Tournament Results 1948

The 240th Recorded Meeting in the 276th year of
The Society of Archers
held at Ben Rhydding, Yorkshire
on the 11th day of September 1948

12 year old Michael Leach with his Lemonwood Bow becomes Captain elect for 1949. Pictured with the 1948 Captain A G Banks. The Rules would be changed in the following year when it was proposed: “That in future, competitors must not be less than 21 years of age.” This was carried by 26 votes to 14.
Undeterred by this new rule, Michael continues to shoot at the Competition for the next few years whilst still ‘under age’ achieving superior scores than many of the adult Competitors.
(See press cutting below…)

Ben Rhydding 11th September 1948

On this day, Thirty and Eight Archers assembled to compete for the Ancient Scorton Arrow and other Trophies.

The first item to note was the piercing of the Red by the Captain A G Banks gaining the Silver Bugle and becoming Lieutenant Elect.

The second item of note was the piercing of the Gold by M J Leach who thus became Captain Elect and holder of the Silver Arrow.

Be it remembered that three of the Archers inadvertently using oaths were duly fined one shiling each and the monies were paid to the Vicar of Ben Rhydding for the benefit of the poor of the parish.

That luncheon and the Captain’s excellent wine were enjoyed at the Troutbeck Hotel, after which the Minutes of the meeting were read and confirmed.

The Archers present contributed to the expenses of the meeting the sum of fifteen shillings each.

Votes of thanks were given to the Ben Rhydding Sports Club for the use of their ground; to the President of the club A W Keay, Esquire for presenting the trophies and prizes; to C W Nettleton, Esquire for his great kindness and untiring skill in acting as Judge; to G Collinson, C Hodges and E A Binney Esquires for their services as Scorers and Clerk to the meeting.

Be it ever remembered that the Captain Elect was in his thirteenth year.

The weather was good and conditions on the ground excellent which items contribute greatly to a most successful meeting.


The Scorton Trophies
Captain of the ArrowMichael J Leach
Lieutenant of the ArrowMr A G Banks
The Horn Spoon for Worst WhiteMr C B Edwards
The Thirsk Insignia for Yorkshiremen
The Silver Arrow & Gold Quiver, for Highest ScoreMr W H Bailey
The Thirsk Bugle for most HitsMr G Stacey
The Thirsk Silver Medal for Best GoldMr F Lister (junior)
The Subscription Trophies
The Gold Medal for the Captain of NumbersMr C B Edwards
The Gold Medal for the Highest ScoreMr J Thompson
The Phillips Cup for the Best Gold of the MeetingMr K L Dames
Competition JudgeC W Nettleton



The following article was typed up from an undated press cutting kindly given to me by Stan Snow (in 2003) from a collection in the Clerks Scapbook. It appears to have been written shortly before the 1949 competition. The picture needed to be scanned and enhanced.

Michael Leach, who had hoped to get in some practice yesterday for the archery contest in which he hopes to retain the Silver Arrow, spent the day in bed recovering from a chill. But he made good use of his time studying books on his favourite sport.

Michael, 13 must buy the archers wine

Next week Michael Leach, holder of the title “Finest bowman in this country,” will preside during an international archery competition at Ilkley, Yorkshire. As winner of the Scorton Silver Arrow – most coveted trophy in the archery world – last year, he becomes “Captain of the Arrow.”

His responsibilities under this ancient and honourable office are heavy and expensive – he has to buy wine for all the competitors.

He will signal for shooting to begin. At lunchtime he invites the bowmen to take wine with him. Then he takes up his own bow and shoots to retain the Silver Arrow.

Four days later Michael goes back to school to tell his thrilled friends about it.
Michael Leach, who beat all comers last year to become rated Britain’s number one bowman, is only 13.

He is the son of an engineer, lives in Cobden-street, Heywood, Lancashire, and goes to Manchester Grammar School.

He has been practicing hard for the competition, “I’ve been shooting at running rabbits,” he said yesterday – sitting rabbits are just pie for an archer like Michael.

He has also been shooting at – and hitting – hen feathers at a range of 150 yards.

Michael was taught archery by his father, Mr George Leach, and has been practising for years. Mr Leach believes that his son has a good chance of retaining his title.

Michael, talking about his Ilkley duties, said: “I don’t drink, but I’ll just have to take wine because traditionally the Captain of the Arrow has to do it. The wine will cost about £8. But I shan’t pay. Dad will do that.”

Michael can do near-miracles with his lemon-wood bow, such as putting an arrow into a short stick at 200 yards range. But his great ambition is to shoot an apple his father’s head. And he can’t do that because his father refuses to play William Tell.

“I have the greatest respect for your shooting,” Mr Leach tells him, “but I don’t think one English bowman should shoot at another.”

The Antient Silver Arrow