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Bisley shooting competition

Monday 11 to Thursday 14 July saw 10 pupils head to the annual NRA Schools’ meeting at the Bisley National Shooting Centre. The first day saw Milly Gallacher set the first brilliant score at 300yards with 33 out of 35, followed by Rowan, who beat Milly’s score by one v bull. Captain Callum van Beveren was next to raise his game and he continued to perform well at 500 and 600 yards. The team shot well and consistency was good despite some challenging weather.

Day two saw the effects of the weather, with Zach Brettel leaving due to illness, followed by Milly going home during the shoot. With two cadets down by lunchtime, St John’s needed some good news to boost morale. Rowan van Beveren, Callum and Tom Marsh were shooting well but it was Josh Williams who stole the show with a near-perfect score of 35 and 5 v bulls out of a possible 35 and 7. That score would later see him tied for best score at 500 yards and participate in a tie break shoot. Later on, the rain came again and wet rifles meant less consistent scoring.

With better weather on Wednesday the team were prepared and working well to manage the conditions. Our shooting was consistent again and with the adjustments from Jonathan Tapster, team tactics and individual positioning was improved. Josh performed well again and Callum, Ben and Tom showed their experience posting great scores, but it was George Emerson who stepped up with his best scores of the week and the mood in the team was very positive.

When competition day dawned, the sun was shining and six of the eight-man team scored in the 30s - an excellent start. Back to 600 yards, the swirling winds caused all sorts of problems and scores were generally lower. Rowan coped best with those difficult headwinds and posted an impressive 34 with 2 v bulls. Almost everyone in the team improved when we moved to 500 yards giving our eight a strong finish, and it was at 500 yards that our reserve cadet Kiran Coulter gave his best score of the week to finish. On the day it was Cameron McKenzie who shone with his consistent approach paying off and gaining the most points for our team and scoring 32 at every range.

In the main Ashburton shield competition, St John’s scored 709 with 38 v bulls, placing the team 15th out of 28 schools. The team also managed a third place finish in the Army District Queen's Regiment Cup and came 11th in the Cheltenham Cup.

Josh ranked 29th out of 516 cadets in the Silenta Trophy and placed third in the Elizabethan, and George who took a silver medal in the Cadet Gallery Rifle individual competition. A special mention must go to Kiran and his brother Pearce who stepped forward to compete and showed promise for the future.

Deputy Head of Science Chiara Edwards commented: “The relative inexperience of the team was not obvious out on the range until the rain came down and we struggled to cope with the speed at which conditions deteriorated. However, during the week everyone improved and we were pleased to post some solid scores, as well as placing in individual competitions. Tom did well to assist with coaching and showed not only good shooting skills but also the emergence of a great leader. And finally, special mention must go to Callum, captain of the team and selfless coach all week. His dedication to the team is truly remarkable.”

Published on 20/09/2016

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