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Around half the Scots contingent assembled on the morning of pre Thursday for the Lex Lyons match. Several members seemed less than fully ready for the Imperial with three people recording misses either to start or immediately thereafter. Some members were also struggling with the heat of 32°C - especially those newly arrived from the north. Despite this some steady scores were made including a 148 by Fergus Flanagan. The Irish were also shooting steadily and slightly out-shot us. Through Dave Calvert’s 148 with a superior V count they also claimed the top individual score. A convivial dinner was held in the NLRC at which Peter Hobson very kindly presented the two teams with prints of the Scottish and Irish shooters at the Creedmore Matches.
Friday saw most of the Scots competing in the Any Rifle Extras with Mike Baillie-Hamilton and Guy Blakeney topping three of the four prize lists. It was though galling to see the English VIII practising alongside with no less than 32 shooters plus 5 coaches. It is also worth noting that this was their third practice of the season – a level of team practice which it is almost impossible for us to match.
Saturday brought the start of the Hopton with Nick Tremlett and George Barnard winning the Whitehead and Halford respectively. Sunday brought wins for Dave Calvert, John Lindsay III and Rob Lygoe in the Cottesloe, Wimbledon and Armourers respectively. The latter was enlivened by a helicopter trying to make an emergency landing in front of the firing point while the first detail was still in progress. Presumably after spotting a multitude of frantically waving arms, the pilot struggled on to the clay ranges where the helicopter was parked up for three days until the air accident investigators took it away on a lorry. NRA personages were seen sizing it up for some ground rent or perhaps even ownership of the asset set upon the ground. At this stage the Hopton leaders were the 5 trophy winners to date headed by Lygoe. Six Scots were though lurking in the next ten places headed by Angus McLeod. Thankfully the temperatures had abated slightly. The wind remained consistently inconsistent and quite often a moderately strong headwind.
So far no Scot had won a trophy but Mike Baillie-Hamilton put that right with a single point win in the Edge on Monday. In the afternoon an NRCofS development team of Lassies and Lads put up a solid performance in the FW Jones to secure second place against a huge score from the Hopton Supper Club whose team looked suspiciously like half an English VIII VIII.
And so to the deciding Albert with Nick Tremlett leading Rob Lygoe by a single point and Dave Calvert only a few more behind. The rest of the field were effectively already out of the race. After five dry days rain finally arrived – not just some but bucketfulls. Thank goodness the ROs delayed the first detail at 1,100x until the rain stopped as the targets were nigh on invisible. The second detail did get mildly wet. Nick Tremlett was uncharacteristically out of tune with the wind at 1,200x and Rob, with a score of 222, overtook him to win his third Hopton by two points. Calvert also faded slightly to be overtaken by Mike Baillie-Hamilton and Angus McLeod in that order. Rob also won most of the various aggregates. Fergus Flanagan had a hand in all three of the largest money prizes by winning the Brian Green Memorial (Top U25, Hopton) and by loading for Fenella Chesterfield who won the Ogden (Top Tyro, Hopton) and Tyro Cup (Top Tyro, Albert) – if golf caddies get 10% of the prize money should ammo loaders also get 10%?
And so to the Elcho where we adopted a new combination of coaches and had a new cap in the form of our treasurer Zoe Woodroffe. Initially we almost matched the English but then a technical gremlin struck with two misses and a magpie caused by a wrong sight setting. This setback was always going to be difficult to overcome but the effort was maintained and more steady scores were made including a purple patch of three possibles to start at 1,100x. Eventually we ran out only a modest 23 points behind the English of which margin the gremlin had cost us half. If only the gremlin had struck the English it would have been a 1 point match. Our best range was 1,200x where the English seemed to wait for magpies whilst we finished moderately quickly, with only one magpie and with only one point less than the English. Ireland also suffered some minor gremlins allowing Wales to take third place. Fergus Flanagan made considerable amends for his gremlin by coaching not just the top score of the match but the top two scores across all four teams in the match. Mike Baillie-Hamilton’s individual score of 224.25 was the highest recorded in any Elcho match except for Neil Fyfe’s score of 224.26 back in 2003. Ron Scaglione was just a point behind in only his second appearance in the match. Once again the Earl of Wemyss and March attended as our guest and handed out the match shields. The day was finished off with a well attended Scottish dinner in the Army TSC clubhouse.
Scottish prize winners:
Mike Baillie-Hamilton – Any Rifle, Edge, Ranken, Victoria Aggregate
Fergus Flanagan – Brian Green Memorial
NRC of S Open Spring Meeting
Bisley Spring Meeting
Full Results on English VIII web site
From a Scottish perspective the Bisley Spring meeting started with a squad practice on Friday 5th May with 15 members rehearsing their shooting and coaching skills. Highlight of the day though was a dinner arranged by Silke with help from Hannah, Zoe and on the liquid front by Mark. The dinner was much enjoyed by all.
The weekend 6th/7th May brought the first big Match Rifle competition of the season - the Combined Clubs Spring meeting run jointly by the English VIII, NRC of Scotland and the Welsh Rifle Association. It saw a record entry of 78 competitors, 13 of them ladies and a high percentage of under-25 shooters.
It was shot in conditions not usually associated with the month of May, both on the temperature and the wind front. The Saturday challenged those who started their season that day with some strong wind from the right. Luckily it proved to be pretty steady so scores were reasonably high. Sunday’s wind was less strong but also less steady, especially by the time competitors got to the final 1200 yards where mirage and a fish-tailing wind definitely challenged many of the competitors. The day started with winter temperatures which were replaced after lunch by bright sunshine and a quick rise in temperature.
Ron Scaglione, part of the expanding Scottish squad, won the Saturday competition shot over 1000, 1100 and 1200 yards (15 to count) with 223.32, a point ahead of Rob Lygoe and a point and three V-Bulls ahead of fellow Scot Fergus Flanagan. Despite attempts by several competitors to stop Flanagan's continuous success on Sunday, he managed the day’s winning score of 222.32, one V ahead of fellow Scot John Sweet and two ahead of Englishman Rob Lygoe. In the end he wasn't able to snatch all the trophies from Lygoe, who won overall (The Welsh Rifle Association Aggregate) with 444.62 ... only one V ahead. Irish shooting hero David Calvert came third with a 441.61.
The 1200 yards aggregate went to John Lindsay III, still suffering from jet lag, he was clearly excelling at long distance and his 147.13 meant he was a point ahead of Sweet and Flanagan. Hannah Fisher won the Ladies' trophy with 427.43 ahead of Kate Fitton and Loulou Brister whilst the Under 25 trophy was won ... yes, you may have guessed it ... by Fergus Flanagan with ex-Cambridge Hannah Fisher in second and ex-Oxford Hattie Mansell in third place.
Each of the three nations handed out their club prizes to their top shots: England – Rob Lygoe (444.62), John Lindsay III (440.50), Si Whitby (437.46) Scotland – Fergus Flanagan (444.61), Ron Scaglione (440.59), John Sweet (439.59) Wales – Loulou Brister (423.37), Andy Burgess (206.12), Gareth James (137.13)
RCO Instruction Manual (Edition Seven)
Latest NRA RCO Instruction Manual is now available from the NRA web site.