Scots MR shooting at the Imperial 2014
First business for the Scottish squad at the Imperial Meeting was the semi-formal but keenly contested Lex Lyons match against the Irish on pre-Thursday. The captain had prepared a team order which was cunningly coded so the opposition did not who was shooting where and when – unfortunately some of our team did not understand it either! Eventually ten members shot the whole match and four more shot for part of the day recording an average score which, however you looked at it, was significantly more than the Irish could manage and so Scotland were declared the winners. Top score was Angus McLeod with an impressive 196 whilst Gary Alexander managed 188 for the Irish closely pursued by his tyro son Jack. A goodly dinner was held in the “North”.
Friday consists of the Any Rifle extras. Your captain seemed to misunderstand the word “any” and instead used “all” his rifles –MR, spare and Any Rifle. By virtue of having the only real “Any Rifle” in use he top scored the 1,200x stage and the daily aggregate. The entry was down as, rather ominously for us, the entire English squad were having a coached shoot alongside with around 18 firers on three targets. This was to be their fourth practice of the year.
Saturday started with mixed weather. The first detail was subjected to one horrible rain storm in which visibility was so poor that the shoot should have been suspended. Cries of “Range Officer – Can you ask the marker which side my magpie is on?” were heard. The second detail comprising all the top scorers from 2013 fared better and, despite moderately strong winds, some enormous scores were made by David Friend (aged 80+) in the Whitehead (150v21) and Ted Hobbs in the Halford (150v21). Ted won the daily aggregate with a mere 2 off while over his shoulder was Rob Lygoe on 3 off. Our Tim Kidner, Pete Seebohm and Mike Barlow were all in the top ten.
Tim continued on Sunday morning with a fine 100v16 (including a converted 5?) only to be pipped by Lygoe for the Cottesloe by a V. In the Wimbledon Hugh Butcher led the Scots with 98 but was also pipped into second place this time by George Barnard (99v13). In the Armourers Mike Baillie-Hamilton finally picked up a win for Scotland with the only 98. Incidentally this completes his lifetime set of winning the 7 Hopton events and earns him a free dinner in London with the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers. When the scores were totalled up Rob Lygoe had won the day (Martin Parr Aggregate) and the weekend (Weekend Aggregate) and hence moved into the lead in the Hopton. Tim, Mike B, Hugh and Mike B-H were all in the frame for Scotland. The weekend was rounded off with Silke Lohmann organising a very popular BBQ on the veranda of Elcho Lodge for us before our AGM.
On Monday Angus McLeod returned to the fold having spent the weekend in Glasgow learning how to behave at the Commonwealth Games and found himself in the “others” detail. This possibly fortunate draw allowed him to win the Edge with an impressive 198v27, five points clear of the Scottish captain who top scored from the good shooter’s detail. Monday afternoon was a time to relax for many. As usual we entered a team in the FW Jones not really intending to win it but to try out various rifles, shooters and coaches on the edge of Elcho selection. It was thus a pleasant surprise that this team won the match. Will Meldrum may rue that the match only had one sighter as he approached 1,200x with a new scope set up and started with a pair of inners, one of which had to count, before finishing with 14 bulls. He was told to take an extra shot which was also a bull and so can claim a “moral” 75 at 1,200x.
And so to the Albert with Rob Lygoe leading and only really Ted Hobbs in close contention. All the top scorers shot steadily with only Nick Tremlett making a little headway up the order at the first two ranges. Even the second rainstorm of the meeting at 1,100x failed to dent the scores much. Remarkably the 1,200x stage, which often sees a crashing of scores, produced no change in the order of the top seven Hopton shooters with Rob Lygoe extending his Hopton lead to an impressive 10 points with one of the few scores ever made over 1000 points (1003v129). He finished in style with a 75. Top Scots were Tim Kidner (3rd), Mike Barlow (4th), Mike Baillie-Hamilton (6th) and Hugh Butcher (7th) with 3 more in the top 20. Hannah Fisher won the Brian Green Memorial for top U25 shooter in the Hopton. Full results of the Hopton and other individual matches are here. Continuing his run up the inside Nick Tremlett won the Albert with 221. Angus McLeod, still shooting in the “also rans” detail, caught a rough detail at 1,200x but still came 5th in the Albert and, adding this to his Edge result, should have won the Victoria Aggregate – if only he had entered!
And so to the real deal – the Elcho. Scotland looked strong on Hopton results and got off to a good start winning the 1,000x stage by 3 points helped along by a 75 from Mike Barlow. We should have led after 1,100x but donated a shot to the Welsh. Also we had a minor mix-up in coaching when a halt was called with 1.5minutes of wind on and we restarted with 2minutes – but not in the right direction! These errors let England overtake us by a mere 2 points. All to play for at 1,200x. The conditions continued with a strong headwind angling slightly towards us. At 1,200x the angles were slight and the flags on the left of the range were showing from 11.30 whilst those on the right were showing from 12.30 – a coaches nightmare. It was strong too – had it been square across the range it would have been worth into double figures. In retrospect we had great difficulty seeing what must have been a null point drifting back and forth and points were shed too fast. Scores were mostly determined by when someone shot, not how well they shot and the slower shooters suffered most. Your captain shot the fastest to make the highest score in the team only Vees behind Rob Lygoe of England with top score of the day overall. Hannah Fisher started with a fine 73 and finished with a steady 202 for her first cap in the match. Overall England, whose coaches had had four full days team coaching practice this year, made a significantly better deal of it and came out winners by 36 points. Amongst the others, Ireland started brightly only 4 points behind the English at 1,000x but faded to finish 31 points behind us whilst Wales closed the gap on Ireland to only 6 points by the end. Full details of the Elcho and other team matches are here
We were honoured that both the Earl of Wemyss and March and Lord Elcho joined us. As an experiment (which is likely to be repeated) the match rifle prize giving was held after the Elcho match in the grounds of the English VIII rather than as part of the main Imperial prize giving a week later by which time many MR shooters will have gone home. The Earl of Wemyss presented the main prizes with Lord Elcho presenting the miniature Elcho shields. Afterwards the Scots retired to the Artists for dinner at which the captain announced that Lord Wemyss and Lord Elcho were to be honorary members of the NRCofS.
In various other matches Tim Kidner won the Tribe 1,100x aggregate by Vees from Nick Tremlett and Mike Barlow, Mike Baillie-Hamilton won the Any Rifle and an encouraging three Scots shot in the universities Humphry match. In the interests of marital harmony Mike allowed Paula Baillie-Hamilton to count him out for the Ranken Salver.