That’s it, it’s over, pack up your sun tan lotion and midge repellent and put that spade for digging your car out of the snow into the boot. The Summer season is finished (well almost) and the indoor season is upon us. This year a number of new initiatives are being introduced so I thought it appropriate to jot them down and let you know all about them.

Whilst I wax lyrical about how fantastic our club is (and really when you talk to other archers we should be proud of our club because it is pretty special), I ask you all for your help. The club is run on the free time of the committee and volunteers. We continue to grow and if our projections for Armadale are correct we may well become the largest club in Scotland over the next two years. To organise this takes some doing and the committee members have work, families and archery to juggle as well as wanting to shoot the odd arrow ourselves. To that end PLEASE HELP, a number of volunteers are required (as outlined below) to take on very small tasks (no more than an hour a week of your time) which would help enormously.

I’m proud of the fact that we provide more venues and more shooting sessions than any other club in Scotland, at about half the average price. Furthermore we are investing in more coaches and facilities to improve this further. However I would say that at times keeping the energy levels up can be difficult simply because of the scale of the club and the amount of initiatives going on therefore in the words of Lord Kitchener (guy with the funny looking moustache).

YOUR CLUB NEEDS YOU! (que Kev pointing his finger at you).

Summer Successes
I won’t give a description of these yet as we still have two competitions to shoot outdoors. Firstly the club is hosting the Eastern Area Champs over the weekend of the 11th and 12th. This is the last major competition of the outdoor season so if you want to enter as a late entrant for the Sunday (i.e. 12th) there are a few spaces left, please get in touch with Josie ASAP. Also as ever the club is looking for volunteers to assist with the field party – please PLEASE help as it really does help the club in a big way.

At the Bannockburn Shoot I am delighted to announce that we had ten attendees, two adult teams (Balbardie Bears A&B) and a junior team (Balbardie Tigers). This is most definitely a record competition turn out for the club in recent years and I have to say I was very proud to see so many of us there – well done guys! In the individual competitions a specific mention has to go to Jenna Cook who beat off some stiff competition to win the Metric III. In the team events we managed some great results which will be listed in a separate entry under the Tour D’Ecosse. Please note that the return shoot (the Balbardie GP) is on the 16 September at Balbardie and is the last formal event of our outdoor season.

Onto the Indoor stuff
The feedback from the Chairman’s questionnaire I sent out in March was overwhelmingly that we should branch out into more locations. I am pleased to announce that we now only sorting out the minor details over Project Armadale which will see us offering a third session shooting on a Monday night. More details will be circulated when the venue is confirmed (which we hope to be October 2010), in the meantime a particular thanks is given to our Secretary Mark Cook who has done a lot of work to make this happen.

Please note that we have struck a new deal here and with immediate effect the shooting times are now 7pm until 9pm. This will make Blackburn a far better venue for all concerned.

Beginners Courses
The financial ramifications of signing up to a third indoor lease are not insignificant and therefore it is important that the club continues to drive revenue in order that we are not making an operating loss. Clearly the easiest way to do this is to attract new members and therefore a number of beginners courses will be getting run this winter to encourage and attract new members. This will give us a more stable financial footing and will create an even better social environment as we welcome lot’s of new faces.

To make the beginners courses work we need coaches and equipment. On the first point I am please to announce that four of the clubs members (Iain Hogg, Gilbert Jamieson, Mark Cook and myself) have volunteered to undertake our Level 1 coaching qualification. This should hopefully mean that we will have four newly qualified coaches before the end of the year. On the equipment front there are a number of club bows and arrows out on loan at present. Whilst we are not in the position yet where we are saying to people they need to buy their own equipment please note that that day will come. In the meantime if you are using fairly weak limbs (that we need for beginners) and feel you are ready to up the poundage please speak to Kev ASAP as there are a number of stronger limb sets that can be swapped out.

As discussed above we will have a lot more coaches soon. When this is up and running we will institute a duty coach system where there will always be a minimum of one coach on hand every night who won’t be shooting and is purely there to coach. The feedback from the questionnaire is that this is what you really want and so we’ve taken on board what you’ve said and are actioning it.

The coaching sessions at the grange last year were very successful and will be run again this year (dates and times tbc). However the club incurred a loss on the courses last year because there were a number of no shows therefore this year people will be required to book in advance and pay a fee for all of the sessions (fee tbc). The sessions were in high demand from others outside the club last time therefore they will be offered to club members first and after that other clubs will be invited. Josie is organising this and all questions should be directed to her.

The bosses at Blackburn have been replaced – Hurrah! And in particular thanks to Gilbert and his Brother in Law for providing the technology to achieve this.

Christmas Fun Shoot
Club feedback is that Santa shooting is perhaps getting a little stale and therefore some new fun targets will be ordered for the Christmas week. A fun mini competition will be run on this basis but to give you an idea targets will include such things as dartboards and a deck of cards to play pontoon with…

Christmas Social Event
A Christmas night out has been suggested - a volunteer is requested to organise this please.

Indoor Club Competitions
Armadale open competition
To celebrate the opening of our third venue the intention is to host an open competition (i.e one in which any archer from any club can attend). Details are still to be confirmed, however I will be holding Iain Hogg to his offer of assistance in organising it ?

Club Indoor Competition
Everyone agreed that the handicap system was a fair way of making the club indoor and outdoor championships more competitive, therefore the same format as last time will be followed. I.e. a Handicapped Bray I. These will be held on the 10th, 12th and 14th of January giving anyone at any of the venues a chance to enter. Depending on time fun head to heads will also be held.

Club Ladder – a club ladder is being organised for the indoor season which is a fun way of letting archers of any experience level practise those Head to Heads. These are quick and fun and I encourage as many people as possible to enter. Tom Whalley is orgainising this so if you want to take part let him know. A Golden Arrow (well ok a knackered old arrow spray painted gold) will be awarded to the archer who scores the most Xs over the course of the indoor season during the ladder stages so keep a tally.

Monthly Medal
A Monthly Medal will be run (don’t get excited there is no medal at the moment) over the winter on a scratch basis. On the last week of the month (except December when it will have to be earlier) please submit your best round from that week to Donald McIntosh who will collate and post the results on the web site. Rounds will change to keep it interesting as follows:

September Portsmouth
October Fita 18m
November Worcester
December Portsmouth
January Fita 18m
February Worcester

Handicap Improver Trophy
A Handicap Improver trophy will be given out at the end of the season to the archer who most improves his or her handicap. For those archers that have a handicap from last season this will be the starting point, for those archers that don’t have one and want to take part – get in there quick!.

Prize giving day
With all these prizes flying around and lot’s more people joining the club and entering competitions I think we should round off the Indoor Season with a Prize Giving Day. More details will be given in due course.

Balbardie Team
As ever we want as many people to shoot for the club as possible. The first indoor open competitions on the Scottish circuit are the 10th of October (Bannockburn) and the 17th of October (Lasswade). For further details archers are referred to the SAA site.

Handicap Secretary
James has been doing a sterling job here. Finalised outdoor Handicaps will be posted In October so please get your best three scores and attached handicaps to James after the Balbardie GP so that we can record your handicap.

Equipment purchasing trip
In case you are wondering this does not mean a crowd of us coming round your house and looking at Ebay together. The offer is there to organise a trip with experienced archers to go and buy new equipment – if you are interested please let Kev know.

Field Archery Trip
A field trip to Dalmore is being organised, and we want to encourage as many people to try it out as possible (I know I haven’t done it before). Tom Whalley is organising this so please let him know if you want to join in the fun.

By my reckoning the Club AGM is due on the 23 February 2011 (unless one of my esteemed colleagues tells me otherwise). Because we have a much larger club the number of members required to make it quorate is much higher.

**Rant mode on**
If the AGM isn’t quorate then we will all have a real problem so please mark your diaries now, attendance should not be regarded as optional.
**Rant mode off**

The AGM is provided for you as club members and is your chance to get what you want out of the club. I know it’s a long way away now but please think about the following:

Am I doing a good job?
Are you happy with the committee?
What do you want changed?
What are you willing to do to help change it?
What motions do you want considered at the AGM?

That’s it for now folks. I don’t have time for any word game shenanigans this time around I’m afraid so for the history buffs out there I’ll leave you with this one:

King Harold was inspecting his troops on the eve of the Battle of Hastings, chatting with them a bit, trying to raise their morale, that sort of thing.
He went to the swordsmen first, choosing a soldier at random from amongst the ranks. "Do you feel ready for the battle tomorrow?" he asked.
"Oh yes, sire," the swordsman responded eagerly.
"Handy with that thing are you?" Harold asked, indicating the man's sword.
"Reasonably so, sire," the man replied. "Watch." He bent down, picked up a handful of grass, flung it in the air, and waved his sword about. When the grass fell down again, it had been cut into a neat line of soldier figures.
"Good work, man," said Harold, impressed, "and good luck in the battle."
"Thank you, sire," said the soldier.
King Harold proceeded to inspect the pikemen. "Are you looking forward to the battle?" he asked one of their number.
"Yes, sire," the man replied.
"Good with your pike, are you?" the King asked.
"Not bad," the pikeman said. "See that flock of birds?" Harold nodded, and the pike flashed in the soldiers hand. It went sailing through the air, right through the centre of the flock, and when it came down five birds were skewered on it.
"Well done," said Harold, "and good luck in the battle tomorrow."
He then went to the archers, who stood proudly with their longbows, looking intimidating even to someone on their side. "Are you ready for tomorrow's battle?" King Harold asked one bowman.
The man squinted at him a bit, then said, "Good Lord, it's the King! Um, yes I'm ready."
"What can you do with that bow, then?" Harold asked him.
"What? Oh, this thing? I dunno. Someone gave me it yesterday and told me to stay with these people here."
"Well... do you see that barn over there, about twenty yards away?"
The archer peered in the direction of Harold's pointing finger. "Oh yes, I see it," he said at last.
"Do you think you could hit that?"
"I think so." He lined himself up with the barn, grunting with the effort of drawing the bow, and loosed the arrow. It sailed past the barn, five feet too high and ten feet to the left.
"Did I hit it?" he asked.
"Er, yes," said Harold, clapping him on the back. "Well done, and good luck."
Then the King turned to the captain of archery and said in an undertone, "Watch out for that man tomorrow, will you? He'll have somebody's eye out with that thing."

I wish you all the best for the indoor season.

Yours truly,

Kevin Young
Chairman, Balbardie Archers