2019 Imperial Meeting Bisley including Elcho
Full Match Rifle Results on NRA web pages
The Imperial Meeting 2019
10 July 2019
Hot foot from victory at Blair 9 Scottish shooters plus the two target coaches and plotters took to the field for the Lex Lyons against Ireland and, for this year, against an Australian team. As far as was possible the idea was to rehearse the Elcho coaching team, while giving everyone who wanted one, a shoot.
For various reasons it was not possible to shoot 1200 yards so the course of fire was 2 plus 10 at 1000 yards and 2 plus 20 at 1100 yards.
Relatively benign conditions led to some high scores with four 50s at 1000 yards and two 100s at 1100 yards. Jon Sweet didn’t drop a single point. Keith Baxby scored his first possible at 1100 yards and the team average as per the arcane rules was 147, three points off on the whole day.
Taking off the highest scorer and then the three lowest scores to adjust to Ireland, the Scottish average was three points ahead of the Irish at 144.14 and four points ahead of Australia on 143.71, a substantial 21-point win by Scotland.
The Australians introduced an additional prize in the form of the Heritage Trophy. 5 names were nominated after 1,000 yards and total scores computed. Scotland won the handsome bowl by 2 points over Ireland.
Both distances were shot by Messrs Buchanan, Baxby, Blakeney, Crichton Maitland, Fisher, Alex Hunter, Kidner, McLeod, Sweet Thomson and Woodroffe. Target coaches were Fergus and Ron and plotters Hannah and Colin McEachran.
The usual dinner was held in the North afterwards when all present toasted Lex’s memory.
Any Rifle Extras
A truncated Any Rifle competition was held alongside the Woomera practice. The Woomerites were unable to shoot at 1200 yards so there was the unusual sight of 1100 and 1200 being shot on the right-hand side of Stickledown at the same time. The conditions were a foretaste of what was to come with fishtailing winds and heavy mirage. Mike Barlow won the Aggregate, with Hannah Fisher in 7th place, the returned Jim McAllister in 9th place and Allan Campbell-Smith in 10th place.
Whitehead and Halford
The day started quietly enough with gentle winds, mostly left but occasionally fishtailing to catch the unwary. At 1100 yards the wind had got up, fishtailing with a wind bracket of up to 6 minutes for Berger 215s, not so good for TR loads. Heavy and unpredictable mirage added to the fun and many came off happy to have got into the 60s. At 1200 yards it was the same with the added distance.
The Whitehead was won by David Calvert with 149.21, second was Iain Thomson with 148.17. The next scots in the top ten were Tim Kidner at 9th and Jon Sweet at 10th.
The Halford was won by Nick Tremlett who only dropped 4 points on the day. Prominent Scots were Fergus Flanagan (3rd), Iain Thomson (6) and Zoe Woodroffe (7).
At the close of the first day there was a disappointing number of Scots in the top ten of the Hopton, only Fergus Flanagan at 4th with the next highest being Zoe Woodroffe at 15th.
Cottesloe, Wimbledon and Armourers
A fresher sunny morning for the Cottesloe with wind that seemed to be easy to read, fishtailing again, mostly right but with the occasional blast from the left to catch out the unwary. The conditions resulted in 5 possibles, with Jon Sweet for Scotland winning ahead of Paul Monaghan of Australia and David Calvert. The next best placed Scot was Allan Campbell-Smith shooting his 60th Hopton in 15th place.
The Wimbledon again produced fishtailing winds with heavy mirage just to add to the fun. Julian Peck won with a well shot 100.14, hotly pursued by Guy Blakeney with 99.10 and Mike Barlow’s 98.11. Iain Thomson was 6th and Mike Buchanan and Hannah Fisher jointly 7th.
The Armourers was the same mixture as before, possibly a little more readable. Jon Sweet missed winning the Armourers by one point to David Calvert, with a 98.14. Guy Blakeney came 4th, Tim Kidner 6th, Angus McLeod 8th and Iain Thomson 11th. Scottish shooters were perhaps getting to where they should be.
Edge, Five Nations and FW Jones
Calmer conditions were to be had for the Edge with 8 scores of 100 at 1100 yards. To have scored 98 could mean that you were in 41st place. The highest-ranking Scot was Mark Haszlakiewicz at 5th place followed by Silke Lohmann at 6th place with Angus McLeod in 14th place. Well done to Mark and Silke.
Their scores perfectly set them up as members of the winning Five Nations team of unlikely Scots together with Messrs Scaglione and Flanagan.
Scotland fielded an experimental team in the FW Jones which perfectly fulfilled the spirit of the trophy by coming last. Guy Blakeney, Guy Hunter, Colin Hayes and Mark Crichton Maitland took part for the Etonian Shooting Club and came a good second to the rather professional Hopton Supper Club.
The last of the individual shoots, the Albert, dawned bright and clear and although Nick Tremlett was far ahead of the field for the Hopton with no Scot in serious contention, the 15 shots at three distances with no sighters always adds a frisson. Jon Sweet came within one point of winning the Albert for Scotland from David Calvert, with the net Scot being Mike Barlow at 7th place. Tyro Guy Hunter our buccaneering naval surgeon, had a terrific shoot with 74.13, 72.4 and 71.6 and ended in 13th place. Mark Crichton Maitland was delighted to get a v bull with his first shot at 1200 yards to be followed by a confirmed miss for his second after challenge, converted after a couple of minutes to an inner four after a message 4.
Nick Tremlett had a well-deserved win in the Hopton, five points ahead of David Calvert. Top Scot was Mike Barlow at 8th place and Jon Sweet at 9th, Ian Thomson at 11th, Guy Blakeney at 12th, Angus McLeod at 13th, Fergus Flanagan at 16th, Tim Kidner at 17th and Mike Buchanan at 18th. It wasn’t a year for Scots to be in the top ten.
After success against Australia and Ireland, Scotland felt quietly confident. The coaching team of Colin Hayes, Ron Scaglione and Fergus Flanagan were well rehearsed, and Hugh Butcher as Adjutant drove the firers to the point in good time with all their kit and the correct elevations. Sounds simple but an English firer opened up with 8 minutes of elevation lacking at 1,000 yards.
Light winds, a clear sky and a gentle left-handed wind suggested a day of high scores. After 1000 yards Scotland were ahead by 2 points. The 1100 distance was scrappy for Scotland including an unexplained miss and England had a 7-point lead going into lunch. In a very hot afternoon Scotland pulled up a little at 1200 yards but were 5 points behind on the distance, a total margin for England of 12 points. England finished on 1727.189 and Scotland 1715.160. Tantalisingly close. So near, but yet so far.
44 points behind Scotland were Wales with 1617.116 and last were Ireland with 1664.123. The Earl of Wemyss presented the trophies.
This year Australia shot alongside for the MR Overseas Team trophy (aka The Townshend Trophy). The top four scores in the Elcho teams and Australia were taken. England won with 884.15 to Scotland’s 877.88 and Australia’s 872.94
Woomera and Humphry
The Woomera team, captained by Tim Kidner and with Ron Scaglione as Adjutant scored an emphatic victory over Australia with 1758.208 against 1702.143. Scotland not only fielded Captain and adj but also Jon Sweet, Zoe Woodroffe and Guy Blakeney as firers. Man of the match by a long chalk was Irishman David Calvert who scored a perfect 225 out of 225. Congratulations to him and his coach Derek Lowe.
In the Humphry where Cambridge beat Oxford with 837.76 as opposed to Oxford’s 816.46, Scot Fergus Flanagan was the top scorer with 216.27. Fergus has had a great year and we look forward to welcoming his brother Cory as an NRCoS member.
Any Rifle 1200x
In a small field two Scots were notable in the Any Rifle 1200x. Jim McAllister third, but Mike Buchanan first with a terrific 100.12.
Well done to all who undertook eight days of continuous shooting on Stickledown. The weather was kind and the marking fair. Next year will see a return to “normality” without Australians and everything being a day earlier.
As always, our thanks to Rosemary Meldrum for the use of Elcho Lodge, our spiritual home on the range and the focus of our activities and in particular for her Elcho lunch, as well as all those who helped her.
A very special mention goes to Allan Campbell-Smith. 34th in the Hopton, 18th in the Albert, 15th in the Cottesloe in his 60th Hopton. Truly an inspiration. A shoe-in therefore to be Elcho umpire, a role to which he brought great wisdom and impeccable impartiality.
Mark Crichton Maitland