A couple of hours before the match time of 4:05 on Friday 18th August the heavens opened and a violent thunderstorm swept across Century range at Bisley, deluging the final detail of the Roberts Match (GB v USA) with horizontal rain from the front. It looked bad for the Home Countries match following an hour later as the rain and wind continued. Shortly before 4pm the range officer announced a delay of up to 15 minutes to see if the weather would improve. Hardly had the echo of his voice disappeared than the ran and clouds did the same in remarkably short order and the wind dropped to almost nothing. The timing couldn't have been better.
Scotland had selected a team of seven X-class and three A-class shooters, all of whom had shot for Scotland before, so they knew what they were doing.
With a very brief pep-talk and the presentation of their commemorative date-bars, the team were off and shooting the first detail of 20 shots at 50 metres in the light-to-non-existent wind and good light. Wind-coach Cliff Ogle kept up a running commentary on any conditions that were changing.
Unfortunately not all our shooters managed to take advantage of what were quite benign conditions, with only three managing 195 or better. Top score was evergreen Ken Greenaway with a fine 199. On to the 100 yards detail and conditions were slightly more unsettled but, as often seems to be the case with Scotland teams in these matches, our scoring improved a lot. Not enough though. England had outclassed us at 50m by dropping only 38 points to our 74, but we got the better of them at 100 yards, but by only 9 points. The highlight of the Scotland performance at that distance was Bill Vaughan's 200 which was the best card on the range, followed by Ken Greenaway's 197.
Ken top-scored the whole match with his 396, so congratulations to him for that. The match result was 110 points dropped by England, 137 by Scotland, 203 by Wales and 221 by Jersey.
I'd like to thank Cyril DeJonckheere for doing the Team Secretary job so efficiently and to Cliff for calling the conditions.
For the record, the team was (in order in the formal photo below):
(Rear) Charles Allan, Bill Baird, Graham Shedden, Richard Simpson, Jim Ward, Robin Law;
(front) Bill Brown, Ken Greenaway, Cyril DeJonckheere (Secretary), Bill Hamilton (Captain), Sheen Sharp, Bill Vaughan.
The reserves were Stephen Blackwood and Robin Thomson (not pictured).
Here is the team on the firing point eager to get started:
Unfortunately there were only three ladies from Scotland so we could not enter a team in the Women's match (won by England over a depleted Wales team) and, rather unsettlingly, there was no Junior match at all.
In addition to the team event, the final day of competition saw the 'Champion of Champions match which is a match run each year by the NSRA on the Lord Roberts electronic 50m range on the Sunday after the end of the Bisley National Meeting. The match is open to one nominated representative from each of the NSRA’s affiliated Counties, ostensibly their ‘Champion’, hence the title, making it a hard one to win. It follows the format of a 60 shots prone followed by an Olympic final.
From the 30-odd county champions, Scotland had 4 Counties with Sheena Sharp, Ken Greenaway, Bill Vaughan and Cliff Ogle competing. Two Scots qualified for the ISSF-style final, Ken Greenaway (3rd with a 615.4) and Sheena (4th with 615.3). To put these scores in some context Ken Parr led with 617.8. In the final Ken Greenaway came in 5th, failing to cope when the wind changed 180 degrees, but Sheena was a star and only just missed beating Ken Parr on the last shot (by 0.2) for a fine second place - a superb effort and one of the best finishes by a Scottish shooter for a number of years.
However, Ken Greenaway didn't leave empty handed and for the second year running, won the Cat Hartop Trophy for top scorer from all teams in the Home International with a score of 396 - well done Ken.
Report by Bill Hamilton, Team Captain