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Nottinghamshire Rifle Association

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The Notts RA BP Open Championship Meeting 2015

Friday the 19th June witnessed our annual return to this iconic range in the wilds of Derbyshire with competitors from the length and breadth of the country assembling to take part in a diverse and challenging program of events.

Friday's Patched Ball Competition

Patched Ball Scores
J Womble13.3
L Jackson9.1
M Mott8.0
D Pleuka7.1
M Tebbs7.0
A Fuller6.0
W Parnham5.0

The weather was not out to cause trouble for the eager competitors of the first event which as usual was the Patched Ball at 200yards; this requires ten shots to be taken off hand at the now familiar Crimean war era Russian Grenadier target and a further ten shots again standing , but resting your wrist on a tripod. The rifles may be flint lock or percussion of any calibre so long as they fire a patched ball, although they were not designed to fire a round ball originally the pattern 1853 Enfield rifle is perfectly able to put in winning scores in this event.

There were eight competitors in this event (many people who shoot the Enfield competition on the Sunday miss out by not entering this one also as all they need extra are suitable round ball, patches and powder charges). Richard White entered for the first time with an original Baker rifle but unfortunately had to withdraw due to technical problems, while the variable airs of Thorpe Pastures seem to have got the better of even the most experienced shooter. Jerry Womble walked away the winner with a score of 13 and 3 'bulls eyes', Len Jackson from Dorset was 2nd with 9 and 1 'bulls eye', Mike Mott was 3rd with 8 hits while skilfully avoiding the 'bulls eye', 4th place went to David Pleuka with 7 hits and 1' bull', 5th place went to Martin Tebbs with 7 hits, just one 'bull' behind Mr Plueka, 6th place went to Anthony Fuller with six hits, Bill Parnham was one hit behind Mr Fuller with 5, an un-Bill-like performance from Mr Parnham.

Saturday's Free Rifle Competition

Free   Rifle   Scores
J Whittaker126.6
D Minshall109.2
D Chambers91.1
L Jackson90.2
M Tebbs89.1
D Pleuka85.0
M Palk70.1
W Parnham66.0
J Womble65.0
D Craven26.1

The whole of Saturday the 20th, was taken up with the Free Rifle competition comprising 400, 300 and 200 yards in that order. It is usually the best supported of the weekend, however this year a number of people were forced to withdraw at various stages, a great pity for themselves and the event as a whole. Ten competitors recorded a score of whom John Whittaker took home first prize with a combined score of 126.6 (leading the field at all three ranges), in 2nd place was David Minshall with 109.2, 3rd was Dennis Chambers with 91.1, 4th Len Jackson 90.2, 5th Martin Tebbs 89.1, 6th David Pleuka 85, 7th Malcolm Palk 70.1, 8th Bill Parnham 66, 9th Jerry Womble 65, and finally after having to withdraw after the first range David Craven with 26.1.

Following the end of the day's proceedings we all scuttle back to our accommodations and prepare for the evening meal at the Coach & Horses, Fenny Bently, where we award the prizes for the first two days competitions.

Sunday's Volunteer Cup Competition

Sunday 21st sees the final event of the weekend in the form of a competition for Enfield 1853 pattern minié rifles with just five rounds to count at each of 200, 300 and 400yards fired at a square target of the 1861 type where the aiming mark is a 24" black square with an 8" bulls eye. The score values are 3 for a bulls eye, 2 for the aiming mark and 1 for the white at 200 & 300 yards while at 400 the whole black counts for 2 and the white again for 1.

Fourteen people took part in this interesting and challenging competition, two more than started the Free Rifle event. The first distance of 200yds completed with David Craven, John Whittaker and Bill Parnham leading the field together on 13. Bill was the defending champion again and had no desire to part with the cup on which he has lavished so much 'Silvo'. The rest of the field were close behind; Anthony Fuller 12, Ken Watson 11, Len Jackson, David Minshall, Denis Chambers, Mike Mott and new comer Robin Scott all five on 10. Mike Hunting and David Pleuka both had 9, Jerry Womble who is usually a dead eyed Dick with the Enfield had 8 leaving Martin Tebbs struggling with technical issues on 6.

Markers in Action

300yds proved to be more of a challenge with the variable wind making its presence known. The two top scores at this distance were Jerry Womble and John Whittaker both with 10, David Craven and Bill Parnham 9, Ken Watson and Mike Mott 8, Mike Hunting and Denis Chambers 7, David Minshall 6, David Pleuka and Tony Fuller 5, Martin Tebbs and Len Jackson 4, Robin Scott 2.

400yds can really be a nightmare when the wind decides to take a hand; some people seem to be impervious to its effects though. Robin Scott got the better of the conditions and scored 9 along with John Whittaker, Len Jackson and Bill Parnham 8, David Minshall and Mike Mott 7, Tony Fuller 6, Mike Hunting, David Pleuka, Ken Watson all with 4, Jerry Womble, David Craven, Denis Chambers all with 3, Martin Tebbs a lonely 1.

Volunteer Cup Scores
J Whittaker32
W Parnham30
M Mott25
D Craven25
D Minshall23
A Fuller23
K Watson23
L Jackson22
R SCott21
J Womble21
M Hunting20
D Chambers20
D Pleuka18
M Tebbs11

While the winners of this competition are awarded prizes as in the previous matches of the weekend only the top Nottinghamshire competitor may receive the prestigious 'Volunteer Cup' and this honour is eagerly sought for amongst the qualifying entries. Sometimes it has been known for a Nottinghamshire competitor to win the cup outright; but not on this occasion. John Whitaker accumulated a combined score of 32 for first place, Bill Parnham just behind with 30 for 2nd place, Mike Mott took 3rd by virtue of a better score at 400yds from David Craven 4th both on 25, David Minshall 5th again counting out Tony Fuller 6th who in turn counted out Ken Watson 7th by better 400yds scores respectively, all three on 23, Len Jackson 22 for 8th place, Robin Scott 21 for 9th place decisively beating Jerry Womble on the 400 yards to put him at 10th with the same score of 21. Once again the 400 yard score had to be used to break a deadlock between Mike Hunting for 11th place over Denis Chambers 12th both with 20, David Pleuka 18 for 13th and Martin Tebbs 11 for whom the morning had been a continuous battle.

So while the richly deserving overall winner of the Minié competition was John Whittaker, he is not a member of a Nottinghamshire affiliated club and the 'Volunteer Cup' was once again delivered into the loving embrace of Bill Parnham with Mike Mott 2nd and Anthony Fuller 3rd, all members of the Notts & Derby Vintage Arms Society.

Acknowledgements & Thanks

And so with congratulations to the winners and all those who took part and made it possible for there to be winners also to the two Mikes, Mott and Hunting for their range officering and universal help; Muriel Mott for organising prizes, the indispensible sandwiches and cake, Ann Vause for acting as our Chief Medical Officer, scoring for competitors and helping in the Butts; with the sun shining down on us we went our disparate ways until we gather again on 17th, 18th and 19th June 2016 to try our hand once more.

Andrew Russell, Hon Sec, Notts RA Black Powder Section.