Shooters from Rugeley Rifle Club collected medals in Cardiff this weekend at the Welsh Airgun Championships. Held at the Sport Wales centre in Sophia Gardens, the meeting rolls in three days of shooting with three matches. Competitors participate in the Cardiff Grand Prix; an AirOShoot qualification match (in which top scorers can qualify for the Super Final in Belgium) and finish with the Welsh Open Championship.
Shooting Air Pistol, Pavelas Voitiukevicius placed 2nd in the Cardiff GP on Friday, before placing 3rd in the AirOShoot qualification match on Saturday – climbing in the final to win silver. On Sunday, he qualified for the final in the Welsh Open Championship match, narrowly missing a medal to place 4th.
Paul Watkiss placed eighth in the Cardiff GP and qualified for the Bronze medal match in the Mixed Pairs, where he finished 4th with randomly-allocated partner Ina Gulowsen Knudsen. Paul finished 12th in the AiroShoot match and 17th in the Welsh Championship.
Kiril Voitiukevicius placed 5th in the Cardiff GP, and qualified for the final of the AirOShoot match, finishing 7th. He placed 23rd in the Championship.
On Air Rifle, Zoe Perkin placed 12th in the Cardiff GP and 10th in the AirOShoot match, finishing 25th in the Championship.
Friends of the club Mike & Megan Bamsey also shot strongly, with Megan claiming silver in her AirOShoot and Cardiff GP matches, whilst Mike placed fourth in the Cardiff GP and won silver in the Welsh Championship.
Rugeley cleaned up at the Staffordshire County Championships on Sunday with members winning nine trophies.
Richard Hemingway retained his title as County Champion, ultimately earning five separate trophies – the Association Cup (Overall Confined Championship), the 50Metre Challenge Trophy, the Miniature Rifle Cup (A-Class Champion), the Michelin Cup (best 100yard scores in A-Class) and the Greatrex Cup (top NSRA County Medal holder).
Deb Truman became Staffordshire Ladies Champion. Graham Delaney won D-Class, with Lee Featherstone runner up. Paul Watkiss narrowly missed out on a medal, placing fourth in C-Class.
Rugeley member and Staffordshire County Captain Richard Hemingway won the Welsh Confined Prone Championship this weekend. Shooting at Tondu Target Shooting Club near Bridgend, Rich saw off strong competition from GB & Commonwealth shooters.
Qualifying mid-table on Saturday in difficult conditions, Sunday saw a calmer outlook and strong start for Richard as he clocked up a significant lead in the first half of the match. Rising winds saw scores fluctuate in the second half, but despite a difficult finish he had done enough to claim his first Welsh Championship title. Sian Corish was runner up, and Liam Webster – formerly of Rugeley and friend of the club – placed third.
Rich Hemingway – Rugeley member and Staffordshire County Captain – was runner up in the Welsh Confined 50Metre Championship on Sunday.
Shooting at Tondu Shooting Club near Bridgend, Richard qualified for the Confined after placing 5th in the Welsh Open Championship on Saturday. Improving on his score from Saturday, he was pipped to the win by Alun Evans. Dave Phelps placed third. Conditions were bright, with the tricky light but gusting winds that Tondu is known for.
Friend of the club, Liam Webster placed fifth in the Confined. Liam shot with distinction at Rugeley for many years before moving away from the West Midlands.
Rugeley members supported the finals of British Shooting’s Schools Championship this week, volunteers acting as helpers and Range Officers. The Championship Finals came to Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock with nearly three hundred young athletes competing in the Air Pistol and Rifle Finals over Tuesday and Wednesday. Local schools came for trial shoots on Thursday with Rugeley providing instructors and coaches.
The competitors, aged 11-18, hailed from 140 schools up and down the country and Gorgs Geikie, the founder and manager of the Schools Championships who was the last pistol shooter to have competed at an Olympics at London 2012 said the enthusiasm and talent proves the event and the sport has a bright future ahead.
Chris Derbyshire, Managing Director at Inspiring healthy lifestyles, the not-for-profit charitable leisure trust which runs Chase Leisure Centre, said: “It was a privilege for Inspiring healthy lifestyles to be able to host the event at Chase Leisure Centre.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the competition days and it was inspiring to see such talented young people from across the country competing as well as children from local schools giving it a go.
“I’d like to thank Cannock Chase Council for their support and look forward to working with British Shooting again in the future to ensure that the event is even bigger and better next time.”
Speaking after the Rifle competition, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Dean Bale, said: “It’s been great. To see so many young athletes coming through in this grassroots environment is incredible, and I’ve been blown away by the number of participants today.
“When I was younger I was only really exposed to target shooting through the scouts so to see schools now getting involved and offering a new route into shooting is exciting to see.
“There’s a whole range of ages and when we’ve got to the finals of each category the competition has been very close – it’s very tense and great to watch!
“I think the Championships is going to help bring more shooters in at grassroots level to feed up through the Talent Pathway and eventually into the World Class Programme.”
Gorgs Geikie, London 2012 Olympian and manager of the Schools Championships said “British Shooting are thrilled to bring the National Final to Cannock, the true heart of the country. Athletes and school teams from all over the country will descend to Chase Leisure Centre to tussle to become National Champions of today and potential Olympians and Paralympians of the future.