TO have one member of your family in the UK archery rankings is a fine achievement, but four?
That’s what has happened to four talented members of Darley Bridge-based Derwent Bowmen Archery Club.
Dad Dean Hirst finished second in the senior longbow rankings for the year, mum Jane Henderson-Hirst 23rd in the senior compound section while daughters Marsie (14) and Eva (12) were tenth in the junior compound and 25th in the junior recurve rankings respectively.
Jane Henderson-Hirst, who is also vice-chairman at the club, explained: “Dean and our elder daughter Lily (20), were the first to try archery about eight years ago. Lily has set two national records in her time but is not competing at the moment so there are actually five archers in the family.
“Marsie joined about six years ago, while Eva and I had to wait until Eva was eight and then we joined together. By that stage, we had seen the other three at it so we already had the bug.
“It’s still a real minority sport and generally a sport that rather goes unreported across the country. Players have to be self-funded but the club here is thriving. We have 105 members and are the biggest club in Derbyshire, taking in people from a catchment area that includes Hilton, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Mansfield.
“Nationally and locally, numbers fluctuate because it’s the sort of sport where a lot of people have a go but find it is harder than it it initially looks and they fall by the wayside.”
Asked about the appeal of archery, Jane explained: “It’s a family sport, it’s very child friendly, it’s challenging but it is rewarding if you put in the hard work.
“One of the unusual things about it is that the girls have found themselves competing with GB squad members so to have access to people like that, with their expertise, is priceless and quite a rare opportunity, in any sport.
“We are delighted to have done so well in the rankings and have recently submitted Marsie’s scores to see if she will be selected for English squad membership so we’re all waiting eagerly on that now.”