The National Tour Finals has returned to Wollaton Hall in Nottingham for 2022, kicking off with the recurve men and recurve women's categories.
The morning session of day one of The National Tour Finals saw the top eight recurve men fight it out for the coveted title. Up first were the quarter final rounds, starting with the match between 1st ranked archer James Woodgate and 8th ranked Tom Hall.
Tom got off to a flying start, opening the match with a 29 to James’s 26, taking the first lot of set points. James then responded in end two with a 29 to Tom’s 28, bringing scores all square at two points apiece. Both men then tied the third end on 28s to keep the points equal at 3-3. In the fourth end, James shot 18 points to which Tom used to his advantage by shooting a 26 to take the lead 5-3. James came back to shoot a 28 in the final end to Tom’s 24, bringing the match to 5-5 and therefore creating the first shoot-off for the day. In the end, it was Tom who was able to hold his nerve, shooting an 8 to James’s 7, earning him a place in the semi-finals.
The second quarter finals match was between last year’s silver medalist Steve Davies and 4th ranked archer Conor Hall. End one was close on score, Conor taking the first set with a 26 to Steve’s 25. Steve shot another 25 which was enough to beat Conor’s 23, earning him the second lot of set points, equaling the match out on 2-2. The third end was tied on 25 points apiece, keeping the score square on 3-3. Steve found a rhythm in the fourth end, shooting a 27 to Conor’s 25, taking the match to 5-3. Conor needed to win this next end to stay in the game, but his 24 wasn’t enough to beat Steve’s 26, sending Steve into the semi-finals.
Last year’s winner, Patrick Huston faced, the double European Youth Champion, Monty Orton, in the third quarter finals match. Patrick opened with a 28 to Monty’s 25 to take the first lot of set points. In the second end Monty put down a 26, but Patrick shot a 28 to take the points to 4-0 in his favour. Monty then shot a 27 end, and with two nines already in the bag for Patrick he needed a ten for the win; It was a nine, tying the men on 27 each and keeping Monty in the game. In the forth end, Patrick once again needed a ten, this time to equal Monty’s 27, but he walked off the shooting line and gave himself an automatic miss. Patrick spoke to us later to confirm that he made a mistake with his mental maths, assuming that no matter what he shot that end he couldn’t have equaled the set. This then took the points to 5-3, giving Monty an opening to claw back some points. Monty took his chance, shooting a 28 to Patrick’s 26 to take the match to 5-5 and a shoot-off. Monty shot first, scoring an eight not too far from the nine line, however Patrick shot a nine on the line to take the win.
The fourth and final quarter finals match saw 7th ranked Sum Hin Moses Cheung meet 2nd ranked Alex Wise. Sum began the match with a 27 end to Alex’s 23 to take the first lot of points. Alex responded with a strong 29 end to Moses’s 23 to equal the points on 2-2. The third end saw Moses shoot a 28 to Alex’s 26 to take the lead with 4-2. Alex shot another consistent 26 in the fourth end, but a second 28 from Moses was enough to secure him the win with 6-2.
Up first for the semi-finals was 8th ranked Tom Hall and 5th ranked Steve Davies. Tom opened strong with a 28 to Steve’s 24 to take the first set. Steve then came back in the second end with a 27 to Tom’s 25, equalling the score out on two apiece. The third end was a close one, Steve shot a 26, one point more than Tom’s 25 to take the points to 4-2 in his favour. For the fourth end, Tom got caught in a gust and shot a five for his first arrow of three. Steve made the most of his opportunity, shooting a 25 to Tom’s 21 to earn his spot in the gold final.
The second semi-finals saw Sum Hin Moses Cheung fight it out against Patrick Huston. Moses got off to a shaky start, shooting a 22 to Patrick’s 27, winning Patrick the first set. Patrick shot another 27 in the second end, but Moses found his feet and took the set with a strong 28. For the third end in a row, Patrick shot another 27 which won over Moses 24 to take the points to 4-2 in his favour. Moses came back with a 26 end to finish, but it wasn’t enough to beat Patrick’s 28, sending the reigning champion into the gold medal match.
Moses returned straight back to the final stage to face Tom Hall for the third spot on today’s podium. Tom opened the match with the first perfect 30 of the day, taking the set for the first end. Moses didn’t let the pressure get to him, shooting a 27 to Tom’s 26 to bring the points to 2-2. In the third end the set points were shared out as both archers shot a tied 26. In the fourth end, Tom shot another 26, however Moses shot a 27 to take the points to 5-3 in his favour. Tom needed this next set to stay in the match, which he did, shooting a strong 28 to Moses’ 24. Moses shot first in the shoot-off, scoring a perfect ten to take the win over Tom’s nine, earning him the bronze medal.
Last year’s gold finalists returned to the stage for a second time, Patrick Huston and Steve Davies. The wind came with a vengeance during this match, catching out Patrick in the opening end and resulting in an arrow in the four. He scored 22 points against Steve’s 26, giving Steve the set points for the first end. Patrick recovered quickly, shooting a perfect 30 to Steve’s 28 to take the match to 2-2. A 28 from Patrick in end three won him the set over Steve’s 25, putting him in the lead. The fourth end was tied on 25 points apiece, bringing the overall points to 5-3 to Patrick. In the fifth and final end for the men’s shooting today, Patrick shot a 28 to Steve’s 27 to defend his title. This is Patrick’s fifth year of taking home the National Tour Final gold medal.
“Realistically, having five titles at the National Tour Final is fantastic, it’s really, really pleasing. It was a good day of matches, obviously we’ve got seven of the best archers in the country here and it’s fantastic to shoot against them. I did have a little mistake at one point where I thought I’d lost a set and couldn’t win it, so I walked off the line. It turns out a ten would’ve won the match. It went to a shoot-off and I ended up winning,” Patrick said.
He added: “Then I came up against Steve Davies, the same as the gold medal match last year, and that went really well. Started off a little shoddy, I didn’t quite commit to the shot in the way that I should’ve, but then the next set I got a 30 and that got me through from there. It’s lovely to be back at Wollaton Hall, and being on top of the stage, I love it. That little bit of raised elevation, it just gives you a bit more buzz, a bit more thrill, there’s nothing I like more than that.”
The first match of the afternoon for the recurve women saw 1st seeded Penny Healey face 8th seeded Nicole Burdett. The reigning Indoor World Series Champion, Penny opened the match strong, shooting a 27 to Nicole’s 21 to take the first set. Nicole bettered her score from the last end with a 22, but Penny shot a 26 to win the set points, 4-0. In the final end, Nicole’s 23 wasn’t enough to overtake Penny who shot a 25 to win 6-0.
For the second quarter final match, 4th ranked Sarah Bettles faced 5th ranked Yulia Hinkley. The wind from the morning session returned as Sarah shot a 17 end against Yulia’s 27, giving Yulia the set. Yulia then shot a 26 in the second end to Sarah’s 22 to take the points to 4-0. Sarah came back fighting, shooting a 25 in the third end to tie with Yulia, bring the scores to 5-1. Sarah shot another 25 in the fourth end to take the set points to 5-3. In the final end, Sarah held her nerve, shooting a 23 over Yulia’s 20, taking the match to a shoot-off. Sarah put down a perfect ten over Yulia’s nine to make a great comeback that resulted in the win.
Next up was 3rd ranked Jaspreet Sagoo against 6th ranked Malgorzata Sobieraj. Jaspreet took command of the first end, shooting a 27 to Malgorzata’s 20. Malgorzata came back with a 25 which beat Jaspreet’s 22 to bring the score all square on 2-2. In the third end, a 27 from Malgorzata took the set points over Jaspreet’s 19, giving her a 4-2 lead. Malgorzata stayed consistent throughout the final end, shooting a 26 to win the match 6-2 and reserve her place in the semi-finals.
The last quarter finals match saw world number four, Bryony Pitman, face 7th ranked archer Louisa Piper. The two women came out fighting, tying the first end with 23 points each. After end two, Bryony shot a 27 to Louisa’s 26 to take the lead 3-1. Both end three and four were ties, the archers scoring four lots of 27s to take the match to 5-3. In the final end, Louisa shot a strong 29 which was enough to beat Bryony’s 26 for the win.
In the first of two semi-finals, Penny Healey came up against Sarah Bettles. Penny opened confidently, shooting a 28 to Sarah’s 27 to take the set points for the first end. In end two, Penny maintained her momentum, shooting another 28 over Sarah’s 25 to take the points to 4-0. The wind came back strong in the third end, causing Penny to almost shoot after the timing buzzer had sounded. She narrowly scored a two, meaning that Sarah took that set with a 22 end. In the fourth end, a 27 from Sarah wasn’t enough to beat Penny’s 28, sending Penny into today’s gold match.
The last semi-finals of the day saw Louisa Piper face Malgorzata Sobieraj. Louisa began the match with a 25 to Malgorzata’s 23, to take the first set. A burst of wind for Malgorzata’s second end gave her a total of 20 points which wasn’t capable of beating Louisa’s 26. In the third end, Louisa shot a 25 which was all that she needed to beat Malgorzata’s 22 to take the win with straight sets 6-0.
This year’s bronze medal match showcased Sarah Bettles and Malgorzata Sobieraj. Both women shot a 24 in the first end to tie on 1-1. They followed this up in the second end with a 23 from Malgorzata and a 22 from Sarah, bringing the scores to 3-1 in Malgorzata’s favour. Sarah then shot a 27 in the third end to Malgorzata’s 23 to equal out the score again at 3-3. Continuing her momentum, Sarah shot a 28 to Malgorzata’s 22 to take the lead with 5-3. In the final end, Sarah narrowly took the win over Malgorzata with 24 points to 23, winning her the bronze medal.
Deciding this year’s gold medalist, the match saw last year’s winner, Penny Healey, come up against Louisa Piper. Penny opened with a 27 to Louisa’s 21 to take the first end. Louisa then responded with a 25, just taking the win over Penny’s 24 to bring the scores square on 2-2. In the third end, Penny regained her flow, shooting a 28 to Louisa’s 26 to take the lead. For the last arrows of today’s competition, Penny shot a 26 end to Louisa’s 23, defending her 2021 title and gold medal.
“It means a lot. This is my second National Tour Final victory, and it just adds to the list of achievements I’ve had this year. It feels amazing, all this experience. I’m just so happy. It’s been a great year as it is. I shot a world record last week, I’ve come away with World Cup medals as well as individual placings. I know when I shot that world record I was like “yeah it’s going to be a good week”. The wind was horrible. I’ll be honest, it was not fun at all. But I think I coped well with it, and I’m happy,” Penny said.