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 member Rich Hemingway had a sterling weekend at Bisley, shooting for Wales and qualifying for the Final of the British Prone Championship (the “Earl Roberts Championship”) at the close of the NSRA’s 2023 National Meeting.
On Friday, Rich warmed up by comfortably making it through the First Stage of the Earl Roberts, placing 9th of the 50 who qualified. That afternoon he went on to shoot in the Home Countries International, competing for Wales against England and Scotland. Wales narrowly placed third, close behind Scotland. Rich had the second highest score in the Welsh team, just a point behind Sian Corish – who was awarded the “Tartan Dragon” trophy for highest Welsh scorer.
Rich Hemingway with the 2023 Welsh Home Countries Team photo credit: Eleanor Shorey theshorey.co.uk
On Saturday morning, competitors took to the range for another early start to contest the Second Stage of the Roberts, from which 40 qualified to the final. Placing 27th, Richard entered his first Roberts Final, making him the first Rugeley or Staffordshire shooter to compete in the final for some years.
Shooting a Double Dewar course – 40 shots each at 50metres and 100yards – the wind picked up significantly, as is appropriate for championship finals! In gusty conditions, many competitors struggled to keep their scores above 190, with a smattering of big flyers (including 4s and 6s!) seen along the range, especially on the 100yard portion. Keeping their cool amongst all of them though was 2022 champion Lina Jones, who retained her title with a score of 772. Rich finished his debut Final with 756, placing him 20th.
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.
Rugeley enjoyed international success, with three members representing Home Nation teams at the Bisley 100 Meeting.
On Friday, Club Chairman Martyn Buttery captained England – an historic double after he also captained the team at Scotland 100 in 2019.
Rich Hemingway and Ryan Williams were both selected to represent Wales. They were joined by friend-of-the-club Liam Webster who earned his first Welsh cap. Liam shot at Rugeley for many years before moving to west Wales some years ago.
England ultimately won the match, scoring 3799/4000.
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.
Qualifying third, Zoe led the final from the start with two outstanding strings. Holding her nerve as Braunton’s Emily Bale drew level with her in the middle section, Zoe delivered a strong series of inner tens to finish, winning by a clear two points. Zoe also qualified for both her other finals, narrowly missing out on a medal with a fourth place finish in her Day 3 match.
Also from Rugeley, Megan Bamsey qualified for two finals from her three matches. Her brother Mike Bamsey won his day three match, becoming the confined Welsh Men’s 10m Air Rifle Champion.
The Welsh Airgun Championships are held as a series of three open matches – one per day – from Friday to Sunday, each independent and with its own final. One match is nominated as the confined “Welsh Championship”.