dull their competitive edge, and the German contingent presented Phil with a commemorative plaque.
In a cunning “divide and conquer” move, Jeremy Dixon, one of our host archers, persuaded his guest to make another pub visit, and miss the last exercise – ten pin bowling. So with the odds somewhat more even, Peter and Sue Johnson were sure that they would be able to impart some skills to their guests – and knocked down MOST of the pins they aimed at. To make doubly sure that the wrong team didn’t win, no record was made of the results (though I couldn’t help noticing that it was a Frenchman who had the highest score of the evening).
Many thanks to the Dixons, Johnsons and Lamberts for hosting, and to all who helped with the organisation, and by being there. It was a memorable weekend.