Namoi Valley Archers hosted a highly successful Northern NSW Branch ABA Invitation tournament over the weekend with archers from Newcastle, Maitland, the Central Coast, Taree, Gloucester, and all over the North-West and New England competing. The two day tournament was held under clear blue skies with Branch officials and competitors enthusiastic in their praise of the club facilities and ranges. Range captain Stuart Dolbel delivered two high quality ranges for the weekend which offered a real challenge to all archers competing.
The tournament was conducted over three rounds with the Saturday program featuring a three arrow round in the morning and the high pressure one arrow round in the afternoon. The event concluded on Sunday with a two arrow round. Each round featured twenty hand-drawn animal targets set at unknown distances ranging from 7 metres to 48 metres in natural bush settings.
The battle for the Mens Freestyle Unlimited crown was an absolute nail-biter with the top three competitors separated by just 6 points. Ben Ireland won the event after turning a 6 point overnight deficit into a narrow 4 point winning margin compiling a brilliant round on Sunday morning to edge past overnight leader, Steve Jaeger. Jaeger held on to second place by just 2 points from Newcastle archer, Adam Tilbrook in one of the closest contests seen at the club in many years. Namoi Valley Archer’s reputation as the best in the Branch was underlined as the club swept to victory in all the sighted divisions with Jodi Dolbel (Womens Freestyle Unlimited), Stuart Dolbel (Mens Bowhunter Unlimited), Greg Donovan (Mens Bowhunter Limited), Cassie Ireland (Womens Bowhunter Unlimited), Diana Finlay (Womens Bowhunter Limited) and Ken Thompson (Recurve Freestyle Limited) all won their respective divisions.
The local club also showed the way in the barebow divisions with Wade Hudson having a massive weekend scoring a stunning win in Mens Masters Compound. At just 17 years of age Hudson received the news before the start of competition that he had been promoted to the elite Masters division following his outstanding form at the 2007 Australian Titles where he won both the ABA and 3D A grade crowns. The weekend just got bigger for Hudson with the Branch officials confirming he will be awarded Grand Master Bowmen status after he shot over 700 points on the first day of his last three consecutive tournaments. The title of Grand Master is extremely difficult to achieve but the talented Hudson has achieved it in just his first year as a senior archer. Phillip Porter added to the local charge winning Mens Compound A grade, Darrell Hudson won a very keenly contested Mens Recurve battle with arch rival Bruce Sherwood from Tamworth and Karen Hudson won Womens Compound C grade with an impressive performance.
The club’s talented group of junior archers were also prominent with Matthew Jauja winning a tense Cub Freestyle contest with teammate Sebastian Donovan while Josh Dolbel was too good for the members of the Hunter Academy of Sport in Junior Freestyle Unlimited. Amy Stubbs won the Junior Girls C grade Compound event and Mitchell Finlay was extremely impressive as he stormed to victory in Cub Compound A grade in his very first tournament.