Bisley 201712 Aug 2017
(Photo courtesy of Mike Kettle: Supporters watching the Eley Finals)
Survival of the Fittest
Following East Grinstead Target Shooting Club’s recent success in Scotland, the team made the much shorter journey to Bisley with high hopes. However, it was always going to be a tough challenge, not least because the 2017 meeting included the Lord Roberts Match, a shoulder-to-shoulder contest against the USA, which is only held once every eight years. The Americans, who lost the previous match in the USA in 2009 by a record margin, sent a strong team to avenge that defeat and to compete in many of the regular classes as well.
The meeting began with the Weekend Aggregate but despite the good weather, the wind conditions were very tricky and everyone began slowly. By Sunday lunchtime, the only award-winning performance was Jim Howard in Class C who managed 6th in competition 9 (SIngle Dewar) to qualify for a prize bar.
Things picked up in the afternoon when the club had four members, Andy Meyers, Peter Watson, David White and Jim Howard competing in the finals of the NSRA/Eley competition. The stand-out performance here was from David who won Class C by a large margin with a score that would also have topped the table in Class B and come close to doing the same in Class A.
(Photo courtesy of Mike Kettle: David White with his Eley Medal)
Later that afternoon, Andy Meyers and Trevor Wilde were part of the Sussex team that finished second in the Queen Alexandra County Cup.
The Championship Aggregate began bright and early on Monday, with hard to read wind and mirage conditions again making it difficult for the shooters even while the spectators sunbathed and the ice cream van did a roaring trade. Club successes were few and far between but David, in Class A this time, followed his Eley victory with a 4th place in competition 3 (100yds) while Andy (Class X) managed a 5th in competition 6 (50m) and a very creditable 2nd in the NSRA Life & Annual Members competition.
On Thursday afternoon, Andy and David were selected to shoot in the Sussex team that finished 5th in the County Sextette competition.
(Photo courtesy of Jim Howard: Sussex Team for the County Sextette Competition)
Friday morning saw the beginning of the British Prone Championships, the ’Earl Roberts’. Once again, David managed to find his form and progressed comfortably to the second stage. Andy however was perilously close to the cut-off point while Trevor was, agonisingly, the first name just below it when the provisional results were published. Unsurprisingly there were a number of disputed scores but Trevor’s challenge was upheld when an arithmetical error was discovered and he gained two points to take him level with Andy and both survived to make the second stage of the competition.
Friday afternoon saw the International matches taking place. First, the goodwill Randle Match with Great Britain’s ladies taking on the Americans. Linda Smallbone had a place in the GB ‘B’ team but the USA clinched victory. Shortly afterwards, the main Roberts Match took place. This coincided with a sudden and serious deterioration in the local weather as a fierce but brief storm blew in with torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Andy Meyers was selected as a member of the GB team. Andy noted that: "it was by some margin the most prestigious event I have ever participated in, and I was proud to have shot well enough to achieve 5th highest score in the team.". Once again the much fancied American team proved too strong although this time they only won by the small margin of 11 points ex 4000.
(Photo: GB Team for the Earl Roberts Match)
The second stage of the ‘Earl Roberts’ took place first thing on Saturday morning. With 96 of the country’s top shooters in the mix and only 20 places in the final there was little room for error. Initially it looked as though Andy had done just enough to scrape into the final but his hold on that position was tenuous and following a successful challenge by another shooter he found himself relegated to just outside the cut-off point. However, the discovery of a data error elsewhere resulted in another shooter being demoted and Andy climbed once again into contention only for yet another challenge to push him back down again. The outcome of this hokey cokey was that Andy finished in 21st place on countback and just missed getting into the final. David and Trevor did well to finish in the top forty; Trevor missing the cut by a mere 2 points with David just one point further behind. Despite missing the cut for the final both of them finished above the current British Champion and above others who had, between them, previously won the Lauder Aggregate, the Earl Roberts, the Bisley Aggregate and made the highest score in the Dewar Match.
As always, Bisley week finished with the prize-giving in the Lord Roberts Centre but the presentation ceremony provided a couple of surprises of its own. The first suprise was the unexpected announcement of the NSRA Silver Award to Linda Smallbone for services to shooting, both as a competitor and administrator over many years.
(Photo courtesy of Jim Howard: Special Presentation to Linda Smallbone)
This was followed by a seemingly endless queue of Americans collecting a glittering array of silverware until almost unnoticed there was another suprise when the name of Trevor Wilde of East Grinstead was read out as winner of the Anglo-Scottish Cup. Sadly Trevor, unaware of the award, had already gone home and it was left to Malcolm to collect it on his behalf. Further investigation revealed that the Anglo-Scottish Cup is not a competition that you enter but is awarded to the competitor with the highest aggregate from competition 6 at Lauder and competition 7 at Bisley who is not in X Class at either meeting. At Lauder Trevor missed out on promotion to X Class by a single place but that cloud had a real silver lining as promotion to X Class would have made him ineligible for this trophy.
(Photo: USA Team and Prizes)
Congratulations to the winners and well done to the whole team for some significant achievements and surviving another Bisley week of BBQs, ice creams, and shooting!
(Report: Jim Howard, contributions from Andy Meyers and Mike Kettle)