Echuca-Moama field and game club celebrated it’s 25th anniversary with a 100-target shoot on October 16.
The event was well supported with 127 enthusiastic shooters in attendance at the Milgate Road ground.
The club received assistance from generous sponsors and a core of hard working members, to offer prizes all the way to fifth place in all grades and categories.
These were shared among travellers representing 16 different clubs from all parts of Victoria and southern NSW.
Despite the recent heavy rains and the threat from flood waters at the east side of the property, competitors only had to contend with occasional gusting winds and a multitude of annoying mosquitoes as they shot their two rounds each on Kevin Crisp’s north ground and Nick Dean’s south ground.
Both ground setters opted for six stand layouts, and results over the day were fairly similar, suggesting the mix of targets and their degree of difficulty was just right.
The required seven pairs, including two at one station, and 11 double barrel targets were thrown, included in this the usual eight exotic targets.
As always, the curling and turning battues presented challenges, as did the odd rabbit when hitting a bump and jumping high above the shot zone.
Visitors were particularly impressed by the left to right and right to left standard crossers thrown over a huge sheet of water on the south ground.
In most grades, competition was very tight, although only one shoot off was required when a number of long distance travellers made an early start on their trip home.
The day’s best round was shot by Geelong’s Simon Sammut, with an impressive 92, including a perfect 25 on his second round.
Sammut won High Gun by a single target from local member Rick Keirl.
Keirl won AA grade and also added a 25 badge to his collection in round two. He had two shots to spare over second placed Leo McIntyre, also from Echuca Moama.
Shepparton pair Grant Sanford and Brian Harrison followed in equal third place with 88. Port Phillips’s Aaron Edmonson came fifth with 86/100.
Scores were even closer in A grade with the best six scores ranging from 80 to 84.
Outright winner with 84 was Simon Norton who had travelled from Colac, second place was taken by Metropolitan’s Jason Jones (83), third went to Ballarat member Phil Stowe (82), with his team mate Mark Gallagher fourth (81).
Gavin Smith from Port Phillip shot 80 from 100 to earn the final A grade prize when Cobram visitor, Mal Hill left before their fifth placed shoot off. Smith was one of a number of competitors with a 24/25.
It was equally tight at the top end of B grade, where the first place went to Shepparton’s Mark Brewer, whose four mixed rounds eventually totalled 73. Local shooter Glenn Mounsey took second place, beginning the day with a solid 20 followed by three even scores of 17.
Three B graders, Grant Scott and Brian King from Echuca Moama and Deniliquin’s Adrian Mills, ended their day locked together on 70/100. Scott earned third prize with the others unavailable for the nine target shoot off round, although still able to share the fourth and fifth prize pool.
It was a win to Rushworth in C grade, with Graeme Wall’s (69), three shots greater than Echuca-Moama’s Chris Cox. Taking part in one of his first competition shoots, Echuca Moama’s Nick Davey was a worthy prize winner, earning third place after a handy 56 and then outlasting Barrook’s Steven Pask in a shoot off.
Local member Roger Kerslake enjoyed one of the day’s most convincing wins, with his 89/100 the best Veterans total. Place getters, all from visiting clubs, were Jack Johns (Bendigo), Trevor Smith (Barrook), Gary Norton (Colac), and Ian Poole (Bendigo).
Echuca Moama’s April Thompson has emerged as one of the club’s most improved and consistent shooters, as shown by her winning Ladies total of 73. Regularly in the placings, Vicki Norris took second place for Kyabram with 66. Others to do well were youngster Bethany Mills from Deniliquin, Dunolly’s Rochelle Payne and Echuca Moama’s Emma Keirl.
Local shooters Thomas Cox and Cohen Betts, the latter also in one of his first competitive outings, were first and third respectively in under 18. Their scores were 54 and 43, while Seymour traveller, Ben Knowles earned second place with 48.
Still a sub junior and shooting some great targets each month, Echuca-Moama’s Kiara Dean was the under 15 winner with 69, including a fine 19/25 in her final round. Dean finished ahead of visitors Harper Molluso (Pinegrove), Lachlan Moran (Bendigo), Jordon Smith, a local member also on one of his first shoots, and Liana De Carli (Kilmore).
High Gun: Simon Sammut (Geelong) 92/100. AA grade: Ricky Keirl (Echuca Moama) 91, Leo McIntyre (Echuca Moama) 89, Grant Sanford and Brian Harrison (Shepparton) 88, Aaron Edmonson (Ballarat) 86. A grade: Simon Norton (Colac) 84, Jason Jones (Metropolitan) 83, Phil Stowe (Ballarat) 82, Mark Gallagher (Ballarat) 81, Gavin Smith (Port Phillip) 80. B grade: Mark Brewer (Shepparton) 73, Glenn Mounsey (Echuca Moama) 71, Grant Scott (Echuca Moama) 70, Brian King (Echuca Moama) and Adrian Mills (Deniliquin) 70. C grade: Graeme Wall (Rushworth) 69, Chris Cox (Echuca Moama) 66, Nick Davey (Echuca Moama) 56 (59/109), Stephen Pask (Barrook) 56 (58/109), Wayne Gatt (Ballarat) 55. Veterans: Roger Kerslake (Echuca Moama) 89, Jack Johns (Bendigo) 81, Trevor Smith (Barrook) 79, Gary Norton (Colac) 75, Ian Poole (Bendigo) 75. Ladies: April Thompson (Echuca Moama) 73, Vicki Norris (Kyabram) 66, Bethany Mills (Deniliquin) 66, Rochelle Payne (Dunolly) 59, Emma Keirl (Echuca Moama) 58. Under 18: Thomas Cox (Echuca Moama) 54, Ben Knowles (Seymour) 48, Cohen Betts (Echuca Moama) 43. Under 15: Kiara Dean (Echuca Moama) 69, Harper Molluso (Pinegrove) 61, Lachlan Moran (Bendigo) 60, Jordon Smith (Echuca Moama) 47, Liana De Carli (Kilmore) 42.
Club members looked back with pride when considering the advances that have been made by the club since its inaugural shoot at Milgate Road on October 6, 1991.
A modest 38 shooters, mostly locals along with a handful of visitors, competed in a 50 target shoot.
Targets, all black in those days, were thrown from mostly borrowed manual traps, some manned by trappers and some self trapped.
Noms were taken in a large auto tent and catering was based around a portable barbecue and a couple of ice filled eskis. A lot has transpired since then.
The club has gone from strength to strength year after year. It has hosted special events such as NSW state titles, two nationals carnivals, qualifying selection events for national teams, charity shoots, as well as its regular club shoots, now always on the third Sunday of each month.
It has a well established clubhouse and other facilities throughout the shooting ground and a fleet of modern automatic trailer mounted traps. A small core of its extensive membership works hard month after month to build on the foundation laid by their predecessors.
Further to this, the club is always keen to promote the sport to others in the community as well as to attract new members. With support from Field and Game Australia, Echuca-Moama field and game club will run a come and try day on Saturday, November 19 from 11am.
All equipment will be provided for those interested in trying their hand at clay target shooting with the setting up of a modified simulated field shooting station for beginners. Participants without a shooters licence simply need to bring along some form of identification, while those from 12 to 17 years of age must be accompanied by a parent.
Supervision and coaching by a team of experienced shooters will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all who attend.
More details will be available on the club’s Facebook page.
The club’s next competition shoot will be a 75 Target Graded Handicap event starting at 10am on Sunday, November 20.
Enquiries to club president Tim Finnegan on 0419 512 248.