Report on the Inter-Plymouth and Plymouth Challenge matches 2009

At 0700 on Sunday 11th October, the aptly named “Target Travel” coach left Plymouth with an 18 strong squad of P & D shooters and a further 5 supporters, bound for Bisley for the 9th Annual Inter Plymouth Match.

But first, a stop at Exeter to pick up 4 more shooters, (part of the opposition in the Plymouth Challenge), a Range Officer and two supporters. A breakfast stop at Taunton Deane allowed us to pick up 2 more Devon shooters.

After a comfortable and uneventful trip we arrived at the Lord Roberts Centre at Bisley, the usual venue for the event. However, this year, the stop there was merely to pick up the paper targets needed to shoot our side of the match on the Melville Range. Less than a fortnight before the match was due to be shot, we had been informed that there had been a double booking and that a wedding reception was due to be held on the Malcolm Cooper Range for 450 guests. We would be therefore be unable to shoot on that range. Alternative arrangements were made to enable us to shoot on the Melville Range, a range on which none of us had shot before. There we met up with 8 more shooters and 2 supporters who had made their own way to Bisley.

It was fairly mild and overcast with very little wind. Ideal conditions for shooting. Of course, it didn’t stay that way, as we had two details of 16 shooters, and as the first card of the first detail started, so too did the rain. But it wasn’t a downpour, it was that steady, cloying type of drizzle and still little if any wind. The wind became apparent with little gusts during the second card but died down again. (That’s my excuse, anyway.)

We competed against the noise of black powder blunderbusses and high power benchrest shooting from further along the range, but the general consensus was that everyone enjoyed shooting on that range. Marking of cards was completed by Andy Bowman and Terry Luxton of Braunton who had been at Bisley for the finals of the NSRA / Eley Air competitions, and came across to Melville as spectators, but ended up ’volunteering’ for the duration of the afternoon, thanks to both of you.  We would also like to thank our hardworking Range Officer, Jock Allan, who also organised the Olympic Final.

Shooting this year was of a very high standard, reflecting the conditions and the determination to overcome the last minute changes. Many people scored personal bests or their best for some time!. It was good to see that no fewer than nine people shot 580 or better. (5 from Plymouth and 2 each from Devon and the Rest of the West.). This of course meant that in our ‘Olympic Final’ for the top eight of the day, a score of 580 was eliminated! Having been top scorer of the day, with 588, Pete Hobbs (Plymouth) just held on to beat Tony Coulson (Rest of the West) to win the Olympic Final. We then had dinner, the prize giving and raffle at the City Rifle Club and boarded the coach for the long journey home, arriving in Plymouth at about 2315.

A long but satisfying day, enjoyed by all.  (John Alexander - Organiser)