A blustery Lilleshall on Saturday played host to the last National Tour stage of the 2023 season. Monty Orton took the top spot for the recurve men in qualifying with a 651, and world number 1 Penny Healey took the women’s top place with a 639. On the compound side, world number one Ella Gibson seeded 1st in the women’s with a 690, and Domagoj Buden in the men’s with a 689. Barebow woman Sarah Hubbard ranked first with a 582, and Steven Brison took the men’s top spot with a 609.
Top recurve men’s seed Monty Orton met GB teammate and 2nd ranked archer James Woodgate in the gold final. At 4-2 down, Monty shot a 29 and a 28 to take back the lead and the win with a 6-4 finish. Conor Hall took the bronze medal after another close 6-4 match against Sum Hin Moses Cheung.
Bryony Pitman who seeded in 6th place made it into the gold finals against 5th ranked Sarah Bettles. Sarah took the first set with a 28 to Bryony’s 26, but Bryony responded with a 30 to bring the set points all square at 2-2. The third end was drawn on 29 apiece, and then Bryony took the last two ends to win 7-3. The bronze medal was won by Hannah Beasley-Suffolk 6-4 against Thea Rogers.
Monty said: "It's not over until it's over really. So just kind of forget about the score and keep shooting shots, and then if I do what I know I can do then they tend to go in the middle."
Croatian archer Domagoj Buden met 7th ranked Neil Bridgewater in the fight for the compound men’s gold. The men were all square on 58 apiece after two ends, then a 30 from Neil against Domagoj’s 28 put Neil two points ahead. Going into the final end, Neil was up by two points, 117-115, and a 28 to Domagoj’s 29 solidified Neil’s win with 145-144. The third spot on the podium was grabbed by Dillon Crow who defeated Kai Thomas-Prause 143-141.
The compound women’s gold match saw rank number one Ella Gibson meet 3rd ranked archer Izzy Carpenter. Ella took an early lead with a 59 to Izzy’s 55, and she extended this to a 7 point advantage. She finished the match to take the win with 147 points to Izzy’s 140. In the fight for bronze, 2nd ranked Sarah Prieels and 4thranked Chloe A’Bear shot 145 apiece to take the match to a shoot-off. A 10 from Chloe to Sarah’s 8 won the junior archer her first National Tour podium finish.
The 2nd ranked barebow man Ralph Barwise met 8th ranked Daniel Fisher-Jones in the gold medal match. Ralph won the first set with a 23-21, then Daniel took the second end with a 26 to Ralph’s 24. In the final two ends, Ralph shot a 25 and 28 to take the win 6-2. Trevor Carr won the bronze medal with a clean 6-0 win over Daniel Kilgallon.
For the barebow women, 1st ranked Sarah Hubbard met 3rd ranked Evie Finnegan. Evie took the first set points with 25 to Sarah’s 23, and the next two ends were tied with 27s and 26s to take the points to 4-2. Two 26 ends completed the match on 6-4, earning Sarah her fourth National Tour stage win this year and maximum standing points towards the Finals. The bronze final saw Victoria Williams take the medal with 7-1 win over Chloe Driscoll.
Sarah said: "To win four stages overall is really good and to get maximum points is what I wanted to do this weekend. That was my aim, to win and to get maximum points for the Tour rankings. So I'm pretty chuffed that I've managed to achieve both of those."
As this was the final stage of the 2023 National Tour season, the top 8 archers in each category who will shoot at the National Tour Finals are named! See the standings and the day’s scores here.