This year’s Imperial Meeting promised some semblance of normality with around 750 individual entries, and it certainly felt like the good old times were returning!
On an individual note work experience and employment scuppered the chances of more club members entering the Grand Aggregate and Queen’s competitions but Club Captain Miles and newly elected Events Officer Christina represented DURC, shooting incredibly well throughout the week.
Christina finished 55th and Miles 94th in the Grand Aggregate (out of a total cohort of 588), this being an aggregate of 12 individual shots at varying distances and the most comprehensive test of a marksman/ woman’s ability across multiple days and varying wind conditions.
Christina shot an incredible 50.10, a perfect score, in the Alexandra and as such qualified for a tie-shoot against a very experienced GB shot for the victory. A huge crowd of DURC members, alumni, friends and family amassed behind the firing point as the sun set over the range for the tie shoot which comprised of 1 sighter and 5 shots, the person with the highest score at the end being the victor. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Christina, narrowly missing out by 1 V-bull (smallest, most central scoring ring on the target) to her opposition and therefore placing her second in the competition.
Miles then went on to make the final of the St George’s competition, one of the two main multi-stage competitions that round out the Imperial Meeting. Miles shot well in the final and despite being deserted by his 3/4 minute elevation group which he had been shooting all week, managed to finish 66th place, just missing out on the top 50 and renewing his X-Class (the highest class a competitor can be)
The first round of the Queen’s competition came but unfortunately, both Miles and Christina weren’t able to progress to the second stage, both being caught out by the difficult and varying wind on a few too many occasions.
DUARC, the new alumni section of the club were out in force as well, during the meeting, with Ex- Captains Henry Marden, James Tunsley, Anthony Bromley and Tom Smith shooting incredibly well throughout, the latter breaking his T class at the earliest available opportunity. Anthony was selected for Kent in the Counties and shot very well indeed, including a 100.11 at short range. Furthermore, Tom made the second stage of Queen’s and was supported throughout by fellow alumni, current students and friends as he tackled the incredibly strong wind and hot conditions. Unfortunately, progression to the final was not to be this year, but with shooting like that we look forward to seeing him on many a prize list in the future!
This brings us on to the team matches which concluded the meeting this year, with Christina and Miles both being selected to represent Yorkshire at short and long range. Furthermore, and owing to Christina’s fantastic shooting in the Grand Aggregate she was selected for the England team in the National match, with Miles being selected for Wales. Normally England seal the victory in this match with straight shooting and accurate wind reading, however this year the victors were Wales, for only the second time in the history of the match, much to Miles’ jubilation!
This led us into the Universities competitions on the mornings of Friday and Saturday, the short range being contested first. We were fortunate to be joined by James Dixon (Club Secretary) and George Oakland (Social Secretary) for the two days to make up a competitive team of 4 with the hopes of retaining the short range victory from last year. Christina was chosen to shoot for GBU25 in the equivalent of the international match, which allowed her scores to count concurrently with the rest of the team’s.
With some interesting sighting shots fired given James and George hadn’t shot for 9 months we thought it was all over at the first counting distance. However we settled into 500 and 600 yards, everyone clearly remembering how to shoot well, and posted some very competitive scores which we knew, towards the gritty end of the match, would result in a very close outcome between first and second place.
With the last shots down the range and some furtive glances between friends and colleagues from the other Unis, the results were revealed and Durham had placed second to Southampton by only 1 point!!! Unfortunately, we were unable to repeat the success of 2020, however, it was certainly payback given we beat them by 1 point back then! All to play for next year then!
We hoped to continue this good form at long range on Saturday morning, and armed with our new scopes and stands generously provided by the Team Durham Development Grant, we started off impeccably at 900 yards with Christina and Miles both shooting perfect 50s. James and George followed up strong to leave us only 6 off after this distance. 1000 yards always promises to shake things up a bit and it certainly delivered this year, with a steady start by Christina and Miles, unfortunately, giving way to a few wayward and uncharacteristic shots by the latter firers which culminated in a 4th place finish out of 9 teams, a huge improvement on last years result.
Thanks must be given to our guest coach Katie Hinkley who was calm and collected as ever in the chair and made some fantastic wind calls to save as many points as possible! Thanks must also go to Stacey Josling, newly appointed Social Sec, for being our reserve and helping organise kit and logistics behind the firing point!
With the conclusion of shooting in the form of the Queen’s final on Saturday afternoon, the meeting came to an end for another year. The celebrations went on into the early hours of the morning with both joy from the last 10 days of shooting and sadness, ‘The Bisley Blues’, that it’s all over for another year being felt in equal measure.
We already look forward to next year’s Imperial, with the hopes of fielding the largest and most competitive DURC team ever for the Universities competitions.
See you then and Message 10 for those who know!
Miles – Club Captain