Archery: Nesbitt strikes silver at Europeans
Three Ballyvally archers returned home to Banbridge after competing with the British team at the European Championships in Croatia and for one of them there was a silver lining.
Mark Nesbitt shot like a dream for two days over the two courses, putting in high scores which were even better than some of the men's scores.
He eventually made the last four and was drawn against English archer Chris Wells.
Despite missing his first arrow in three days, due to setting his sights at the wrong mark, he won and went on to shoot against the Swede in the final.
Many of the Great Britain team, including Peter Mulligan and Philip Fitzpatrick, followed his progress right up to the final.
Despite missing another arrow, Mark finished strongly to take the silver medal in the junior gent's freestyle and only missed out on gold by one point. Wells, meanwhile, went on to win the bronze medal.
Afterwards, Mark's coach since he was 10 years old, Frank Mulligan, was extremely pleased with his performance. Frank ranks among the top European coaches.
Philip Fitzpatrick, who had made the international team for the first time, had a learning experience watching the top European shooters, especially the Italians and Swedes. The competition was fierce and many placings were decided by one shot,
He finished in a very creditable 20th place and is now enthusiastically looking forward to the training sessions for the big one next year - the World Championships in Wales.
Peter Mulligan, who has consistently made the cut on day three at international level for ten years, had a worrying time since he had changed style approximately six months ago and did not know just how it would go at the top level.
He need not have worried for he shot well enough to make the cut and shoot out on day three with the top 16 European archers, eventually finishing in 15th place.
Just to underline the achievement by Nesbitt, the other British performances included: British ladies' team, silver medal (three ladies, one from each style, freestyle, Amy Oliver; barebow, Jan Rees; compound, Tracey Anderson.
Individual sections: Ladies freestyle, Amy Oliver, gold; ladies barebow, Mary Ann Richardson, silver; junior gent's freestyle, Chris Wells, bronze.
Nesbitt and Wells joined in competitive action again in the United Kingdom Junior Field Archery Championships last weekend at Loughbrickland.