Report on the Inter-Plymouth and Plymouth Challenge matches 2011

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.

On a pleasantly mild October morning, 22 marksmen from Plymouth, and 2 from Cornwall plus a magnificent total of 8 supporters gathered at Plympton eagerly awaiting the arrival of a coach bearing the insignia “Target Travel”.

Despite the initial panic on hearing that two people had left their rear sights “at the club” and were waiting for someone with a key in order to retrieve them, the coach still left on time.

The next hiccough was the fact that the car park at Sowton, Exeter, where we usually pick up some of the Devon shooters, is now kept locked over the weekend! Fortunately I had discovered this a few days earlier and we picked up 3 shooters, our Range Officers and a couple of supporters from the nearby Industrial Estate.

Onwards to Taunton Deane on the M5 for the ‘breakfast stop’ and to pick up 2 more Devon shooters. The third ‘challenge’ then arose as we found out that Junction 25, where we normally turn off to proceed to the A 303 was closed. Roadworks over the weekend (and longer!). No problem - straight up the M5, then M4 at Bristol and turn off at Junction 10, taking the A329(M) and A322 past Bracknell and Bagshot. Despite the extra 20 miles or so, we still arrived at the Lord Roberts Centre at Bisley Camp in good time for our match. There we were greeted by more shooters and spectators. 1 Plymouth shooter, 1 from Devon, 6 from Dorset and 1 from Gloucestershire. They were accompanied by yet another 5 supporters. The first squad of 17 shooters started on time at 1300.

There was a bright sun reflecting off the concrete wall behind the targets and a VERY fickle wind. Despite all this, everyone seemed to enjoy their shoot (some more than others) and the top eight shot an exciting Olympic Final where the lead changed hands no fewer than five times. In the end it was a clean sweep for the girls. The winner was Erika Lawrence of Weymouth, Dorset, shooting for the Rest o’ the West , Claire Bamford (nee Broderick) of Devon was second with Ann Travis also Devon, ensuring an all female podium by taking third place.

Everyone then retired to the City Rifle Club where the usual warm welcome awaited us from Pam and Sara and the gang.

After the meal, the Bisley side of the results were announced. Plymouth USA were shooting at almost exactly the same time as us, so their scores would not be known for 24 hours. New Plymouth in New Zealand were hoping to shoot their cards a fortnight later. The Rest o’ The West won with a score of 3423, Plymouth A were second on 3400 and Devon were third on 3382. In the UK, a number of P & D trophies were up for grabs. The Open 50 metre Champion was Phil Ralph of Cornwall (shooting for The Rest o’ the West). The P & D (closed) Club Teams of Three was won by Yealmpton as was the Lord Mayor’s Shield for the Open Club Teams of Three. Stuart Horton of Yealmpton was awarded his “International Pin” for making the Plymouth A team for a second time.

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

Stop Press:
Plymouth USA - 3124 and New Plymouth NZ - 3370