Following the County shooting competition held on 12 and 13 January 2013 at Altrincham Target Sports Centre, 17 Scouts started regular weekly training for the National Scout Team Shooting Competition to be held in April 2013. A change in the rules this year meant that now only under 13s could shoot air pistol with two hands and rest on the bench to shoot air rifle. In previous years it had been under 14s..
Selecting a team was not easy, with most of the squad being in contention, it was so difficult that the team was not finalised until the day before the actual competition. The team included four members who shot in the 2012 competition, and only two of those also competed in 2011, so you can see that each year their are opportunities for new Scouts to represent the County.
The competition was held on Sunday 14 April, at least we did not lose an hour’s sleep as we had in previous years due to the clocks going forward on the weekend of the competition. The team met at 7.35am and piled into the mini-bus provided by 3rd Altrincham, and headed off for Wolverhampton. There were teams of eight Scouts from 14 Scout Counties taking part, the organisers had hoped for more, after turning some entrants down last year and changing the shooting arrangements to accommodate up to 20 teams.
First off was a safety briefing at 9.30am, followed by the competition starting with air rifle shooting at 10.00am. We had 2hrs 30mins for the whole team to shoot, which is not as long as it sounds for eight people to shoot their 20 shots each, and it was only just enough, the last couple of shooters had no time to waste, but we finished with a minute or so to spare. After a packed lunch, the air pistol shooting started in the afternoon, Again 2.5hrs for the team to shoot, which was done comfortably within the allowed time.
The team scored 1040 in the air rifle and were in sixth place, it was less than in 2012, but the rule change makes it difficult to compare with last year. Unfortunately, one of the air rifles was knocked in transit, resulting in the sight being moved slightly, that cost Alex Gower a lot of points, until we realised what had happened, and then he had to use another rifle that was not sighted in for him. In air pistol the team score was 1138, a total slightly ahead of the 2012 score, which was very good considering the change of rules. The team took 5th place in the air pistol and overall finished up with a total score of 2178, putting the team in 5th place the same position that we achieved in 2012, and with the same counties ahead of us as last year.
This was a great performance by a less experienced team than the 2012 team. The whole team can be congratulated. The challenge for 2014 is to move up to 4th place. This won’t be easy as the top 4 have a long history of shooting and provide many of the Scout national squad members.
It was a team effort, with everyone doing their best for the team. The team’s top scorer was Michael Chinnery, just ahead of Richard Gould. Alex Gower had a good shoot in air pistol and has been invited to join the Scouts National Shooting Squad, congratulations to him.
Regular shooting practice, twice a month on Saturday mornings, will resume in May 2013. Any Scouts in the County who are interested in taking part should contact Ian Jones on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Who knows, maybe you will be in the 2014 team, and get an invitation to join the Scouts National Shooting squad.