On the back of a very successful Trinity Term, we had a strong showing at the main meeting of the year. Seven members shot all or part of the Hopton, while a total of fourteen current students shot in the Grand Aggregate. Match Rifle week got off to a good start with MR captain Emma Stratford winning top Tyro in the Halford, while your correspondent made the absolute most of his five practice shots before the Whitehead… Further successes include a 3rd place finish in the FW Jones, beating both entries from the other place as well as the NRC of Scotland. The 150th Elcho match was contested with many students assisting the national teams. Notably there was a current member or recent graduate from OURC in all four teams this year. These were current president Asia Hoile shooting for Wales, 2022 alumni Michael Horrell and Hugo Malim shooting for England and Ireland, and former secretaries Hattie Mansell and Thomas Nightingale as reserves for England and Scotland respectively.
To end a remarkable MR week, the Humphry match was shot by a strong team consisting of Emma Stratford, Asia Hoile, Daniel Meakings-Clark and Adam Chidlow with coaches Mike Buchanan, Ron Scaglione, Derek Lowe and Bruce Winney, and plotters Richard Whitby and David Lindsay. The match went right down to the last shots at 1200 yards where unfortunately the team lost by the smallest of margins with final scores Cambridge 837.66v to Oxford 835.67v. Great marksmanship was displayed, with one new Half Blue being awarded to Daniel Meakings-Clark who also recorded the joint highest score for Oxford. Special thanks again to the coaches and plotters, as well as John Webster for providing elevenses and all of the non-shooting members of the team.
After some brief respite due to shoot cancellations in poor weather, an enlarged contingent launched itself into the Grand Aggregate. Many prize list appearances followed including more than one apiece for Asia Hoile, Euan Moncreiffe and Jacob Mallabone. Members of OURC were also selected for TR team matches including Asia Hoile and Adam Chidlow for the Great Britain Under 25s in the BCRC match, Jacob Mallabone as firer and Adam Chidlow as reserve for England in the Universities National match, James Oakland and Jacob Mallabone as firers with Sam Cherry and Adam Chidlow as coaches for Oxfordshire in the Inter-Counties short range, and finally Asia Hoile as reserve for Wales in the National.
It may sound flippant to call the Grand Aggregate, national and international team matches “just practice for the Chancellors’”, but this became a running joke once we realised that the captain actually meant it. After assembling the team at a restaurant off-camp and announcing the firers for the following day, the OURC machine was put into action preparing kit, plot sheets, zeros, tools and lastly the large group of adjutants (enough to comprise another full eight– Parting Shot team, anyone?).
Arriving at the 300 yard firing point it was not immediately apparent how difficult the wind conditions would be, aside from a mid-shoot direction change that was initially put down to your correspondent turning the sights the wrong way. Subsequent distances saw a huge volume of traffic over the headsets as the coaches were put to the test. Nonetheless, an efficient fallback (helped by the huge excess of adjutants) allowed the time lost in the tricky wind conditions to be made back, and the Oxford targets were finished in good time at 600 yards. At this point a large crowd was gathered behind the firing point, including David and Linda Bentata who were attending their first Chancellors’ since The captain and firers at NRA prizegiving The Humphry IV outside the English Eight 4 2019. Many congratulations are extended to the whole team for a convincing victory, especially to Euan Moncreiffe who earned his Half Blue, and Jacob Mallabone who top-scored for Oxford. This was only the third Chancellors’ victory for the club in over twenty years. Thanks again to everyone who turned out to support Oxford throughout the day and well into the subsequent night! Final scores were Oxford 1127.88v; Cambridge 1121.93v.
To cap off the Imperial was the Universities Long Range match in which three OURC teams were expertly coached by Great Britain shots John Webster, Derek Lowe and Bruce Winney. This meant that all twelve members still present on Saturday morning had the chance to shoot in a match. And with that the Imperial drew to a close. We must record our gratitude to our new Honorary Vice President Tom Rylands for his help with all aspects of shooting this year, as well as those not mentioned above who served as coaches or adjutants for our matches, and the English Eight for generous use of the clubhouse.