Ravhagen, Visby hosted four days of intense competition as archers from all over the world fought for medals. The Isle of Man fielded a team of mixed experience; on the Compound side only Rhys Moore was the only IGAM debutante – father David and older brother Ethan had done it all before. Billy Lightfoot had already been blooded and Joy Gough had a cupboard full of IGAM medals safely at home. On the Recurve side only Danny Cowin had experienced the excitement and pressure of the games and the Herculean task of trying to bolster up newbies Josh Trafford and Barbara Harris fell to him.
Sunday afternoon’s practice session went well but when the team showed up the following morning for the WA1440 round conditions had radically altered with heavy winds blowing across the field. The previous day’s sight marks were next to useless and it became obvious that the day’s shoot was going to be something of a lottery.
On the recurve side of the field Barbara Harris put in a solid performance in spite of the conditions and managed to get within 40 points of her pb to finish in 6th place overall. Danny Cowin had a nightmare of a morning, and although he recovered in the afternoon as the weather improved his final total was nowhere near his best and he finished in a disappointing 26th place. For Josh Trafford the day was even worse. A shoulder injury which he had been carrying into the games hit home and, in spite of physio as the field was reset for the second distance, Josh had to pull out.
The Compound Team found the conditions even harder to contend with as their side of the field was even more exposed. Dave and Ethan Moore found themselves well off the pace. Billy Lightfoot put in a solid round to finish in the top half of the table but only Rhys Moore managed a top ten finish. Joy Gough toughed it out to finish 5th in the Women’s Compound.
Tuesday morning’s 720 was used as a qualification for seeding going into the Individual, Mixed Pairs and Team Head to Heads. Josh Trafford, after an evening of intense physiotherapy, managed to get through the shoot but was then rested from the Mixed Pairs event to give him a chance to recover for the following day’s Individual Head to Head. The Mixed Pairs round was shot in sets. Each team had to shoot four arrows in rotation under strict time controls. Highest score won the set and scored 2 points, first to 6 won. Danny Cowin finally found his form and shot well but Barbara Harris allowed nerves to get the better of her, shaking so much that she could barely nock the arrows and IoM lost a match on a single arrow shoot off that they should have easily won.
The Compound Mixed Pairs format was slightly different with a cumulative score deciding the winner instead of sets. IoM drew host nation Gotland in the quarter finals and lost 142 – 130.
Wednesday saw the Individual Head to Head rounds. Three arrows in 2 minutes, scored in sets for Recurve/ cumulative for Compound. In the Women’s Recurve Barbara Harris had qualified high enough to earn a bye into the second round, but here she only managed to win one set against Stacey Payne of the Isle of Wight and went down 6-2. Josh Trafford beat Angel Ortega of Menorca 7-3 but crashed out to IGAM legend Absalon Hansen 6-0 in the next round. Absalon then went on to take the silver medal. Danny Cowin came through a hard fought match against Guernsey’s Paul Taylor 6-4 but lost 0-6 to Danielle Rolfi of Aland who lost to eventual gold medallist Borja Meca of Menorca.
On the compound side Joy Gough had earned a bye straight into the second round where she fell foul of the eventual gold medallist Anja Eydnudottir of the Faroe Islands 120-137. In the Men’s division Dave Moore went straight out to Stefan Stenegard of Gotlan 133-137. Billy Lightfoot and Ethan Moore were unfortunately drawn against each other. Ethan took the round 135-130, while Rhys Moore got past James Nippers of Guernsey 141-135. The Moore brothers then both lost out on a one arrow shoot off, Rhys losing to Matthew Dale of Jersey and Ethan to Roger Sandelin of Gotland. Roger went on to win the silver medal.
The last Archery event was the Team Head to Head and once again the weather turned against the archers with the heaviest winds of the week blowing across the field. As a left handed archer Barbara Harris found her arrows being blown onto the target and she put in her best team performance of the week. Danny Cowin and Josh Trafford found their arrows being blown off the target. The wind was so heavy that Danny was aiming into the gap between the bosses on the right of the target only have them miss to the left of the boss. IoM only took one set off the Isle of Wight Team and went down 6-2.
This meant that only the Compound Team could bring home a medal and conditions on the Compound side of the field were once again much worse than on the Recurve side. Rhys and Ethan Moore and Joy Gough made up the Compound Team with Dave Moore in reserve. To begin with they shot one arrow each in rotation with Rhys going first, Joy going second and Ethan last. But the wind was so strong that Joy Gough had her arrows blown off the arrow rest. She reset only for it to happen again and by the time she managed to get her arrow away Ethan did not have time to fire his second arrow. The team were up against it and for the first time in twenty years it looked as though Archery would not contribute to the medal table. Then Danny Cowin came up with the idea that the boys should shoot their two arrows first which would leave Joy plenty of time to shoot her two arrows as anchor man. They squeezed past Gotland 157-156. They then lost to Guernsey 207-197 and found themselves in the Bronze medal shoot off against Jersey. The lead switch hands a couple of times but when the dust finally settled IoM had taken the medal by a score of 197-190. It was a terrific display of teamwork and determination that was a privilege to watch.