Report on the Inter-Plymouth and Plymouth Challenge matches 2010

At 7 o’clock on a misty Sunday morning, a coach in the livery of “Target Travel” left Plymouth carrying members of the Plymouth and District Small-bore Rifle League and supporters.

A stop at Exeter to pick up some of the opposition ('Rest of the West') was followed by a welcome breakfast break at Taunton Deane on the M5. By the time we reached the A303, the mist had cleared and the sun was shining strongly. It was windy, but it had been windy for a couple of days so we thought it should be blowing itself out by now.

At noon we arrived at the Lord Roberts Shooting Centre at Bisley to be met by more of the Plymouth and ‘Rest of the West' members who had either made their own way that morning or had stopped overnight at Bisley. Jock and Anne Allen had thankfully flown in from Belgium in time to look after the Range Officer duties, and organise an Olympic Final at the end of the match. (He knows how these electronic targets work).

Our first detail of 14 shooters started on time at 1300 hours. At this time the wind was strong, VERY strong, with frequent gusts in different directions. Wind flags at 40 metres showed the wind blowing from the East, no, the West, no, the South or was it North, no wait a minute, the flag to my left is blowing to the right, and the flag on my right is blowing to the left. Following a strong gust, one is pointing towards me and the other is pointing at the target! What do you do. Close your eyes, pray and hope for the best! Right! The flags have been steady as just described, for about a minute. There must be a vacuum between those two flags! Fire! 10.9, - the perfect shot. - I can’t believe it. Do the same again. “*!!*xx” (Shorthand for Bother!) it’s a 7.4 to the left. - Must have been me. Go again . Oh, no! it’s an 8.1 to the right. Oh well, just carry on, - can’t do anything about the shots already gone. - just try to catch the same wind and avoid the gusts. My final score shows I did get some success towards the end, but the beginning was very expensive, so the overall result was NOT good - my lowest ever score on that range!

Whilst the second detail is under way, I start entering the scores from the printouts. It wasn’t looking good. In fact it looked terrible. Only 4 scores in excess of 570 - and they were all shooting for the Rest of The West. Plymouth’s chances in the Challenge match weren’t looking good. Then the scores began to trickle in for the second detail. Things weren’t looking much better until …Pete Hobbs,  just how does he do it? 586 in those conditions and that’s 7 points clear of the second place scorer, Terry Kurn of Cornwall, shooting for the 'Rest of The West'. Once all the scores were in, it became clear that the ‘R o’ the W’ had beaten Plymouth soundly in the Challenge match of 6 per team, but if we managed to have other 10 a side teams, then Plymouth were in front.

The ‘Olympic Final’ sponsored by Dave Reed’s “Banana Frog Cars” was then organised by Jock. The top eight shooters of the day were called to fire 10 more shots each, with scores being announced after each timed shot.. The contenders were Pete Hobbs, Terry Kurn, Claire Broderick, Mike Frizzle, Phil Ralph, Mike Schopman, Lloyd Bond and Jim Mackie. The result was a clear victory for Pete Hobbs on 101.5, from Mike Frizzle on 100.7 and Claire Broderick on 99.4.

The intrepid shooters and their supporters then made their way to the “City Rifle Club” where they enjoyed a meal (and bar facilities). Pete Hobbs was presented with the P&D Open Individual 50m Champion Rose Bowl and the “Banana Frog Cars Trophy as winner of the Olympic Final. Then followed the long trip home and the wait for the overseas scores to find out how we fared in the International Inter-Plymouth Match. Those results are now in, and are described in detail in the Stats section. In short, congratulations are due to New Plymouth in New Zealand who, for the first time, won the Match. with a score for their team of six of 3425. We were 2nd with 3418 and Plymouth New Hampshire were 3rd on 3399. In the Plymouth Challenge, those teams all drop a place to be headed by the “Rest of the West” on 3433. The Team of 10 version resulted in a win for Plymouth UK in both the Inter-Plymouth Match and the Challenge. Subject to costs, the next match should be held on Sunday October 9th 2011. Congratulations (or commiserations) to all who took part and here’s to next year when we will aim to regain the title!

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