Despite being barely a year old, OSRA has recently been sending members to represent Kent through the Kent County Rifle Association (KCRA). Due to the general decrease in shooting numbers, and particularly the haemorrhage of young shooters post-university, OSRA is in a unique position to provide a significant boost to KCRA numbers.
What the KCRA did not expect was that OSRA members were capable of performing to a highly competitive level. As a club, we are proud to represent our county, and look forward to continuing to do so in the future. This article will capture this pride by representing some of the individual experiences of the members who had the privilege of shooting for Kent over the last couple of months.
KCRA vs. Royal Navy
OSRA’s first tentative steps into county shooting manifested in the Royal Navy match, in which Chris Dale, Chris Pawlik, and Richard Cantillon waved the OSRA flag, constituting three of the team of eight. Overall, KCRA narrowly beat the Navy at long range, by just a couple of points, and at short range by just one V Bull.
More importantly for OSRA, our marksmen had the opportunity to meet the Kent team, with experienced shooters like Peter Griggs (Ashford; Kent; GB) and Colin Waldron (Ashford; Kent; Wales) on hand to offer invaluable advice to the novice shooters.
OSRA has allowed me to continue and develop full-bore shooting through regular practice and competitions that occur throughout the year. In April this year, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Kent team (KCRA) that shot against the Royal Navy Target Rifle Club (RNTRC). I have never competed at this level before and was up for the challenge. It was also a great opportunity to ask questions and learn a trick or two from highly experienced shots. Shooting with Kent has definitely improved my shooting habits both on and off the point. One of my most memorable moments was when Peter Griggs (a GB shot) apologised for not moving my sights a minute to the right after scoring a 49.6. This made me realise how important (and frustrating) wind coaching can be! I look forward to representing Kent again in the future.
The Team for the Navy match (left to right): Richard Cantillon; Chris Pawlik; Chris Dale.
Inter-Counties: the KGV (King George V)
On 12th May, Anthony Bromley and Tom Fermor were selected to take part in the first round of the KGV. The KGV is an inter-county competition, first shot between counties in a region, and then shot by the victors in a second round. Kent was pitted against Sussex and Surrey, as it is every year. Surrey has a reputation for top-class shooting, and, given that they were able to draft in the likes of Bill Richards (GB) to coach, Kent was in for a tough competition.
Despite some of its most experienced shooters unavailable, such as Peter Griggs and Peter Bromley (Ashford; Kent; GB), the KCRA was still able to put out a strong team. Chris Weeden (GB) captained the team, with Peter Merry and Robin Baker as coaches. Of course, Kent’s chances were significantly bolstered by the presence of Anthony and Tom.
Overall, the ‘Queen’s 1’ match of 300x, 500x, and 600x resulted in Kent coming in third with 1008, Sussex coming in second place with 1010, and Surrey comfortably taking the top spot with 1036. Despite not positioning high, Anthony and Tom can be proud for positioning well within the Kent team itself, coming in at third and fourth respectively of the team of eight.
Despite having shot in many team competitions before that came with their own pressures, such as for the Durham University and Exeter University teams, shooting for Kent, with its air of experienced professionalism, was an entirely different experience for me. My family has a long history of shooting for Kent: my Dad, Mike Bromley, and my Uncle, Peter Bromley, have both shot for Kent since they were my age, with my Uncle now being the Treasurer of the KCRA. As such, when I got down to shoot at 300x, I was more nervous than I expected. Nevertheless, the calmness of Robin Baker’s coaching, coupled with Chris Weeden’s compliments of my shooting post-plotting, gave me the confidence to keep shooting to a high standard. I thoroughly enjoyed shooting with and learning from the Kent team. It confirmed my belief that OSRA’s relationship with the KCRA is invaluable and should be safeguarded for the foreseeable future.
Anthony Bromley (Club Captain)
All those who have shot for Kent so far will be shooting in the Kent Open on Sunday 9th June, and in a Kent Schools’ Match on Saturday 8th June, at which we hope to see the Sutton Valence School team in competition. It will doubtless be the perfect opportunity for OSRA to further showcase its standard of marksmanship for all of Kent to see.