The Notts RA BP Open Championship Meeting 2014
It hardly seems twelve months since the last open meeting at Thorpe pastures but fortunately this year the weather was kind to us for the whole weekend of 20th - 22nd of June, with none of the rain that marred the Saturday and wrecked the Sunday of the previous meeting. The entry was a little down from previous years due to some of our regular entrants having other commitments. Those that did enter I think enjoyed the weekend and all the scheduled events took place.
Friday, July 20th
As usual the first event was for patched ball rifles at 200 yards, 10 shots off hand and a further 10 from a tripod rest. A variety of rifles are used in this competition ranging from those designed for game hunting in either flint or percussion ignition to military issue rifles of the .577" Enfield type. All have proved to shoot very accurately at this distance.
The target is unusual in that it comprises a 29" circle surrounding an 8" bull superimposed on to the picture of a 1850s period Russian Grenadier. To count the shots must land within the large circle with those hitting the bull being used to split those scores with the same number of hits within the outer circle, if the scores still cannot be divided then the number of shots on the outside of the circle are counted.
This competition suffered the largest drop off in entries for this year with only four competitors. Mike Mott was on the first detail and hit the target board with all of his shots, including one bull (his last shot) unfortunately a number of these were outside the scoring circle. Andrew Russell was also on the first detail and also scored well with two bulls. The second detail was shot by Len Jackson and Jerry Womble who both scored well but not to their usual high standard. The winner proved to be Mike Mott by just one hit. A conventional round bull target was also supplied for those who wished to use it for practice.
Saturday, July 21st
The Saturday free rifle event has the largest entry, but again suffered from absentees, and is shot throughout the day at 400, 300 and 200yds in descending order on conventional round bull targets generally using .451" or .461" target rifles although Bill Parnham and Mike Hunting elected to use the .577" three band Enfield rifles that they would use for the next days competition . The first detail all shot well including Bill Parnham and it was a point of interest as to which of Bill and Mike (shooting on the next detail) would come out with more points as the Enfield's being military rifles cannot keep up with the match rifles everyone else was using. The field kept together well up to the 200yd round with Ken Watson putting in a particularly good score at 400 yards but at 200 yards David Craven, his great friend and rival, fell off a proverbial cliff with a score that put him out of contention. They both travelled down from Newcastle sharing the same car; imagine the long journey home! At the end of the detail Ken was the leader with 117.4, David Minshall 2nd, 112.3, and David Craven 3rd, 92.2.
The second detail set off well enough but could not catch Ken Watson's score of 41.1, Andrew Russell suffered from a wrong sight setting and put himself out of contention from the start. Mike Hunting also needed to make up some ground on Bill Parnham. John Whittaker was the pace setter on this detail and would ultimately record the highest score, at an individual distance, of 44.1 at 200yds. Mike Hunting clawed back a few points from Bill Parnham at 300yds and was one 'V' bull short at 200yds but due to his poor start at 400yds he could not win the battle of the .577s. Martin Tebbs set off very well at 400yds but ran into rifle problems at 300yds and had to retire. John Whittaker was able to record the leading total score for the detail with 119.6, Jerry Womble 2nd, 111.7, and Len Jackson 3rd, 107.4.
Dinner & Prize Giving
With the days shooting completed we returned to our respective accommodation to spruce up for the usual evening meal at the "Coach & Horses" in Fenny Bentley where a good meal is to be had and the prizes for the patch ball and free rifle competitions awarded. The ladies of the competitors also received a small gift in recompense for their partners preoccupation on the range. An attempt is made to keep the results secret until the prize giving but there are those of a forensic inquisitive nature who take notice of the shooting on their own detail and the scoring of the targets when they are in the butts that make this difficult.
The Patched Ball was won by Mike Mott who received an engraved glass and small bottle of a fine Scotch whisky, 2nd was Andrew Russell to whom a bottle of wine was presented and in 3rd place Jerry Womble also received a bottle of wine. The Free Rifle was won by John Whittaker and he received the glass and whisky, 2nd by a narrow margin was Ken Watson, with a bottle of wine to him, and in 3rd place David Minshall receiving the same. As can be seen from the table the leading scores are reasonably close and the first three places were taken by competitors from Cumbria, Newcastle and Bristol. Only three people on the table are residents of Nottinghamshire.
Sunday, July 22nd
Sunday morning is used for the Enfield competition shooting for the Nottinghamshire Rifle Association "Volunteer Cup" at distances of 200, 300 and 400 yards using the .577" muzzle loading Enfield rifle at the square target used in 1861. This target has just three square scoring zones the white with a value of 1, a black with a value of 2 and a bull with a value of 3, the bull however only counts at 200 & 300 yards. Slings are not to be used and the course of fire is much shorter than the modern rifleman is used to with a warming shot at 200yds only followed by one non-convertible sighting shot at each range with just five shots to score. Winning scores used to be in the low 20's, but not for a number of years! The competition for the cup was expected to be intense and so it proved. The scores were very close after the first two ranges and it would be whether you could beat the vague nature of the wind at Thorpe Pastures to stay on target that would be the deciding factor at 400 yards.
After the competition had concluded we gathered in the car park to award the prizes and there was a good deal of uncertainty as to who had won. In the end it was Bill Parnham who had not only stayed on target but had actually remained in the black to give him victory by two points, for which he received the cup he had won the previous year and the glass and whisky to celebrate with. Only a member of a Notts RA affiliated club may win the cup so our friends from outside the county would have had to settle for the glass and whisky. Jerry Womble was 2nd with 30 and in 3rd place was Mike Mott with a score of 29, both receiving a bottle of wine. There was a tight contest for fourth place between Ken Watson and John Whittaker as both ended up on the same total score of 28 but John had the higher score at 400 yards by one point so carried the position. Martin Tebbs had taken the opportunity to try something different with his Enfield; there is always next year Martin!
Acknowledgements & Thanks
That concludes the report of the 2014 Thorpe Open Meeting it just remains for me to thank all those who entered, Muriel Mott for looking after the catering on the range, buying the presents and generally looking after everyone. To Ann Vause for being our chief medical officer and scoring for those who struggle to do two things at once. To Mike Mott for his guidance, support and doing more than his fair share of range officering. To Mike Hunting who was as usual an excellent range officer, enthusiastic helper and tower of strength. To Bill Parnham for his indefatigable target pasting, David Minshall and Jerry Womble who did sterling work with the flags. Thank you all. If I have missed any one, please forgive me, no slight is intended. I hope we shall all meet up to do it all again in 2015.
A Russell, Black Powder Secretary
|Patch Ball||Free Rifle||Volunteer Cup|
|M Mott||13.1||J Whitaker||119.6||W Parnham||32|
|A Russell||12.2||K Watson||117.4||J Womble||30|
|J Womble||10.0||D Minshall||112.3||M Mott||29|
|L Jackson||7.0||J Womble||111.7||J Whittaker||28|
|L Jackson||107.4||K Watson||28|
|A Russell||94.3||D Chambers||27|
|W Parnham||74.2||D Minshall||24|
|M Hunting||59.1||M Hunting||23|
|M Tebbs||53.2||L Jackson||22|