Sheila Hudson -
I took up archery at the end of 2009, becoming a member of White Rose Archers, a small club based in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. Initially I shot Recurve, but switched to Longbow in 2013 after struggling with the physical weight of my Recurve. I first attended Open Target Competitions in 2015 (the aim was selection for Yorkshire) and in so doing achieved my first Grand Master Bowman award, and my first UK Record - 70m distance. It was never my intention to “chase” records but at the age of 60, I had finally discovered something I was good at and a whole new world opened up. With retirement, and a very supportive husband, came the opportunity to travel around the country and make many new friends, shoot all the different rounds and to pit myself against the existing record holders, even if we weren’t on the shooting line together. I have set 90+ UK Records and currently hold 44. I have taken titles at local and regional events, and at the UK Masters, British Target, National Indoors and the inaugural Masters Age Championships and topped the rankings.
For the start of 2020, I had made a list of my targets for the outdoor season – try to regain my Double York record and set a new WA900, good scores for rankings, GMB and hopefully Gents GMB again, and some Masters Age records if I’d managed everything else. Obviously that all came to naught and so, even though the 2021 season was going to have reduced opportunities as many clubs were postponing or cancelling events, I was still going to see what I could achieve.
June saw my first event, as an amazing Dunster Week set the ball rolling. Hats off to Vikki for achieving what she did with all the restrictions, and how great it was to meet up with old friends again after so, so long. I shot seven different rounds that week. I had wondered how I would shoot in competition after such a long time off, and was well pleased to come first in five Target rounds and second in the 2-way Western and the Clout. I was 4 points off my National record, but improved my Albion (50+), Long National (70+) and Western (60+) - even scoring 10 points over the Gents record I was informed. I had set the benchmark high for myself.
In July came my season’s three GMB scores from two Herefords and a WA1440. Next was the WA900, hosted by Cleadon Archers. As they had made their annual event record status for me (thank you, Steve James), I was quite nervous that I wouldn’t deliver but 140 points on the record proved otherwise. Then NCAS GNAM gave me my first of two chances to regain my Double York but I was just 3 points short.
August was a busy month starting with the inaugural National Masters Age Competition where I took the title, and as some of the competitors had not shot for 20 or 30 years, it was nice to be able to help out from my experience of H2H procedures and scoresheets (luckily no electronic devices were involved!). Next up was the British Target Champs, where I retained my title. At GNAM, my last chance to regain the Double York was successful, and I also improved my New National record by 70+. Then onto York where my Double Ladies WA1440 improved my rankings score.
September - had my most enjoyable, relaxed UK Masters yet and took the title again (and another new 70m distance record). It was great shooting the original 3-element format again.
October saw my last event – a Hereford at our NCAS 5 Counties competition. I achieved my best Hereford score of the year but still way off my PB. And to finish off the day, just having shot my last arrow, a wasp stung me!!
So I have managed to tick off most of the boxes from my list, though I didn’t quite make Gents GMB, and as for the Masters’ rounds, well there’s always another time. I won all my (Ladies) Target rounds, finished the year top of the rankings and set seven new UK Records along the way – all down to the beautiful bows that Gary Evans has made for me and ace lockdown arrows courtesy of my husband. It has been a great summer, finally getting back to competing and enjoying the camaraderie of the archery family.
As for the Indoor season, many of our NCAS annual events are yet to be confirmed – whether through restrictions, hall availability or hefty hire costs. I only have three events booked at the moment – NCAS Indoor and National Indoor Championships, and a Vegas 300. By regaining the Double York, I thought I had all the UK Records. As the Indoor Records had not been updated for quite some time, I was unaware until the latest magazine arrived that the Vegas 300 had already been shot, just before lockdown 2020. So, got to have a crack at that!
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