Lucy Mason, Neil Bridgewater, Nicola Turner and Patrick Huston are the 2016 Nottingham Building Society National Series Champions.
Crowds gathered at Wollaton Hall in the heart of Nottingham yesterday to see 32 of the top archers in Britain go head to head. And it was a day packed with drama, right from the start.
The morning belonged to compound archers and our women were up first. Top seed Hope Greenwood beat Michelle Sword 131-128 to book a semi final date with Belgium’s Sarah Prieel. She secured her place with a 143-136 win over Isabelle Carpenter.
Second seed Lucy beat last year’s silver medallist Andrea Gales by four points then went up against Susan Corless, who had seen off a Pauline Burfitt’s challenge.
Hope’s semi final with Sarah was to set the tone for the rest of the day. It was nip and tuck all the way with the Belgian eventually sealing victory with a single point. Lucy beat Susan 139-128 to set up a gold medal showdown.
And it more than lived up to its billing. Both archers ended on 136, forcing a shoot-off. Sarah shot a nine but 16-year old Lucy’s arrow hit the X, handing her the title. Hope went on to take the bronze.
Lucy later said: “It feels so good because I have worked so hard recently and I am really happy it has all paid off.”
Shoot-offs were also a feature of the men’s competition. Top seed Adam Ravenscroft beat Duncan Busby and James Mason to book his place in the gold medal final. There he met defending champion Neil Bridgewater, who had defeated Chris White and Simon Froggatt.
Their semi final ended at 144-all, forcing the first shoot-off of the men’s competition. Both hit the X-zone – but Neil’s arrow was a few millimeters closer to dead centre, giving him victory.
The bronze medal was also decided by a shoot-off. Simon and James, who had seen off quarter final challenges from Carl Richards and Matthew Arnold respectively, ended their match at 140-140. This time James edged it with a 10.
The final was also incredibly close but Neil pulled ahead to secure his second title with a 144-141 win.
He said: “I’m absolutely amazed. I didn’t think I was that good. I really enjoyed it, again, and I hope to come back next year to defend my title.”
Recurvers took centre stage in the afternoon. Top seed Amy Oliver fell to Nicola Turner 6-0 in the quarter final and Sarah Bettles defeated Sally Gilder 6-2. Defending champion Naomi Folkard was pushed hard by Emily Bryant but eventually secured a 7-3 win, while second seed Bryony Pitman beat Alyssia Tromans-Ansell 6-2.
Bryony then went on to defeat Olympian Naomi 6-0 to reach her second National Series final where she would go head to head with Nicola Turner, who had beaten Sarah 7-3 in her semi.
And it was a classic. The advantage swung back and forth but Nicola finally managed to edge it 6-4, giving Bryony her second silver medal.
Nicola said: “Oh my gosh. Oh my God, if you had told me I would be National Series champion at the beginning of the day I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s an incredible atmosphere and the crowd is really close. I was incredibly nervous but I just tried to keep it as strong as I possibly could.
“I am so happy. I have wanted to come to the finals for so long and to be here is amazing but to win it is just out of this world.”
How do you top that? Well the recurve men were determined to put on a great show – and they did. Top seed Tom Hall beat rising star Louis Perkins 6-0 before losing out to Michael Judd, who had earlier beaten Italy’s Alberto Zagami, in the semis.
Ashe Morgan tied with Alex Smith and won the shoot-off to book a semi final date with defending champion Patrick Huston, fresh from a 6-4 win over Kieran Slater.
Patrick was determined to reach his second final and booked his place by beating Ashe 6-2. But Ashe was not prepared to leave Nottingham empty-handed, defeating Tom 6-0 to take the bronze medal.
That left Patrick facing Michael for the title. And Patrick hit form to take his second title 7-3.
He later said: “It was really nice to become double National Series champion with three 10s to finish off.”
Archery GB is sponsored by Foresters Friendly Society www.forestersfriendlysociety.co.uk
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