Bisley Autumn 2021
A good quota of Scots turned up in Bisley on Saturday 25th September for one of the last match rifle competitions of 2021: the English VIII Autumn Meeting. The light winds which have defined this year were once again a feature – bad news for those of us who rely on wild gusts to level the playing field and compensate for our more exuberant shots.
1000 yards in the morning on Saturday set the standard high, with Angus Macleod’s 100.18 one of three – and not enough to win the distance, as England’s Mike Judge put in 100.19. There were 14 100s in this first round in total – almost a third of the field – including Ron Scaglione on 100.16 and Zoe Woodroffe on 100.13. 2&15s at 1100 didn’t leave much space for the competition to open up, with another 14 possibles, and it was left to the 2&20s at 1200 to try and create some differentiation. A further three centuries added to the remarkable tally that have been achieved from the 1200 yard firing point at Bisley this year, from John Lindsay with 13 vs, and Scotland’s Jon Sweet (12 vs) and Zoe (11).
At the end of the day, England’s Ken Willingale was in first place, winning the Dram Trophy (awarded by the Irish Rifle Club) with 274.38, with Scotland’s Angus McLeod and England’s Rob Lygoe snapping at his heels, both on 273.45. With a further 17 competitors on 270 or above, it was all to play for on Sunday.
First, though, the assembled competitors had the welcome delight of a reception in the English VIII garden. With wine flowing and nibbles in carefully Covid secure containers, it was an opportunity to enjoy the last of the September sun and warm weather which had graced us thus far.
Sunday morning saw some uncertainty for the early detail, with the targets entirely hidden in a shroud of mist at 8am. By 9, though, it had cleared enough for shooting to commence. As the morning wore on the winds gradually picked up, allowing scores to spread out a little at 1200. By lunchtime the shooting was over, and the results had been tallied. In news which will shock match riflemen around the world, Rob Lygoe claimed the Stamford Young Trophy for the whole meeting, with 447.68. Angus was only one point off in second place, with 446.43, and Zoe took third with 445.57 – a particular achievement given her rifle had been glued back together on Saturday morning and while waiting for the final restorative touches, she shot the first 1000 with a rifle completely un-known to her.
Zoe also took the Ladies Trophy and the Donegall Badge (given to the competitor with the highest score who has not previously won it), and came second in the 1200 aggregate, with Jon Sweet in third. Thomas Nightingale took the Under 25 cup and the Under 25 aggregate of Spring and Autumn to round off Scotland’s success.
Thanks to the English VIII as ever for arranging the competition, and to all shooters for a fine sporting weekend.
Report by Thomas Nightingale, photos by Silke Lohmann