Sunday, April 03, 2005

Charleville 05: Namoi Valley Archers Too Strong

Namoi Valley Archers team members have returned from the 2005 Australian Field Archery Championships with a record medal haul of seven gold medals across the two championship events contested in the outback Queensland town of Charleville over the Easter weekend. Over 375 archers and their families descended on the area for the weekend with competitors enjoying fine weather over the four days of the championships with the Charleville club receiving high praise for their efforts in staging the tournament although most competitors are still trying to shake the legendary red bulldust from their gear.

The Australian ABA Championships attracted a field of 375 archers for the four round tournament with competitors shooting twenty paper targets per round featuring hand drawn feral animals such as goats pigs, deer and buffalo at unmarked distances. Steve Jaeger confirmed his rating as the best Freestyle Limited shooter in the land with his third consecutive win in this event turning in four consistent rounds to leave the opposition floundering in his wake with another outstanding performance. Ben Ireland finished fifth in the 2004 championships and has been working incredibly hard since then with everything coming together just at the right time as he won his first Australian championship in the ultra competitive Freestyle Unlimted division with the top competitors shooting scores in excess of 390 points out of 400 in each round making the margin for error extremely slim. Ireland finished the tournament with the highest overall score of any competitor at the event and brings the prestigious title of Overall Sighted Champion to the local club for the first time. Sam Bates confirmed his potential winning his first Australian title in the Junior Freestyle Unlimited event with a top class performance. The unflappable Bates handled the pressure of being favourite for the event shutting out his opposition with high quality archery from the very first target with his hard work at the practice butts prior to this event proving the difference. The club’s youngest competitor at the championships Jackelyn Patrick showed she has a big future in the sport with a gold medal in Cub Girls Recurve D grade turning in a courageous performance over the four rounds. Stuart Dolbel finished with the silver medal in Bowhunter Limited with son Josh Dolbel also winning silver in Junior Bowhuntter Unlimited in a great family double. Michael Patrick added to the medal haul with the silver medal in the Recurve D grade to round out a great tournament. The teams event is always a very hard fought affair with the Northern NSW Branch winning the bragging rights for the next twelve months for the first time in many years with local club members Steve Jaeger, Ben Ireland, Stuart Dolbel and Bryen Bates all part of the winning team. In the junior teams event the Northern NSW Branch finished second with Sam Bates, Cade Rowland and Josh Dolbel part of this team.

The Australian 3D Championships were also conducted over the weekend with over 250 competitors shooting four rounds of twenty targets, featuring lifesize animals made of a special high density foam set at unmarked distances. Steve Jaeger showed his all round ability winning the Freestyle Limited title in this event at his first attempt outclassing his opposition with another outstanding performance. Sam Bates also scored double gold adding the Junior Freestyle Unlimited championship to his win in the ABA event confirming him as the best junior sighted shooter at the championships. Josh Dolbel scored his first Australian gold medal with a gritty performance in Junior Bowhunter Unlimited in a fantastic result for this quietly spoken young archer. Ben Ireland finished with the silver medal in Freestyle Unlimited after a titanic battle with 3D specialist Simon Gallen and Stuart Dolbel added a second silver medal with a fighting performance in Bowhunter Limited.

National coach, Gary Nichols described the achievements of Namoi Valley Archers at these championships as simply outstanding with the club now having the Australian senior and junior Freestyle Unlimited champions as well as the senior Freestyle Limited champion. Nichols also pointed out that that Namoi Valley Archers provided the backbone of both the winning senior team and the junior team which finished runner-up in the team event.

As well as the archery events competitions are also held in Axe throwing and Knife throwing. Steve Jaeger showed he had the Midas touch over the weekend winning the Australian Knife throwing event in front of an enthusiastic and noisy crowd using a knife he designed and built himself. A great finish to a memorable four days of competion for this popular club member.

Welcome to Charleville.

Everyone is keen so it's of to the practise butts.

Like everyone else

The 3D range was tyering, and then you got to it, 1.6km through the bulldust to the first target.

With the first round of the 3D out of the way it was time for sleep and then the start of the ABA, a 3arrow and 1arrow round followed by a one arrow 3D round to pull the day up, rise and shine everyone.

The ABA ranges were very testing with the flat country and tunnel like shots through the Mulga very deceptive, plenty of maximums in all groups too.

Bryan Bates, although not in the medals for a change, was one of the happier archers at the lunch break, coming in with a 398 out of 400 for the round, not bad for a guy shooting an entry level bow hahahaha.....who was the wanker who said that.

When the dust settled the story above says it all, here are the happy archers.
Ben Ireland

Sam Bates

Mick Patrick

He's smiling.....really.
Steve Jaeger

Josh Dolbel

Stuart Dolbel

See you next year at Orange, no dust just doona's for 2006.