Easter Bisley usually tries its hardest to hit CURA with all the worst weather it can muster. This year, however, we were treated to some glorious sunshine and pretty decent wind conditions after a stormy start during the MR weekend. Such weather was fully taken advantage of for a great week of shooting.
The new intake this year must be perhaps one of the most talented CURA has had in recent times. Nearly all our ‘novices’ had shot extensively before, mostly at RGS Guildford…. This allowed for some high quality training and plenty of shooting. The Social events of Easter Bisley added that extra element to the week, with an enjoyable (by most…) Captain’s Curry and the ever amusing visit of the eponymous NRA Youth Coordinator.
Prepared by our Easter training, and matches throughout the summer term we came to the Imperial, cautiously hopeful that we could mirror our performance in the previous year.
Humphry Challenge Cup
Cambridge IV, 860.93v
Oxford IV, 827.53v
Due to an increase in interest in Match Rifle this year, competition for the Humphry team was tough. The IV, consisting of Fenella Chesterfield, William Johnson, Harriet Nuttall, and led by Captain Jonathan Waite, was thus in a strong position from the outset. The team included experienced shots such Harriet Nuttall, who top scored with 217.26v ex 225.45v, as well as relative newcomers such as William Johnson, who certainly proved himself, scoring a possible at 1100x. Cambridge also benefited from the expertise of some excellent wind coaches in the form of Ashley Abrahams and Julian Peck, who kept the firers causing ‘carnage’ in the V bull.
William Johnson, looking pleased after his ‘possible.’
Chancellors’ Challenge Plate
Cambridge VIII, 1120.82v
Oxford VIII, 1079.76v
Having lost a number of senior members from the previous year and a few being unavailable for the Imperial, this year’s Chancellors’ team consisted of an even split between new caps and veterans. Fortunately the high calibre of the CURA intake meant that this proved no problem in the end. However, relatively easy conditions can easily lull a team into a false sense of security and CURA made a slow start at 300x. But after a quick debrief by the Captain, Jonathan Waite, Cambridge went into the 500x detail more focused and determined. Moreover the increasingly tricky wind certainly helped sharpen concentration. With our heads fully in the game performance dramatically improved across the board, resulting in a strong lead before the final distance. 600x saw wind conditions worsen still, but, thanks to sharp and skilful coaching by Christopher Bowring, Charlotte Sayers, Jonathan Waite and Katherine Fleck, in combination with superb shooting, Cambridge in fact beat their score from the previous distance. There were also some good individual achievements with Christopher Bowring shooting a ‘possible’ at 600x. The greatest achievement, however, was made by William Johnson, who top scored with 147.13v ex 150.30v, thus winning his Full Blue for top scoring in two out of the three rifle Varsity matches. The CURA team thus retained the trophy for the 3rd year running.
BUCS and Other Competitions
Having been narrowly defeated last year in the Universities Long Range, CURA was keen to claim back the trophy. The match was closely fought to the end, with the CURA IV, consisting of Jonathan Waite, Christopher Bowring, William Johnson and Katherine Fleck giving it their best. It came down to just one point at 1000x. CURA ended with 378.37 to Edinburgh’s 377.35, beating them by a single point and 2 Vs. Together with victory in the Universities Aggregate and and honorary victory in BUCS (an administrative error caused us not to be entered), Cambridge was the top university overall at the Imperial Meeting.
In Match Rifle Fergus Flanagan continued to impress, he was selected to shoot for Scotland in the Elcho, came 5th in the 1100x Aggregate and placed 17th in the Hopton overall. However, this year it seems he has a challenger, in the form of Fenella Chesterfied. Fenella achieved her first national cap as reserve for the extremely competitive England team. During the Hopton she won the ‘T’ Class prize in the ‘Albert’, with a score of 216.21v, the top U25 prize in the ‘Armourers’ with 95.5v and the top U25 in the ‘Edge’ with a score of 191.15v. Quite an achievement for someone who only started shooting, with CURA, 2 years ago.
The Dynamic Duo. Fergus Flanagan and Fenella Chesterfield
In Target Rifle William Johnson’s team achievements were reflected in his individual accomplishments. He placed 4th in the ‘Foster’ (Armed Forces cup) with a score of 75.6v and qualified for Final of the St George’s Competition, placing 59th overall. Charlotte Sayers similarly made it to the Final of George’s, placing an extremely impressive 10th, promoting her to ‘X’ class. She found similar success in the prestigious Queen’s prize, qualifying for the final and placing 81st. Jonathan Waite, not to be outdone, secured the top CURA spot in the Grand Aggregate placing well into the top 200.
CURA has an extremely strong foundation on which to build future success. The team now has a good number of experienced shots. However, we must also say goodbye to a number of excellent members who are leaving us this year. Jonathan Waite has been a stalwart of the club for who knows how long, he led CURA as Captain last year and never failed to achieve impressive scores over his many Varsity matches. Charlotte Sayers similarly ended on a high with her successes in George’s and Queen’s. She will certainly be remembered as a key part of the club’s social side with two years as Social Secretary and a great many epithets to leave behind.
With such losses it is essential to maintain depth to the team and bring in people who are not only new to CURA but also new to shooting. It is therefore extremely encouraging to see CUSBC be so successful it its recruitment drive this year. On both Mondays and Fridays the range is pretty much full while the novices show quick improvement thanks to the dedication of the committee and expert coaching from Bill Cowell. Extra sessions throughout the week are even being run to keep up with demand.
Moreover there there are already a good number of sign ups to Easter Bisley and a great deal of interest among the novices into moving to full-bore shooting. All in all a very encouraging place to be starting the new season.