by Meryl Hanmer
Sunday 22nd April saw the first day of multiple competitions for this year’s Varsity competition. Archery was first to take place in the morning, followed by rifle in the afternoon.
The first event of the day was the hugely supported archery competition which boasts two huge successes. Not only did they win overall securing our third point towards the Varsity shield but it was also the clubs first ever win against Cardiff at Varsity.
The final score was 9-2 to Swansea, at an indoor venue over a distance of 18 metres. There were 10 different matches, split up depending on bow type and a male/female split and one final mixed match. Despite some intense matches, particularly the men’s compound, it was a smooth victory for Swansea as they confidently won the first six matches.
This win has been largely attributed to the Varsity focused preparation of recent weeks, club investment in new bows, bosses (targets) and also support from outside coaches. Typically, all training is done in-house where the more experienced members assist in training the newer members. This year however, more focus has been on getting outside coaches to help boost results. “There is a real sense of togetherness in the archery community and top level coaches were eager to support and help train our club”. This club were proud to welcome Alex Newnes to a training session; Alex is one of the best archers in the country and travelled down from Aberystwyth to train the club.
This year’s archery competition received huge support from Swansea students thanks to the many hours of hard work from the club media officer. Around fifty Swansea supporters turned up to the event to show their support while Cardiff only had their archers and no extra support, “even last year when the competition was in Cardiff, we still had more supporters than they did”. Additionally, the club live streamed the event via their club account and through persistent sharing of the stream, they registered more than 7,000 views.
Club captain Matt Butler was not competing on the day but instead overseeing the event and says that he could not have asked for more from the competition, “it was a hugely successful day, the live stream went awesomely and the support was great so hopefully next year will run just as smoothly and we can reiterate our win again”. Overall club captain nominated Gavin Tsang as his ‘star player’ for this year’s competition saying, “he was up against tough competition but gave a stand-out performance and was one of our best archers on the day”. Finally as his most improved Varsity player Matt nominated James Hayday who “over the course of this year has constantly been breaking his own PB’s and even performed well at BUCS despite not having been shooting for as long as others.
Next up for Sundays events was rifle which took place at Swansea rifle club. The rifle competition was held indoors where the members shot over a distance of 25metres. After a novice match and a senior match, the final score of the day was 1125 – 1156 out of a possible 1200, the win went to Cardiff.
The novice match saw two players from each Swansea and Cardiff compete against each other in a test match. Although the scores are not contributing to the overall Varsity score, the competition is still well respected it gives experience to the novice members and prepares them for future progression. Swansea worked hard to boast a win in this match. Next was the senior match which saw six members from each side compete against each other for the overall Varsity title. Each person shoots two cards and the top score is 100. Cardiff claimed a victory in this match, although closely chased by Swansea who allowed them little room for error.
Despite an unfortunate loss for Swansea, the club are still pleased with their admirable scores from the day, especially when up against some tough competition. Cardiff’s rifle club has several team GB and international level members who all performed at this year’s Varsity. Dean Bale who competes for Cardiff has just returned from competing in the Commonwealth Games in Australis where he won a bronze medal. When one considers the calibre of the Cardiff competitors, the Swansea performed remarkably to an average of only 2 points behind per card.
Club captain, Glen Dighton was overall pleased with his teams performances, despite an unfortunate loss, “ I am obviously gutted at the result but given the strength of Cardiff’s team we were prepared for this result. Personally, I am very impressed with how everyone performed, they all did well and on average we weren’t really that far behind”. After losing half their team last year, following members graduation from university, they have been forced to rebuild the club from the bottom up and hope to see more progress in results over the next couple of years as members gain experience. Overall the club captains ‘star player’ for Varsity this year was Eric Yuen, “every time he comes to training he puts in so much effort, he has invested a lot of time into the club throughout the year and is great at channelling his energy into helping our novice members”. Finally Glen nominated Lucy Farrelly as his most improved Varsity player for this year, saying “ at the start of the year she had little experience of shooting, she was scoring in the low 60’s but now is consistently scoring in the low 90’s which was an undoubtedly impressive improvement”.
Despite a mixed bag of results for Sundays events, both the archery and rifle captains consider the day a success and are now eagerly awaiting the results from the Varsity competitions to follow on Monday and Wednesday.