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Nottinghamshire Rifle Association

Providing support for smallbore, fullbore, and black powder shooting clubs in the county

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The Purples Match

Organised by John Bloomfield of Nottinghamshire, usually on the fourth Sunday in April, the Purples Match is for County, Club or "scratch" teams of eight firers with two coaches. The Match consists of two sighters and ten to count at 300, 500 and 600 yds. Half the teams shoot in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. The Purples Trophy and medals are presented to the winning team as well as medals for the second placed team and a silver salver for the top individual score. Nottinghamshire County Fullbore team has been a regular participant for many years. A record of recent results and scores is available below.

A Bit of History

John Bloomfield took over the organisation of the match in 1981 from Geoffrey Kolbe; but has no records from before then. However he does know that the Match took place during his time at University (1976 - 1980) because London University participated in each of those years. The only other date he can be certain of is 1972 when the Individual Salver for the highest score in the Match was first presented. The Trophy itself is not engraved. It has therefore been going for at least 40 years, of which he has been the organiser for the last 33 up to 2014.

The Match was, as far as is known, originally between London University, The Purples Rifle Club (London have Purples as sporting colours in the same way as Oxford & Cambridge have Blues) and the Bisley Clubs. Which of them were involved at the beginning is not certain; but probably Surrey, North London, City and London & Middlesex though the Army TRC may also have been amongst the original invitees. The last year Geoffrey organised the match it had grown to about 11 teams as more teams were invited to take part. The RAF and Royal Navy also took part in those days.

In 1981 John Bloomfield threw the match open to any team that wished to enter, including County Teams, since then the highest entry has been 27 teams - in those days it was shot in the morning only and occupied half of Century Range.

In more recent years, the numbers of competing teams have fallen and after the 2014 meeting it was decided not to hold the event in 2015. However the following year, a number of teams expressed the desire for the match to be re-instated and it was held that year and 2017.

Purples Match Results

Clicking on the year opens the results pdf in a new window

In 2012 the match was seriously effected by bad weather and Nottinghamshire did not shoot. No match was organised in 2015 due to falling team entries in prior years. The match was restarted in 2016; but Nottinghamshire were unable to take part.

Footnote added 08/07/2024: The 2017 match attracted 10 entries. In 2018 the match format was changed to include teams of 8 and of 4 but the entries remained low in number. The last event took place in 2021 and it has not been revived since the COVID pandemic