Well, a week has passed since the end of the Hopton, and your correspondent has just about recovered enough to write up his report (if only he’d been able to phone it in…). Across a week of socially-distanced shooting — lying down outside met all the guidelines fairly easily, truth be told, though we were certainly sad to miss the usual strawberries and Pimms — there were some real highs for OURC.
Michael Horrell got things off to a good start, coming fourth at 1100 yards in the Any Rifle in challenging conditions with 70.6v.Nor was the first day of the Hopton proper a disappointment, as Michael again showed his merits, coming 12th in the Halford with 146.17v (tying with our Honorary President, Senior Member and Humphry wind coach John Webster in the process).Bruce Winney kept up the good work in his first match rifle outing since his (whisper it) CURA days, shooting superbly in the Cottesloe on Friday morning, putting in 99.8v and placing as the top Tyro to win an NRA Bronze medal.
The Armourers in the afternoon was more of a struggle for most of us, with torrential rain rendering visibility at 1200 yards pretty much zero – Russell, shooting on the later detail, got some very filthy looks from the rest of the club when he came back dry.
Saturday saw the Edge, in which all club members were also shooting the concurrent Match Rifle Pairs competition. Congratulations to ‘Bohr and Order’, Russell Woodger and George Twinn, who were the top Tyro team, winning silver NRA medals. Any observations that they were in fact the only Tyro team may be made elsewhere…
With a 98.9v at 1,000 yards and a final score of 186.12v, Russell was only 3 Vs off being the top under-25, pipped to the post (and the £100 cash prize) by Cambridge’s Cecilia Catuogno-Cal. More luck was had in the weekend aggregate, where Russell did succeed in place as the top U25, only one place and two points behind (and 6 Vs ahead of) the top Tyro.
George Twinn put in a strong performance in the Albert on Sunday, with some beautiful elevations proving that when he started using the right ammunition, rather than selecting rounds at random, his results improved somewhat – truly a surprise. The end of the Albert saw us tallying up the final scores: Russell Woodger was the top OURC man in the Hopton, with 960.85v ex while Thomas Nightingale, Bruce Winney and Michael Horrell, having been fairly close for most of the meeting, ended up within six places of each other – Thomas and Michael separated only by Bruce’s father! As four of the top 10 Tyros, Russell, Thomas, Michael and Bruce won 500 sierras each – a good investment towards next year’s Hopton. The OURC sighters’ aggregate is yet to be worked out (any volunteers to do the stats?) so one prize at least is still available.
Sunday evening saw us heading off camp for a team meal before the big event on Monday: the Humphry. Keen followers —and even some casual ones — will have already heard the news of Oxford’s victory, finishing with 867.87v to Cambridge’s 851.85v. Every single Oxford shooter broke 214, with only five points between our top scorer and our lowest — a remarkable testament to the strength of the team. That we managed to win so convincingly in a year when Fergus Flanagan for Cambridge set a new individual record, with a remarkable 224.36 ex 225.45, is further proof of our current strength – and had our 1100 and 1200 yard scores been entered concurrently for the FW Jones, we would have come only three points behind the all-star Hopton Supper Club. Celebrations began with lunch at the Menagerie, and lead on to dinner – especially good this year – in the English VIII of pâté with marmelade and toast melba, followed by roast pork and then profiteroles, as well as an (early) birthday cake for Bruce, with cheese to round things off. A fine way to end a splendid six days of shooting!