In late March 2019, five Old Suttonian pioneers ventured to Bisley to dust off their rifles and hone their marksmanship skills in the final weeks before the fullbore season officially began. As their scores attest, the long winter break had done little to diminish their shooting prowess. I am immensely proud that, at the beginning of this major year for OSRA shooting, these Old Suttonians displayed not only their talent and potential, but also a collective sense of team commitment and belonging that will doubtless pay dividends in the multiple shoots and competitions looming on the horizon for OSRA.
The day itself was formed as a self-coaching practice day, due to the large amount of self-coached competitions we will be entering, such as the Kent Open and the Imperial Meeting. As the name suggests, self-coaching means that the marksman must read the wind themselves and change their sights accordingly. As such, this article shall cover the individual performance of each shooter.
Tom Fermor doing what comes naturally
Fullbore Captain, Tom Fermor, strode onto the firing point in the early hours of Saturday morning with confidence that only comes from years of experience. Known locally as the grandfather of the group, despite still being in his late twenties, there was high expectation of Tom’s performance. Fortunately, with an elegant calmness, Tom managed to comfortably meet expectations with only one shot falling short of the bull at 300x; 600x was a similar story, at which he scored an impressive 48⁵. Tom proved why he was the 2018 Fullbore Champion.
Anthony Bromley walking off the point after firing his prized Barnard for the first time
Club Captain, Anthony Bromley, was more than a little excited for this early fullbore training. Having recently bought himself a Barnard fullbore rifle, Anthony hoped to try out his investment and see if it improved his shooting. Lying down on the point at 300x, Tom Fermor and Harry Percival watched behind him in case the unsighted rifle fell short of the target. With a sense of triumph, Anthony’s first shot landed in the bull and, despite some teething issues, such as placing his face next to his thumb in such a way that the recoil of the rifle caused his thumb to bruise his face, he was able to finish the day with a respectable 49². A brilliant start to the season.
Chris Dale, Smallbore Captain and dark horse of the group, whose marksmanship talents are the stuff of Old Suttonian legend, was ready to begin the first of many practice shoots before his much-anticipated first foray into competitive shooting at the Imperial Meeting this summer. Using the newly-acquired OSRA Paramount, which we soon realised had been shot in the 1994 Commonwealth Games, unassuming Chris was able to use his marksmanship wizardry to knock in some superbly consistent scores, around the 47 mark. With a relative lack of shooting experience in recent years, Chris’s performance truly was admirable.
Chris Pawlik had quite a journey of progression at the March training. First up to use the new OSRA rifle, Chris was at a disadvantage given that the rifle had yet to be sighted. After many sighting rounds, Chris found the bull, and was able to put in a respectable score, despite fatigue impeding his performance. At 600x, split groups meant Chris could not quite find the bull in his first shoot. Nevertheless, never one to be disheartened, unflappable Chris returned to the firing point with something to prove. For his last shoot, Chris scored a 48⁷, the second best score at 600x, and, given the number of V-Bulls, a truly exceptional shoot. With a lack of experience at self-coaching, this improvement over the course of the day is something he should be proud of.
A beautiful V-Bull from one of our talented Old Suttonians
Young Chris Youngman, the OSRA Club Secretary, journeying to Bisley at the crack of dawn from Brighton on the train, proved that experience was not the be-all-and-end-all. When he took a break from his rampant social media campaign, Chris, having to borrow a jacket at last minute, was able to produce some excellent scores that proved he was more than worthy of a place on the OSRA team. We look forward to seeing what he is able to do with his own jacket; this is certainly a very promising start for his 2019 fullbore shooting.
Last but not least is Senior Advisor, Harry Percival. Locally known as Percy, Harry had been dreaming of the elusive HPS* for many years. March was no different and, with Anthony heckling him from behind the firing point as he got down to shoot at 300x, with largely absent wind, he knew that the pressure was on. On his last to count, with all his shots in at that point, Harry knew that this was a make-or-break moment. Keeping his nerve and calling on his years of experience, Harry lined up the sights and squeezed the trigger. The final bull emerged and Harry, jubilant and with a broad smile, returned from the firing point with an exceptional 50⁴, his first HPS. This is a wonderful success for Harry; OSRA is proud of his great achievement.
The OSRA March Training was a runaway success. As can be seen above, all members who attended performed exceptionally and should be immensely proud of their successes. Special mention must go to Harry Percival’s HPS and Chris Pawlik’s triumphant return to form on his last shoot. This bodes very well for the future OSRA shoots in 2019. We look forward to our next shoot against the RAFSA in April and, long-term, for the 150th Imperial Meeting in July.
Many thanks, as ever, to our sponsor, Blue Fieldsports, for their continued support.
Anthony Bromley (Club Captain)
The Team’s Excellent Scores**
|Anthony Bromley||70⁵ (/75.15)||46⁵||49²|
|Chris Dale||47⁷||47³||34ᶦ (/35⁷)|
*An ‘HPS’ means ‘Highest Possible Score’, which is essentially a full score, disregarding V-Bulls (i.e. 35/35 or 50/50).
**The small numbers top-right of the scores signify the number of ‘V-Bulls’ scored in that shoot. A V-Bull is even more central than a bull, and is worth a score of 5.1. This helps to differentiate scores at top-level.