Brief history of the club
The club was formed in 1951 at a meeting held in The New Inn public house in Kidmore End village. The members shot on a field at the rear of the pub and according to records, distances were 40 or 50 paces on Mondays and Thursdays and 60 paces on Tuesdays and Fridays.
In 1970 the landowner decided he no longer wanted the club to use the land. After much searching the newly formed Abbey Rugby Club agreed to allow the use of the land we have now.
As the club no longer had any connection with The New Inn it was decided to change the name to South Oxon Archery Club as the rugby club ground is just in Oxfordshire. This explains why some of the trophies are inscribed “Formerly New Inn Archers”.
The year 2001 was the golden jubilee of our club!
During the summer, i.e. out of the rugby season, we have club shoots on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm until it is too dark to shoot. Tuesday is normally reserved for range maintenance and training. Sunday afternoon there is also a club shoot from 2 to about 5pm. Senior club members are allowed to shoot alone so can shoot any weekday or Saturday provided the rugby pitches are not being used, although for safety reasons this is not recommended.
During the winter the club hires the sports hall at Maiden Erlegh School in Reading on each Monday evening of school term-time. There are 2 sessions, 6-30 to 8 and 8 to 10. The membership fee does not cover the cost of this. For those who wish to attend it costs £5 per session, payable when you arrive. Targets are kept in storage at the school but not bows, arrows etc. New members who have not yet bought their own equipment would have to collect a bow, arrows and quiver etc from the clubhouse on the Sunday before going. The gym is quite small, there is only just enough room across it to fit 6 targets butts with 2 faces on each. As you can see from the photo the shooting line is almost against the back wall and the targets are almost against the other wall. This limits us to a maximum of 12 archers at any session. Priority is there fore given to club members so any non-club members coming must find out whether we have room for them by phoning the club secretary, Fred Golding.
For a junior member to shoot there must be at least one other senior Archery GB (former GNAS – Grand National Archery Society) member present at all times. A key to the clubhouse is given to any senior member requiring one. One target, at 60 yards from the shooting line, is left permanently erected over the summer until the rugby season starts. Occasionally the rugby club will have a function in our field which stops any shooting; they have priority unfortunately!