On 2-3 September at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, over 6,000 people globally watched the final of the 2023 National Tour in our grandstands and streaming from home.
World number four Penny Healey became the Recurve Women’s Champion, making this her third consecutive win, a new record for her division. Sarah Bettles swapped her bronze medal from 2022 for the silver one this year, and Olympian Bryony Pitman took the bronze against Megan Havers.
Penny said: “This win means a lot. I've been struggling a bit for the past few months with my shot routine and stuff, and to finally have it come together on the finals field is amazing and it gives me great confidence.”
For the recurve men, despite his limbs delaminating on him the day before the competition, Tom Hall managed to pick up his third Tour Final win after a tense shoot-off against Conor Hall. Monty Orton came home with the bronze after his match against Alex Wise.
Tom said: “Just trust it. That's all I'm trying to scream into myself. When you're out there and you feel nervous, and you're on the stage, everything is magnified. I've learned to just try to ignore it, find my shot, move through, and trust that the work I've done will get the results.”
The 2018 and 2019 Compound Men’s Champion James Mason made 2023 his third National Tour Final victory, and debut finalist Ajay Scott took the silver. For bronze, 2022 silver medallist Kai Thomas-Prause won against three-time consecutive champion Adam Carpenter, ending the latter's streak.
James told us: “This win feels really good. It’s a big shock, to be honest, as I spent most of the season recovering from injury, so I went in with little expectations.”
First-time champion Lizzie Foster defeated world number one Ella Gibson in the semi-finals. Layla Annison took the silver medal for a second year running, leaving Ella to fight for the bronze against Patience Wood, where the world number 1 took third place with an 8-point lead.
Lizzie said: “I’ll be honest, I don’t, at this point, quite realise what I’ve done. So maybe it’ll sink in tomorrow when I wake up and watch the video back and realise I have a gold medal around my neck.”
This year, the top four barebow men and top four women earned their places to compete for the title, twice as many barebow competitors compared to the 2022 event. The women’s front runner, Sarah Hubbard, claimed first place, with second going to Pat Hotchkiss. Nadine Parker shot a perfect ten in the bronze final shoot-off to take victory over last year’s silver medallist Kim Doherty.
Sarah said: “It was absolutely brilliant. My whole year I’ve been working towards this, so to come away with a win is really good.”
Daniel Kilgallon won gold for the barebow men at his very first National Tour Final, defeating last year’s champion Wilco van Kleef-Bolton, who took silver. The 2022 silver medallist, Ralph Barwise, won the bronze medal this time around against Mark Turner.
Daniel said: “I don’t know how to describe it. I’m still in disbelief; I didn’t think I’d win the first match let alone both. When I started the National Tour, I didn’t expect to come top ten, so to win it is unbelievable.”