NEUAL, the North of England Universities Archery League, is an annual indoor competition between all the northern universities, offering all archers, of any ability the opportunity to compete within a competition setting, but in a much more relaxed environment. It is also a fantastic way to make new friends from local universities and experience the social side of archery (it isn’t uncommon to find us in the pub after the competition).
The “North” spans from us in Newcastle upon Tyne all the way down to Keele University in Newcastle under Lyme and is split into Western, Eastern and Northern with Newcastle University falling into the Northern category alongside Sunderland, Durham and Teesside.
The first match of the indoor season was held at home on 18 November, Newcastle hosted round 1 against Sunderland and Durham. Both the other universities have strong teams; however, we had the home advantage. Whilst the other teams have their nice warm sports halls to train in, we have a rather chilly shooting range, which over the training sessions we have acclimatised to, giving us the upper hand and knowledge of how to shoot whilst shivering.
We shoot a Portsmouth round which is 60 arrows, over 20 ends. After all individuals have shot and all the scoring has been added up the final scores are calculated, and individuals are ranked and then the top four scores for each team are added together to get the overall team score. In the individual scoring we had some fantastic scores: Team Captain Heather Flint came first and Won Ji Lee came second in the Ladies recurve category.
Riki Kusuyama came a close second in the Gents recurve category. Both Jowan Barnes and Lizzie Booth came first in the Gents and Ladies barebow category, respectively. Finally, in the Gents compound category, Andy Johnstone finished first, although this score is not added to the team score.
We had done it, we had our hat-trick, it was a very close competition, but that didn’t matter we had won
In the combined team score we had a total of 2023, which comprised the scores of Heather Flint, Riki Kusuyama, Won Ji Lee and Lizzie Booth, and we came first overall. This was a fantastic start to the indoor season. One match down, two to go.
The following weekend we were headed down to Teesside University for round 2, against Teesside and Durham Universities. Again, our individual archers did extremely well: Alexandros Nathanailidis came first in Gents recurve, Won Ji Lee and Adele Pope coming first and second respectively in the Ladies recurve and Lizzie Booth coming third in the Ladies barebow.
Our team score was made up of Alexandros Nathanailidis, Stylianos Hadjiforados, Riki Kusuyama and Won Ji Lee and totalled 2010 meaning we did it again, we managed another win. With one more match, which was to be held at Sunderland University, we had our eyes on the hat trick, but we would have to wait until February to get there.
With every possibility we could achieve another (and final) win, the pressure was on, and we turned up at Sunderland fighting and raring to go. Due to other commitments, our numbers were fewer than in the previous rounds but that was not going to deter us, we went there to win. Andy Johnstone, this time shooting recurve, came first in his category with Riki Kusuyama finishing a close fourth. In the Ladies recurve, Won Ji Lee came first and Emily Henderson took third. Jowan Barnes came first in the Gents barebow category. Our final team was made up of Andy Johnstone, Riki Kusuyama, Won Ji Lee and Jowan Barnes, we scored overall 1933. After a tantalising wait, the other team’s scores were announced, Sunderland – 1832. Teesside – 1930. We had done it, we had our hat-trick, it was a very close competition, but that didn’t matter we had won.
We could not have asked for a better start to the university archery calendar and with NEUAL Indoor champs and BUCS just around the corner we are ready to go fighting and keep up our winning streak.