On Ancient and Modern Scoring
Part 3 of 3
The weather wet, but little or no wind. The Medal awarded to myself, gaining all the points. The ladies on this occasion shot 72 arrows at 60 yards; and 36 arrows only at 50 yards.
Compare Miss Villers' score with those of the ladies gaining the first prize that preceded her. What a rapid stride in advance! This lady was the first to demonstrate what the bow could do in the hands of the fair sex, and so deservedly obtained for herself the reputation of the first lady Archer in the kingdom, a reputation since amply upheld under her married name of Mrs. Davison. The second gross score amongst the gentlemen was obtained by Mr. Heath, of the St. George's Club. The second prize, however, was awarded to Mr. Bramhall for gross hits, Mr. Heath's hits being only 168, with a score of 776. The Champion's Medal again awarded to myself, gaining nine points, Mr. Heath gaining one point, viz. the greatest score at 80 yards.
This match had a most exciting finale between the first and second gentlemen winners. When the last three arrows alone remained to be shot, Mr. Bramhall was two points in score a-head. It was then a simple question of nerve, and I conclude mine was best, as I scored fourteen to my worthy opponent's two. The Champion's Medal awarded to myself, gaining six points, Mr. Bramhall two points, and Mr. Wilson (of York), two points.
The Challenge Silver Bracer for the ladies was, this year, presented by the West Norfolk Bowmen. This prize is awarded on the same principle as the Champion's Medal—namely, for the greatest number of points. It was gained by Mrs. Horniblow, another star in the Archery hemisphere, this lady gaining six points, and Miss M. Peel two points.
The Champion's Medal awarded to myself, gaining all the points.
The Challenge Bracer awarded to Mrs. Davison (née Villers, and who did not shoot at the previous Meeting), this lady gaining seven points to Mrs. Horniblow's one.
The Champion's Medal to myself, gaining all the points.
Weather wet and windy. The Challenge Bracer was again awarded to Mrs. Davison, that lady gaining seven points; Miss Clay one point for score at 60 yards.
The Champion's Medal to myself, gaining nine points, the tenth (being bits at 60 yards) being a tie with Mr. Wilson.
This Meeting witnessed a larger gathering of Archers, both ladies and gentlemen, than any previous occasion, 72 of the former and 112 of the latter assembling at the targets. The weather was rather against the shooters, owing to the excessive heat and glare. The result was as follows:—
Mrs. Davison, through sudden indisposition, was unable to shoot the last six arrows, otherwise the contest for the ladies' supremacy would have been close indeed. The Challenge Silver Bracer was awarded to Mrs. Horniblow, gaining six points to Mrs. Davison's one point, the hits at 60 yards being a tie. The Champion's Medal came to myself, for the eighth time, gaining all the points but two, these latter falling to the lot of my old opponent, Mr. Bramhall, for score and hits at 100 yards.
This was again a very successful Meeting, and the scoring showed a great and general improvement upon former years. The score made by Miss H. Chetwynd is quite unparalleled in match shooting, and with few, if any, exceptions, in private practice. Mrs. Davison's shooting was also splendid; as was Mrs. Horniblow's—the latter lady, indeed, exceeding the former by eight hits, whilst she was only eight behind her in score. Nor must I omit to notice the shooting of Mrs. Blaker, who, though appearing at these Meetings for the first time, gained the honourable position of fourth, with the excellent total of 108 hits, 496 score. The advancement of the gentlemen kept pace with that of the ladies; for, whereas the average of the five best scores in former years had never exceeded 179 hits, 757 score, in this year it reached 191 hits, 861 score. In the year 1849, Mr. P. Moore accomplished 747, and, in 1851, Mr. Heath 776. But, with these exceptions, until the present year, Mr. Bramhall and myself alone reached 700. At this Meeting, however, as many as six competitors exceeded that number; Mr. Bramhall, for the first time during the last eight Meetings at which he had contended, failing to secure the second place—ill health and consequent want of practice having seriously diminished his chance of success. It is gratifying to me to be able to state that several of the leading Archers on this occasion attributed their high position in the prize list to their careful following out of the principles and directions laid down in this work. The Silver Bracer was awarded to Miss H. Chetwynd, and the Champion's Medal to myself, each having gained all the points.
There is an apparent falling off in the shooting of this Meeting, as compared with the previous one; but I think it is apparent only, as the roughness of the weather and the difficulty of the ground, as compared with that of Cheltenham, will amply account for the diminution in the average scoring. Mr. Edwards, however, exceeded his score of the previous year, topping 800—a feat never performed before at these gatherings, except by myself. Several new shots, also, both ladies and gentlemen, made a most promising debút, more especially, amongst the ladies, Mrs. St. George, who attained the second place; and, amongst the gentlemen, Mr. George, who came out third on the prize list. The Silver Bracer was awarded to Mrs. Horniblow, gaining four points out of the eight—Miss H. Chetwynd, Miss Turner, and Lady Edwardes, obtaining one each, the remaining point being a tie between the Lady Champion and Miss Chetwynd. The Champion's Medal to myself, for the tenth time, gaining all the points.
This concludes the record of the National Meetings up to the present time, and I cannot close this chapter without congratulating my brethren of the bow upon the very evident progress of Archery in public estimation, evidenced, not only by the constantly increasing attendance both of Archers and spectators at those Meetings, but also by the formation of new societies in every part of the kingdom, and the institution of large and influential gatherings, open to all, in localities hitherto unused to them. The Grand National Meeting was established in 1844, and for that and the five following years, the average attendance of lady shooters was six, of gentlemen, 74; whilst during the last six years, the ladies have averaged 56, and the gentlemen 91—a pretty evident proof of the increasing popularity of this most healthy and delightful exercise. In further corroboration of this, I need only refer to the Meetings established at Leamington, in 1854, by Mr. Merridew, and that at Aston Park in the present year, all of which have been attended with the highest success, and have afforded unbounded satisfaction to every Archer who has had the good fortune to be present at them; and long may they flourish to the promotion of good feeling and fellowship between all ranks of society!