Interview with Lizzie Richley - October 2007

Age: 22
From: Blandford (Dorset) and Southampton
Southampton University, 3rd year Archaeology

Hi Lizzie. What are you studying at Southampton?

Archaeology BA

Did you get the chance to shoot much over the summer break and are you ready for the new archery season?

I shot a fair bit over the summer, joining a local club at home in Dorset Ė Bracken Archers. Iím no where near ready for the new season, having fallen off my bike and broken my leg Iím now adjusting to sit down archery for at least 6 weeks, Though at least I wonít get distracted by squash and badminton anymore.

You were a novice in 2005/06. At this time of the season, university clubs up and down the land are working to retain a decent number of new members. What persuaded you to stay with the sport after the novelty factor wore off.

I had always wanted to do archery, since when I first ďplayedĒ when I was a guide. I stayed on after the novelty wore off as I found the company I was with enjoyable. I made a lot of friends through archery and had a great time, spending time shooting, laughing and discovering the joys of real ale.

Youíre currently Southampton club secretary and SEAL League Organiser. How are you finding being a club secretary?

Club secretary is relatively relaxed, so long as things get done itís fine. Usually it involves writing a to do list and slowly working down it. Have just sorted out some of the GNAS stuff and am now waiting for the influx of new members.

Southampton have been pretty successful in SEAL, finishing second both times. How important is the regular inter-uni competition provided by League Matches and how well do these small matches prepare archers for the big tournaments?

The small matches allow archers to get used to shooting against others in friendly surroundings whilst also allow friendships and ties between universities to blossom. I for one as soon as I get to a big competition end up performing half as well as Iím told I should be shooting. At least in these competitions you get shown what to do without being penalised for not wearing the correct colours or feeling to scared to ask what to do.

Southampton v Imperial has become arguably the big SEAL fixture. Do Southampton approach this fixture any differently to the others?

If I said no, that would be a lie. We are quite close with Imperial and have fun competing against them.

Southampton had finished 6th at both BUSA Indoors and BUSA Outdoors in 2007 Ė thatís Southampton's best finish at either competition since at least 1996. The club must have been pleased with both these performances. How do you go about maintaining that level of success and building on it?

We were pleased with these performances especially from our novices! They did very well. We will just continue practising as usual, trying to get as many new members as possible and get them interested in doing the competitions.

The ELeague campaign never quite took off for Southampton last year with a finish of 7th place in Division 2. Is promotion into Division 1 a target for this year?

Well the ELeague was a bit of a black hole for us, with one novice pushing for us to enter more scores in January, to be honest I think the club in general just (by complete) accident forgot about it. And then remembered slightly too late. This year thoughÖthis year weíll get promoted (hopefully) and (attempts to not let this become one of those annoying pep talks) wellÖlets just hope we donít forget to submit our scores.

I judged the R32 match at BUTC 2005 when Southampton famously knocked out Birmingham who had Naomi Folkard in their team. Fast forward two years and no Southampton to be seen. What happened?

We looked at our individual bank funds and having gotten rid of the moths that had risen we closed our purses again and organised our own Head 2 Head match within the club Ė which I must say was immense fun. We aim to return to BUTC this year but our funds wouldnít allow a weekend in Edinburgh no matter how much the chance to wander around and go shopping tempted us..well at least me.

You're about to start your second stint as SEAL Organiser. What persuaded you to take on the job in the first place and what were some of the more difficult challenges that you encountered in your first year?

The challenge of the position persuaded me and also a few friends from the club saying ďyou should do that lizzieĒ ok, I was a push over. Someone suggested I do it and I said yeah why not. Seemed like a good thing to do at the time. The main challenge was setting up a time table that everyone could fit to. That took ages.

What advice would you give to the person that eventually takes over the job?

JUST KEEP SMILING! Lol. Best thing you can do.

Reading made their full SEAL debut last year - they finished a respectable fourth out of seven. What is the current situation with the new clubs at Kent and Essex?

I donít know anything about Kent. I have emailed them and invited them to join us at the outdoor events and have sadly had no response. Essex have emailed me and I have replied welcoming them into the league, though donít think theyíll be joining us this year in the indoor league (unless they email me back quickly Ė subtle hint!)

NEUAL and BUTTS are both implementing different scoring systems this year including points for their indoor championships. There is already an SEAL Outdoor Champs but no Indoor Champs. Is there a particular reason for this?

No particular reason. Just hasnít been one. I have been toying with the idea of having a SEAL head to head match in the new year but that wonít be confirmed unless I can get a hall booked for the day.

In 2008 I am hoping to run a competition between teams representing their regional leagues in a tournament at 70m - a sort of stepping stone to World Student events. Clearly youíll be involved with the SEAL team in some way. What impact do you think this event may have?

I think this event would be good as itíll start more competition between the individual leagues. Currently all weíve got is the leagues scores from BUSA announced. It would be good to be able to work towards something, have a goal to make a team that it is made up from other unis as well and then go against those who have earned a place from the other leagues as well.

Uniquely, Southampton have played in two regional leagues, from 2001 in SWWU and from 2003 in SEAL. If BUSA's existing conference structure were mapped on to our existing Regional Leagues, Southampton would be the only university in the "wrong" place. Is a return to SWWU something Southampton might consider in future years?

From the discussions Iíve had with the committee regarding a move back to SWWU it seems unlikely unless it was the only option as itís a huge distance to travel. They were in SWWU before I arrived at the university and the closest match was a 3 hour journey. To do that in a day with a competition is very tiring. Whereas the longest journey that we feasibly have now is an hour and a half.

Youíre the only female Regional League Co-ordinator this year. Do you think enough women are involved in administrative roles, given the numbers involved in competition? [And if you do, is there a way to accomplish this?]

I donít really have an opinion on this matter. Itís not like the archery world is that heavily male dominated or excludes women. I think itís more a case of whether females feel like doing it or not. I volunteered to do it as I felt I had the ability/time to run it. I donít think whether Iím female or male matters all that much.

Finally, letís talk social networking. Facebook has become so all-pervasive that I have had to add a Facebook Groups page to the UKSAA. Has Facebook had much of an effect on your archery as well as your roles as secretary and league organiser?

Well Iíve got a seal group running on facebook now, it does make life a lot more easier to spread information, well so long as people are joined up to it. You can post timetables up and ask for suggestions and then everyone can discuss it and you can see what everyone else has said. Itís a lot harder having such discussions via email. It hasnít really had much effect as secretary, just that itís harder to escape me if I want something.. =)

Lizzie, thank you very much.