The first big Match Rifle competition of the season - the English VIII meeting in conjunction with the NRC of Scotland and the Welsh Rifle Association - was held at Bisley on 6th and 7th May 2017. It saw a strong entry of almost 80 competitors, 13 of them ladies and a high percentage of under 25 shooters.
It was shot in conditions not usually associated with the month of May, both on the temperature and the wind front. The Saturday challenged those who started the season that day with some rather strong wind from the right, luckily it proved to be pretty steady though, so scores were reasonably high. Sunday’s wind was less strong, but also less steady, especially by the time competitiors got to the final 1200 yards where mirrage and fish tailing wind definitely challenged many of the competitors. The day had started with winter temperatures which lasted until lunch time and were then replaced by bright sunshine and a quick rise in temperatures.
Ron Scaglione, part of the new Scottish squad, won the Saturday competition shot over 1000, 1100 and 1200 yards (15 to count) with 223.32, a point ahead of Rob Lygoe and a point and three V-Bulls ahead of fellow Scot Fergus Flanagan. Albeit attempts by several competitors to stop Flanagan's continuous success on Sunday, he managed the winning score of 222.32, one V ahead of fellow Scot John Sweet and two ahead of Englishman Rob Lygoe. In the end he wasn't able to snatch all the trophies from Lygoe, who won overall (The Welsh Rifle Association Aggregate) with 444.62...only one V ahead of Flanagan. Irish shooting hero David Calvert became third with a 441.61.
The 1200-yards aggregate went to John Lindsay III, still suffering from jet lag, he was clearly excelling in long distance and his 147.13 meant he was a point ahead of Sweet and Flanagan.
Hannah Fisher won the Ladies' trophy with 427.43 ahead of Kate Fitton and Loulou Brister and the Under 25 trophy was won...yes, you may have guessed it by Fergus Flanagan with ex-Cambridge Hannah Fisher in second and ex-Oxford Hattie Mansell in third place.
Each of the three nations handed out their club prizes to their top shots:
England – Rob Lygoe (444.62), John Lindsay III (440.50), Si Whitby (437.46)
Scotland – Fergus Flanagan (444.61), Ron Scaglione (440.59), John Sweet (439.59)
Wales – Loulou Brister (423.37), Andy Burgess (206.12), Gareth James (137.13)