Elcho 150th Anniversary
Scotland wins 150th Elcho by 2 points
(This makes it four in a row for Scotland)
The 150th staging of the match was always going to be a special one and having the Earl of Wemyss and March and Lord Elcho attending provided added incentive for us to try to extend our run of three wins into previously uncharted waters.
At 1000x we opened up a useful lead of 5 points over Wales and, perhaps of greater interest, 9 points over England who had a one shot mishap. At 1100x in trickier conditions we shed a few points losing three to England but drawing clear of Wales and Ireland.
After 1100x the MLAGB laid on a demonstration of muzzle loading using rifles from the early days of the match. In blatant breech of the match rules but with the agreement of the umpire both the English and Scottish captains fired with these rifles and made hits. Lord Elcho was also invited to shoot and showed he must have marksmanship in his blood by scoring a bull at this range - 100x further than the original matches were held. And so we retired to the decisive 1200x stage with a slender lead of only 6 points.
The weather forecast was for a band of thunderous rain to strike midway through the shoot and so we made a tactical decision to try and shoot fast before it arrived. The conditions were though difficult and we averaged only 67s for our first six firers. England had taken a different tack and after much waiting had only two similar scores on their board. Then the rain arrived in torrents. Everyone retired to their cars and the match was suspended for ten minutes. The storm blew over scoreboards and soaked anyone out in the open but, sadly for us, was over sooner than forecast and was replaced with more benign weather. Had we thus handed the English the perfect chance to catch us?
Despite this probability our last pair, Angus McLeod and your captain, emerged from shelter and shot 74 and 73 which was more than any of the English could do. Both finished with strings of bulls whilst the English last pair, including their captain, each finished with an inner. These last two shots proved crucial as we won by two points but with an inferior V-bull count. Pheww!
Thus it was that Lord Elcho had the opportunity to hand over the gold winners medals to his fellow countrymen. The Australians had also shot alongside in the concurrent Match Rifle Overseas Teams Match achieving 4th place ahead of Ireland whilst we won ahead of England and Wales.
The shooting was followed by a commemorative dinner in the NRA Pavilion at which Colin Hayes and Lord Wemyss gave the two speeches to round off a very Scottish day. It was a pleasure to be joined for dinner by many previous participants in the Elcho.
Incidentally the NRA results are wrong yet again as our main coaches were once again Alex Henderson and Hamish Hunter guided by Hugh Butcher. Our top scorer was Angus McLeod to whom Frances Packman was able to present the Copland Cup.