The First International Postal Match and Trans-Atlantic Differences

This is turning into a real year of firsts in British horseback archery.  After the roaring success that was the international match against Sweden, the last weekend in July saw the BHAA meeting to shoot our scores in the inaugural postal international.

The concept of a postal match will be familiar to those with a background in target archery.  To save everybody from having to travel to a given location, you each shoot the same round in your own country and compare the scores against others.  One significant barrier in the past has been the lack of a unified set of unchanging rules.  WHAF and EOCHA rules change, to a greater or lesser extent, year to year, and it can be difficult to know what they are at a given time.  The introduction of the rules agreed by the BHAA and MA3 last year and subsequently adopted to a greater or lesser extent by Holland, South Africa, Australia and Sweden gave us a chance to try out the postal concept.

In July, therefore, archers in Britain, Sweden, Holland and the US (including Americans, Australians and a Korean) shot a Korean 1-2-3 round (i.e. 2 runs each of single, double and triple shot, run over 90m to the standardised rules) and scores have been sent in (bar one or two that we still await).

I’m not going to spoil the surprise about results, which will be posted very soon on the BHAA Facebook page.  I will say, however, that we had somewhere close to 50 competitors with a wide range of scores and a good time had by all.

Regular readers will know that I love to over-analyse things.  True to form, there is one things that has emerged on closer inspection:  in America it seems that they run the serial shot first, then the double, then the single.  In Europe we do it the way that it is done in international (including Korean) competition: single then double then triple.

So what?  Well, the single shot is something that you can ride fast, earning yourself maximum speed points.  If, however, you try to ride the double and triple at that speed then good luck shooting all your arrows, unless you’re really good.  That’s why the Americans do the single last: you can go hell for leather without needing to slow your horse down for the subsequent double and triple.  This makes sense in terms of maximising your points but unfortunately it also throws a small spanner in the works of comparing international scores when the Europeans are consciously doing it the more challenging and traditional way.

I should have foreseen this: we did the American method at Bow Camp last year.  Ho hum, you live and learn!

I suspect that in the huge majority of cases there was little difference made.  Certainly the winner would not have been overhauled.  It will be interesting, nonetheless, to try in future all doing it one way or the other.  We may all learn something new.  Which is the whole point of life, after all…