The incoming captain Fergus Flanagan’s report on the year 2018.
PDF Format: CURA-Newsletter-2018
The incoming captain Fergus Flanagan’s report on the year 2018.
PDF Format: CURA-Newsletter-2018
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.
It is a great honour to be elected Captain of CURA, and I am lucky to take up the reins at a time of great success. This year, we restored ourselves to our rightful position as holders of the both the Chancellors’ and the Humphry, and added to them the Universities’ Aggregate and a convincing victory in BUCS – as well as the mighty Roads Cup, won with what I believe may have been a record score of 20 ex 100.
In light of this, congratulations are in order. Congratulations to Fergus Flanagan, who shot his way to 4th place in the Hopton – the finest performance by an undergraduate for many years – and walked away with what seemed like most of the NRA’s trophy cabinet, as well as representing Scotland in both the Elcho and the National. Congratulations to Jonny Waite, who hit an inner in the Chancellors’ and resolved never to do so again, finishing with a hugely impressive 149.21, to say nothing of finishing 131st in the Grand Aggregate. Congratulations to all of the members of CURA, who worked throughout the Meeting and for weeks and months before it to help this team become the best that it could be: who spent countless weekends on the range polishing their technique, who sat behind the point for hours with a scope and a scorecard to keep register, and who drove up the standard of shooting in the team so high that everyone had to fight hard for a Varsity place. Our success belongs to all of you.
More than congratulations, though, thanks. Thanks to David Firth, our outgoing captain, and the whole of last year’s committee for leading the recovery from our Chancellors’ defeat, as well as to those many club stalwarts leaving us this year after doing so much for the team. Thanks to those coaches who turned out on Stickledown to do battle with winds that foxed many of the Common’s finest. Thanks to all of those friends and alumni who helped us over the year, whether financially or by giving us their time, advice and encouragement. We could not succeed without your unfailing support.
Our business now is to capitalise on our success and climb to even greater heights. Victory will come not from the will to win but from the will to practise and prepare: from building up interested freshers into novices, novices into good shots, and good shots into great ones. Again, I am lucky, in that I have behind me a fantastic committee, at the head of a club with remarkable strength in depth. I have no doubt that we will be equal to the challenges of the year to come, and that my report in a year’s time will be full of even more successes earned and honours won.
CURA Captain 2015-2016
It has been an honour to Captain CURA over the last year. I initially planned to round up the years’ results and individual successes, but Sam has already done this rather eloquently. Nevertheless, I will give my congratulations. I can’t emphasize how proud I was to see everyone do so well. When I set out at the start of the year the goal was to gain the clean sweep. This meant carrying on the record run of Humphry victories, and bringing back the Chancellor’s to its home. We made changes to the way we train, the way we think, and the way we work as a team. On top of this we gained some top shooters, and our returning members came into unbelievable form at the perfect time. The levels of individual achievements were some of the best CURA has seen in recent years, but this was just a bonus. The most important thing was that we converted a good season into the all-important silverware. We held our nerve and out classed Oxford. I guess it’s also nice to dominate the BUCS competitions and black powder varsity.
It took plenty of people to get us here, both members and alumni, and I’m grateful to all of you. Thank you to Simon Armstrong for setting CURA up for success during his CUSBC Captaincy, and also for his contributions to CURA (particularly on Chancellor’s day). I am most grateful for Sam Sharma’s work as secretary. He gave his heart to the role and was invaluable, which made being Captain that much easier for me. I’m sure he will lead CURA to great things this season. Everyone on the committee made crucial contributions, and this is a part of why we did so well. That’s not to say there weren’t things to work on next year. In an honest evaluation, our season was not short of hiccups… but we were proactive and worked hard as a team. We decided what we wanted, worked out the cost and paid the price. Not to mention we simply have natural talent that Oxford can only dream of.
CURA finished the season on fire and I’m sure that this can be maintained for the next year as long as there is no complacency. There will be challenges, there always are, but it’s important to acknowledge them early, work through them as a team and help each other. Furthermore we’re lucky to be retaining so much experience, but it’s important to recruit as much as possible. Give any time you can to coach the novices of CUSBC and CURA and get them along to socials. Team bonding keeps members turning up to the range. Anyway, I’m sure you know this already!
I’m sad to be leaving after five years, it feels like the end of an era… but I gained a lot that I can take away with me. I will always be on hand to help in the future, and I look forward to seeing CURA go from strength to strength over the coming years.