Chichester’s marvellous marksmen hit target at Bisley

Rob Dowling and Sara Carr with their Bisley haul of trophies
Rob Dowling and Sara Carr with their Bisley haul of trophies

AFTER the success of the Chichester marksmen in the team competitions at the national championships at Bisley, there were individual successes for them - as well as heartbreak.

The main part of the week’s shooting is competitions which make up the grand aggregate and which determine the classification of the competitors in future national meetings.

Shooting in the highest class, X class, Peter Terry and Rob Dowling comfortably maintained their classification despite the particularly difficult wind conditions with which they were confronted. Dowling won the Samovar Trophy awarded to the junior with the highest aggregate in the 50m competitions. Trying to join them by gaining promotion from A class were club-mates Russell French and Sara Carr and, after five of the six competitions, both were handily placed to finish in a promotion spot.

French consolidated his position by firing 576 out of 600 at 100 yards to earn him a place in X class but Carr struggled and finished with 568, just missing a promotion spot.

Her week’s efforts, though, netted her a number of trophies: the Tunari Cup for the leading junior in the combined aggregate, the David Allsop Memorial Trophy for the leading cadet and the Tracey Wilkes Memorial Trophy for the highest-scoring woman in the regular, territorial services, OTC or cadets.

Carr’s efforts earned her more international honours - she clinched a place in the England junior team in the home internationals match where she was joined by Dowling.

Carr and Dowling were both selected for GB juniors in the Drew match, a postal international against the USA, South Africa and Canada where they posted the two highest scores, Carr 590 from 600 and Dowling 588. Carr was selected for the senior GB women’s team in the Randle match, where she scored a perfect 400.

Last up was the British long-range championship and both Dowling and Carr qualified for the second of three stages.

In that stage, Carr put her earlier disappointment behind her to post the third highest score and comfortably earn her first shoot in the final.

Dowling’s qualification from the 2nd stage was not so comfortable: he tied with two other competitors for the last place in the final.

The tie could not be broken on their 100-yard cards and their 50m cards had to be re-examined to determine the last qualifying place and it was only then that Dowling’s card broke the tie to win a spot in the final.

The final is fired over a Double Dewar course of fire - 40 shots at 50m and 40 at 100 yards and, despite his scrambling qualification, Dowling was in no mood to allow the blustery wind to get the better of him.

He set the pace with a blistering 196 on his first card at 50m while Carr was struggling with the conditions, scoring 184. The second card saw Dowling consolidate his position at the top of the leaderboard with 195, while Carr was starting to get on top of the conditions and fired an excellent 196 with only Havant’s Bill Baird, on 197, doing better.

Things were nicely set up as the match moved into the final throes at 100 yards. Carr closed the gap on Dowling by another point with a 192 to Dowling’s 191, but Baird’s superb championship-winning 198 moved him into pole position four points ahead of Dowling.

Baird’s steady 190 on the final card sealed his win and left Dowling trailing by six points in second place, one place higher than in 2012.

Dowling’s second place earned him the Royal Society of St George Trophy for the English championship, as Baird is Scottish, and the Endeavour Trophy for the British junior championship.

Despite finishing ninth in her first championship final, Carr had to settle for the trophies won earlier in the week.

But this was an excellent week for Chichester’s marksmen and something to aspire to for those about to try the sport of target shooting for the first time.