Another string to Bielby’s bow

WHEN Adam Bielby was told he was a realistic chance to qualify for the World Field Archery Championships in Ireland, he felt a long bow was being drawn.

However the prompting of Twin City Archery Gippsland president, and Bielby’s mentor, Peter Bennett was vindicated when the Morwell local recently achieved selection in the Australian team for the September/October tournament.

The 32 year-old’s efforts in the Australian Field Open – which doubled as a national trial – at Ferntree Gully landed him a spot in the squad.

Lucky he went along after all.

“I wasn’t going to do it because I didn’t think I’d make the cut, but Peter kept hassling me until I did,” Bielby said.

“I gave it a fair bit of preparation in the lead up, not because of the selection, just because I wanted to do well at the national event.”

Similar to golf but with a bow and arrow, field archery courses have 24 targets at varying distances from 10-60 metres with different sized faces to aim for.

The maximum score per arrow is six, all the way down to one, or zero for a total miss.

Each target is a different challenge; it could be an uphill or downhill angle or could feature unsteady footing or nearby natural obstacles.

Practice paid off for the former speedway driver, in particular his attention to the unmarked field archery round – a discipline Bielby had never previously competed in – in which archers must gauge the distance to targets manually.

“I did ok there, I shot 376 (out of 432) which is a little bit off the mark for unmarked but for a first go I was quite happy with it,” he said.

Day two at the open was a return to his pet event, the marked field round, but drizzle and poor visibility made things difficult.

A great start to the round was marred when Bielby’s clarifying lens fogged up, causing him to completely whiff a target.

Another bow malfunction caused a second miss on the final target of the round, which could have been devastating for his chances of selection.

“Every arrow counts and it is a game of millimetres,” Bielby said.

“I didn’t perform as good as I wanted to on the second day, but I got back to the clubhouse and talking to the other archers, they all had the same problems. So no-one shot well on the second day.”

Bielby’s result was enough to secure a place on the tour of Ireland, where he will contest marked and unmarked singles events, team events and matchplay over five days of international competition.

Harbouring the simple goal ‘not to come last’, Bielby’s plan is to just enjoy the ride.

“Just to go over there and have fun. Be with the teammates, see what we can do. As a first event I don’t want to set my goals too high. I just want to set my goals to shoot the same scores over there as I do here when I leave,” he said.

“For most archers, their personal best is shot in practice not in competition. In practice you’re relaxed, you’re there by yourself, you’re home. When you go away it can be a lot tougher.”

Bielby recently bucked that trend by breaking his practice best in competition at the Diamond Valley 1440 state target championships during the first weekend of June.

There he shot a 1353/1440 and 1366 on day two to finish third in the state.

The bronze medal was an addition to Bielby’s career highlights – including third at last year’s 1440 nationals and a second at the 2016 short range championships – since he took up the sport three years ago.

Dragged to a TCAG come and try night by his brother, Bielby was immediately hooked.

“I like the challenge of it. The better you get and the higher scores you’re shooting the harder it becomes. It’s not something where you get to a point and you coast. The better you get the more you have to work for it,” he said.

“You have ups and downs. Some weeks you’ll shoot bad and some weeks you’ll shoot well.

“It’s like playing snakes and ladders; you slip down a slide then hopefully you get back up a little bit higher and the next slide is a little shorter.”

The World Archery Field Championships will be held in Ireland from 27 September to 2 October.

To help Bielby’s fundraising campaign visit