There will be few meetings in the lifetime of the OSRA that will court such success as 2021. With multiple Old Suttonians having not shot the 151st Imperial in 2020 due to Covid, there was brimming enthusiasm in the seven OS entrants for the week to come. Within the various individual successes, which will be mentioned in detail below, one glorious team achievement must be mentioned first.
After a successful Imperial of individual shooting – as well as a successful season of shooting for Kent before that – Chris Dale and Anthony Bromley were selected to represent Kent in both the Inter-Counties Short Range and Long Range Matches. The Short Range is shot over 500x and 600x, each with one sighter and ten shots to count; the Long Range is over 900x and 1000x with the same course of fire.
Shooting amongst GB heavyweights, such as Chris Weeden, Peter Bromley, Peter Griggs, and Theo Dodds, Anthony and Chris were able to hold their own, dropping just one point between them: Anthony scored 100.11 and Chris 99.16. This contributed to Kent’s record score at short range: 797.119, which also beat the record score of the competition. Unfortunately, Surrey finished with an exceptional 799.127, taking the title. Long Range was a similar story, with Surrey taking the title by just eight V-Bulls, an incredibly close match that firmly placed Kent centre-stage as an up-and-coming county to be reckoned with.
To say that two Old Suttonians contributed to the record score of Kent at short range is an unprecedented achievement, especially for a fledgling rifle club in only its fourth year of existence. This certainly bodes well for aspiring Kent shooters within the OSRA.
Decorated Dale and Triumphant Ted
For individual successes, special mention must be made to Chris Dale and Ted Ervine. Chris managed to get on nearly every prize list, being a T class who shot as well as an A class. As such, Chris will now be an A class in his next Imperial and took home the Fullbore Champion Tankard for coming top score in the Grand Aggregate (130th), beating Club Captain Anthony Bromley by three points (170th).
Young Ted returned home triumphant for breaking his T, meaning that he will be O class next Imperial, and for coming 13th in the Young Rifleman’s Aggregate. Ted should be especially commended for scoring an exceptional 73.10 in the Wimbledon (600x). Ted also came home laden with the phone numbers of many of the girls on camp, as he found them stuck to his car on the final morning of the Meeting.
A big thank you to Harry Percival for becoming club chef for much of the Meeting, creating tantalising dishes from just a pot and a camping stove. This certainly saved Ted from having to visit his fans at the LMRA too frequently.
Congratulations also to Freddie Pawlik for his first Imperial, much of which was new and strange (as target rifle shooting often can be), but following which he seems even more enthusiastic to spend his (wedding) money on shooting. He should be especially commended for missing out on the second stage of the Queens by just one point.
After an unprecedented year of uncertainty, OSRA has emerged from the damp and dreary winter of lockdowns stronger than ever as a team. The camaraderie that developed during the course of the Meeting – whether it was sat around Chef Percival preparing a delicious meal, or enjoying a refreshing drink at the LMRA, where Ted rapidly became a celebrity – was palpable. I have no doubt that, with Kent now having realised the raw talent on show in OSRA, the future remains bright with the glint of silverware.