Causeway Company of Archers on point at NI championships

THIS year's Northern Ireland Archery Society Championships were once again held at Banbridge Leisure Centre. Teams from up to 35 different clubs in the province arrived at the most prestigious shoot of the year to compete for the titles of Northern Ireland Champion Girls and Boys in their respective age groups.

The Causeway Company of Archers based in Ballymoney entered a team of 7 juniors ranging from age 10 up to age 17. Expectations were high with last years team bringing home no less than 5 Gold medals. However, this year, two of last year’s team have made the move into the senior ranks. With regular competitions held each week, at different Clubs from Portadown to Ballymoney, this is the most prestigious shoot which brings the Indoor season to a close.

The competition was again the traditional ‘Portsmouth’ shoot which means all Archers shoot 60 arrows, 3 at a time, at a distance of 20 yards.

Last year’s Under 10 Champion – Stewart-Lee Macfadyen was this year shooting at the full distance in the Under 12 category. (All under 10’s shoot at a revised 10 yard distance.)

Also participating in this years team were as follows:

Boys Under14 Freestyle – Che McKirgan, Boys Under16 Compound – Marc Macfadyen

Girls Under14 Freestyle – Shonni Macfadyen, Girls Under14 Freestyle – Leah Clarke

Girls Under16 Freestyle – Victoria McConville, Girls Under18 Freestyle – Fiona Huang

This year, Leah, Victoria and Fiona were making their debut appearances at the Nationals. Each one put in a fantastic effort with personal bests being recorded by each one.

Notably, Fiona was at one point giving the top girl seed in her category a real run for her money with only 30 points separating the two.

The Northern Ireland Squad member was to show her experience towards the end though winning comfortably. Fiona claimed a wonderful second place and Silver medal position! A great first shoot!

Leah Clarke and Victoria McConville also claimed Silver medal positions in their classes with both up against strong opposition. Che McKirgan was returning this year as a defending Champion but found the going tough in the latter stages, with his opponents recording fine scores.

Che managed the Bronze medal position after a tough shoot! Marc Macfadyen, the clubs only Compound Archer was up against the best in his class with the N.I Squad juniors in attendance and came home with a proud Silver place!

Performances of the day, definitely had to go to the two other young Macfadyen juniors. Stewart-lee came from behind with only 24 arrows left, to win by a comfortable 50 point margin.

This was stewart-lees first National shoot at 20 yards and a usually confident shooter was showing the nerves! 30 points down after 12 arrows left him with an uphill struggle. Trying to hold his nerves together, while controlling his technique and stamina was a battle even for ‘dad’ and Coach Chris Macfadyen. “It really did take stewart-lee a while to settle into his stride and forget about what was going on around him, i was more nervous for him at one point but he managed to hold his game together.” Stewart-lee is now the Northern Ireland Champion for 3 years in row at two age groups. He also holds two Northern Ireland Records at Under10 level and missed the Under12 record this year by 18 points. Last month, he took Gold in the Individual Boys category in the Northern Ireland Schools Archery Competition.

A great start to the new year!

Lastly, defending N.I Champion Shonni was returning this year to make it 2 years in a row. She did just that and did it with style by improving her score from last year by a whopping 199 points, leaving everyone well behind in her age class! This was not to go unrewarded, with the sponsors of the competition ‘Carbon Express’ who manufacture arrows, to present awards for the most improved archer! Shonni left with a huge smile and a Shield even bigger to add to her Gold medal.

The Club Coaches would like to express their thanks to those parents who also travelled to Banbridge to support the Team and for their cooperation and support with the nights of training leading up to a successful National Event. Also, well done to all the Juniors and may your success continue!

The Causeway Company of Archers are currently taking names for their next beginners course starting soon. Anyone interested, junior or senior, can ring Club Coach Marie on 07765141528 or Club Coach Chris on 07904065250. The Club is based along the Bann Road in Ballymoney at ‘The Range Archery Centre’. Archery is a great sport for the whole family with mums, dads and children all taking part together. All equipment is provided and upon joining the club on successful completion of a beginners course, this equipment is still freely available for use.

Also, starting soon, a new Disabled Archery Club based at ‘The Range’. There will be a beginners course for those with disabilities (Physical, Sensory, Visually impaired, Learning difficulties etc...) and their carers! This will be a free course for Adults or Children over 10 and their carers. Upon completion of the course those joining the Club with their carers will be entitled to free insurance. More details to be released soon! Contact Chris to register your interest on 07904065250.