The start of the Match Rifle section of the 2022 Imperial Meeting was Friday 8th July. This occurred on Monday 11th July. The 8:30am 1000yd first detail commenced at approximately 10am. The 10-shot course of fire lasted for 15 shots. The second morning distance of 1100yds taking place after lunch. None of this was the Any Rifle, or The Hopton but The Ashes.
If you are then please have some sympathy for the NRA, and for the GB Match Rifle Team in conjunction with the English VIII Club! Last week an extensive fire swept its way through the danger area. With peat-soil heath fires being hard enough to deal with even when there isn’t unexploded WWII ordnance in its path, all shooting stopped. Plans changed rapidly, and repeatedly. With the full Hopton not being viable (at least not right now), the GBMR Team stepped in to organise “The Ashes” (aka “Nopton”). Almost 80 competitors took up this last-minute opportunity. The word “success” is already well deserved.
The Ashes – Day 1
With the technical support of the English VIII’s state-of-the-art squadding & stats systems (who we cannot thank enough), day 1 went well. A small flare-up first thing required some attention from the Surrey Fire Brigade in the danger area. This caused a slightly later start and revised course of fire. The fickle winds that had challenged firefighters also challenged many shooters. There was only two possibles (75 ex 75) on the range. Ken Willingale led the pack with a 75.9v (ex 75.15v), with Nick Tremlett 2 Vs behind on 75.7v.
If 1000 yards was challenging, 1100 yards was downright hard. Most would have been glad of the reduced course of fire to 10 shots. This reduced their exposure to a sound kicking by the wind. Unusually no possibles (50 ex 50) prevailed. Only two 49s was recorded. Norman Clark and Gary Alexander lead the charge with an impressive 49.6v (ex 50.10v) each.
Gary had clearly found his rhythm as we fell back to 1200 yards to achieve the only possible 75.11v (ex 75.15v). This left him two points clear of his nearest competitor at 1200 yards. Jon Sweet leading the chasing pack of 15 other shooters recording 70 or more with 73.7v. The rest had to contend with scores below that threshold.
In his usual style, the day’s leader just got on with it. Building steadily on his strong 1000 yard start, Nick Tremlett’s 48.7v (ex 50.10v) and 71.4v (ex 75.15v) saw him finish the day on 194.18v (ex 200.40v). Gary Alexander second by one point (193.23v) and Will Meldrum third (192.19v).
The Ashes Prize Giving
Prizegiving for day one was, in true Match Rifle style, an inclusive celebration of achievement. With all attendees being eligible for a prize. Exact numbers present are believed to be at least one… It appears the bar may have been more appealing to many at the end of a blistering hot day, which is probably not unreasonable.
The forecast for the remaining two days of The Ashes is similar to day one. So let’s hope we don’t have anymore delayed starts or need to reconvene the volunteer Fire Marshalls.
Day 1 and Live Results
The full results of the first day of The Ashes as well as live results of the competitions still taking place can be found here. Our thanks goes to the English Eight Club for their technical support in arranging the entries, squading and live results at the last minute.