Echuca Moama Field and Game club hosted a 142-target pairs novelty handicap shoot as part of its Christmas and end of year shoot on Sunday, December 18.
One-hundred and twelve competitors or 56 pairs shot two rounds of 71 targets on a ten-stand course, carefully planned and put together by Daryl Scott.
On all stands, up to two, three or four targets were thrown simultaneously, meaning each pair, standing side by side, had to carefully plan the best use of the maximum four shots they had at their disposal.
Most pairs managed this a little more successfully the second time round.
By this stage they had more of an idea as to who could hit which targets best, as well as adopting a more strategic approach as to the order in which they were best tackled.
For most pairs, station one was a happy starting place. It presented a high and slightly arcing overhead from behind, paired with an incoming battue. With four shots available to smash the simultaneous pair, this was generally managed with relative ease.
Things were tougher at station two, with three springing teal, one of which was a midi, released together from about 20 metres out from the shooters. Next came just two targets, a looper rushing at tree height from left to right, paired with a much lower right to left crosser.
At station four a new element appeared with the introduction of three traps. Two of these dispensed rabbits from the right side, while the third trap threw a left to right crosser.
Concentration was required here, with three different combinations to be shot; first the two rabbits, then one of the rabbits with the crosser and finally, all three targets when released at once.
A similar format applied on the fifth stand, except that the three targets were a midi and a standard both starting from in front and to the left of the stand before crossing in front of it, plus a standard coming inwards on the opposite trajectory to the other two. It started well out in front and to the right, coming closer to the stand.
Two traps located high on cherrypicker trucks and throwing high right to left crossers were at the sixth stand, as was another rabbit. Again, there were two simultaneous pair combinations followed by the simultaneous triple.
Things were similarly challenging at station seven, where three traps were in play. These included a slightly left to right tower target which was not quite overhead, a direct overhead from a cherrypicker, plus an incoming battue. When all three of these were thrown as one, concentration and teamwork were in high demand.
The challenge increased further with four traps employed at station eight. These were a right to left tower target, a higher and closer right to left cherrypicker target, plus two incoming crows. The final bracket here threw all four targets together.
The three targets at the penultimate stand were a standard going straight away, a left to right looper and a flatter left to right crosser. To finish the round, a high left to right standard, a low right to left standard and a high incomer were presented, always as triples.
Brothers Mick and Ricky Keirl from Echuca Moama repeated last year’s winning effort with an impressive 133/142 to win the high gun prize of two supersize Christmas hams. They missed just nine targets over two full rounds all day.
With Christmas hams also given as prizes to the ten pairs with the best handicap scores, the leader board was very tight by day’s end. The scores of these ten winners ranged from 140 to 131/142, with a countback required to determine winners on three different occasions.
The first was to split the winners, both Steve Penglase and Mark Bottcher and Russell and Bradley Chaplin ending on 140/142. Their better second round total gave the win to Penglase and Bottcher.
Third place, also decided on countback, went to Danny Ryan and Andrew Leech ahead of local members Chris Smith and Lonny Hore. Both pairs scored 138/142. Fifth with a solid 136/142 came Doug Frankling and Rod Wharton, just one target better than Jason Smith and Ryan Wharton on 135/142.
Chris Charleson and Julian Fry shot consistent rounds of 62/71 and 63/71, to take the seventh prize hams with a handicap total of 133/142. Next came another countback result, as both Warwick Kelvy and Craig Scott and Barry Eastwood and Allan Williams ended on 132/142.
Both had identical second round scores, but on their first round total, it was Kelvy and Scott who earned eighth place. The final prizes were collected by tenth placed Ross Dunstan and Craig Lanyon with 131/142.
With the main event concluded mid afternoon, a number of shooters took the opportunity to try their hand at the special trap rigged to throw ‘cans’. This is another option on offer in the wide range of shooting disciplines, available from time to time at different shooting grounds around the country.
The other activity before the day’s presentations was the welcome arrival of Santa, offering a selection of gifts and treats to the many children in attendance. As well as spreading Christmas cheer, Santa proved a man of many talents when he tried a few turns at the ‘can’ shoot.
As well as thanking the day’s 112 competitors, Santa, club members, visitors, sponsors, friends and family present, President Tim Finnegan carried out two formal duties as part of the day’s presentations.
These began with the high gun award to the Keirl brothers, as well as the prizes to the ten other winning pairs. Finally, with the help of club life members, June and George Shawcross, Finnegan welcomed Ricky Keirl back to the prize area.
Keirl was the deserving winner of the club’s two annual trophies, both donated by the Shawcrosses. One is awarded to the member with the highest total handicap scores for the club shoots from January to November. The other is for the shooter with the highest score off the gun in their best 20 rounds.
It is a credit to Keirl that he not only attended all shoots for the year to help win the handicap award, but he also shot enough high scoring individual rounds to clinch the club championship. In doing so, he has emulated the feat of older brother Mick who won both awards in 2015. Well done, Ricky.
With the day’s official duties concluded, many members and other visitors remained to enjoy the tasty Christmas meal provided by the hard working volunteers from the club’s canteen crew.
High Gun: Mick Keirl and Ricky Keirl, Echuca Moama 133/142.
First: Stephen Penglase and Mark Bottcher, Barrook 140/142.
Second: Russell Chaplin and Bradley Chaplin, Deniliquin 140/142.
Third: Danny Ryan, Bendigo and Andrew Leech, Pinegrove 138/142.
Fourth: Chris Smith and Lonny Hore, Echuca Moama 138/142.
Fifth: Rod Wharton, Deniliquin and Doug Frankling, Barrook 136/142.
Sixth: Jason Smith, Echuca Moama and Ryan Wharton, Deniliquin 135/142.
Seventh: Chris Charleson, Swan Hill and Julian Fry, Barrook 133/142.
Eighth: Warwick Kelvy and Craig Scott, Echuca Moama 132/142.
Ninth: Barry Eastwood and Barry Williams, Bendigo 132/142.
10th: Ross Dunstan and Craig Lanyon, Bendigo 131/142.
The club’s 2017 competition calendar begins with a 75 target off the gun event at its shooting ground on the corner of Barnes and Milgate Roads, Moama, at 10am on Sunday, January 15.
At 75 target events, the club offers prizes for high gun, plus first to third in all categories. That is AA grade, A grade, B grade, C grade, veterans, women’s, under 18 and under 15.
Nominations are $30, except for under 15 members who shoot for free.
It is a condition of entry that competitors must present their current membership card attached to a handicap card, and the law requires them to carry an up to date firearms licence.
The club is always keen to encourage new and younger shooters, and recently held a special come and try day. In 2017, a new incentive scheme for younger shooters will also be introduced.
More details can be found on the club’s Facebook page, and enquiries can be directed to president Tim Finnegan on 0419 512 248.