For a small club, with just a 4-lane indoor range, we consistently achieve more than you would think in competitions. This was certainly true this year at the National Small-bore Championships help at Bisley in August.
Some of the highlights:
Middlesex won the Queen Alexandra Cup Final
Ruislip members had competed against marksmen from all over Middlesex in earlier rounds to claim 5 of the 6 places in the County team for the final. This competition places an emphasis on rapid, as well as accurate, shooting. The competition has been shot since 1907, with a gap of 6 years in the second world war, making it one of the oldest smallbore rifle competitions.
Middlesex won the final this year, beating Surrey and Essex by one point.
In the concurrent club competition for teams of three, Ruislip came 3rd after tying on overall score with second-placed Ashford & District (from Kent), and only 8 points behind Bedford, a much larger and highly respected club.
From the Monday to Thursday of Bisley Week there are six individual competitions, each shot in five classes of varying ability. A seventh competition is the aggregate of all six, and the scores in this competition are used to determine changes to competitors' classes for future competitions. In each class, the top 10% are promoted to the next higher class, and the bottom 10% are demoted to the class below. Two Ruislip members were already in the highest class (class X), two more earned promotion to the next higher class, and two more only missed promotion by a small margin.
Ken Bowley (X) and Leah Brough (B) both won their class in the aggregate, Ken's performance all the more remarkable as he won the highest class by a margin of 6 points from his nearest rival!
Maria Popham came 3rd in the class C aggregate, and also came 3rd in competition 5 (60 shots at 50 metres).
Ruislip members again made up five-sixths of the Middlesex team in the County Sextette competition, a Dewar match (20 shots each at both 50m and 100 yards) shot on the Thursday. After a dry and pleasantly warm start to the week, Thursday provided a change in that it was wet - very wet, in the morning. The wind, however, was much the same, coming from the front and left, and varying in both strength and direction, often switching round and coming from the right. In these conditions the team, assisted by another Ruislip member as wind coach, came a creditable third behind Essex and Cheshire.
Earl Roberts (British Championship)
Saturday saw the culmination of the week, with the final of the British Championship. The first stage, on Friday morning, had seen over 250 competitors reduced to just over 100, who would compete in the second stage on Saturday morning. Ruislip had four representatives shooting in the second stage, either in the main Earl Roberts competition, or the "Bobs" competition for B, C and D classes. Ken Bowley, a former British Champion, narrowly missed the top twenty cut for the final, but Leah Brough was through to the final of the Bobs. Before the final, though, Ruislip represented Middlesex in the final of the Astor County Championship.
The first stage of the Astor, shot on clubs' home ranges, establishes which club from each county shall have the honour of representing their county in the final. The Ruislip team of Ken Bowley, Jane Newing, Clive Garnham, Richard Brown, Leah Brough and Tim Shipman came a very creditable third, behind Bedford and Appleton (Cheshire) and ahead of such formidable clubs as East Grinstead (Sussex), Windsor (Berks) and Bookham (Surrey).
For the first time in some years, Ruislip found itself without a representative in the 20 elite shooters competing for the British Championship. We did, however, have Leah Brough shooting for the Bobs Final. After a tense and hard-fought Double Dewar (40 shots at 50m and 100 yards) watched by many competitors who had not been successful in reaching the final, Leah emerged as the winner of the Bobs.
Two of Leah's fellow Ruislip members plotting her shots for the benefit of the spectators.
Others were enjoying themselves while Leah worked hard...
Leah, waiting for the targets to be scored officially, and the result declared.
The Prize Presentation
The last official business of the week was the presentation of cups, trophies and other major prizes. As you can see from the photo below, Ruislip came away from this year's Bisley meeting with an impressive haul of silverware.