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World Sporting 2018
Well, what a month June turns out to be! Having just got back from the European FITASC in Italy, we headed to Churchill’s for the World Sporting. I didn’t think it would be possible to top the experience we had in Italy, but we just about did at the Worlds!
As I was in the last two weeks of my internship, I couldn’t shoot as many of the prelim events as I might have otherwise done, so I focused on the World Championship events, the World Sportrap and the World Sporting.
We shot the Sportrap on the Thursday, which I thought was a tricky, but good course. A bad stand on my last layout cost me a place in the Ladies shoot-off, but overall I was pleased with 76/100 which put me 4th in Ladies and first in Lady Juniors. It’s my last year as a junior, so I was determined to make the most of it!
Onto the main event, where I was honoured to be representing England again. We had the opening ceremony for international teams on the Friday night, which is always a nice event, before shooting the course at the weekend. I had a fantastic squad as I shot with my teammates and great friends Georgia and Hannah, and then with the England Juniors as well. I love shooting with them as we all get on so well, and there’s real team spirit between all of us, which I think makes such a difference. We shot the red course on the Saturday, and I had a poor start before finding some rhythm to finish on 80/100, which I was pretty happy with. Hitting the blue teal second barrel was definitely a highlight! The rest of my squad all had a decent first day, putting us in a good team position. I then went round with Dad who shot 90 round the red course, which proved to be a good effort, as 90+ scores were generally proving hard to come by.
Onto the blue course! This was rumoured to be the trickier of the two, and I think that proved to be true, as the course was somewhat relentless with tricky, technical targets. A couple of poor stands cost me a really good score on the blue, as I finished on a respectable 74/100, leaving me on 154 overall. I was very pleased to straight the big battue stand, and only miss one on the white/green clays coming down the hill. My teammates both did a great job, and Hannah shot a phenomenal 84 on the course!
What continues to amaze me is how close Hannah, Georgia and I end up, both over a season and in competitions. In last years selection shoots, we ended the season with one clay covering all three of us, which is crazy when you think about it. It proved to be a similar story at the World’s, with Hannah finishing on 159, Georgia on 157 and me on 154, so only a 5 clay spread! Next came the nervous wait... we thought it would be close with the American team, and I was dreading that we would lose by only a clay or two. When Henry told me we had in fact won by 9 clays, I didn’t believe him at first! However, the score board did indeed confirm that we had done something that most people thought we couldn’t, and beaten the Americans to become Ladies Team World Champions!! I was beyond proud of the team, who really dug in the whole way round to produce this result.
With the team results confirmed, and England winning 4/5 team categories, the next 3 hours became the most nervous wait of my life! As I wanted to stay with my team to wait for scores, I hadn’t gone out with Dad as he shot the blue course. I knew he’d need an 89 to have a chance of making the super final, but with 91 being the highest score on the course, I also knew he’d need to be awesome to shoot that. When he text me with sad emojis, I thought he’d gone and shot 70 something, only to find out he matched the highest score and shot an awesome 91!!! Proud doesn’t even begin to describe it, as Dad qualified in equal 3rd to the super final
The super final was a fantastic event, with over 500 people staying to watch it. The use of flash clays made it a great spectacle, and all the finalists shot very well. Krieghoff shooter Mark Winser and Hull Cartridge shooter Richard Bunning battled for the title in epic fashion, going to a sudden death shoot-off, with Richard eventually winning!! Dad took first in AAA which was an awesome result, especially as he had been on the very last squad of the day, and didn’t get much rest time.
The courage shown by all of Team England in this competition cannot be understated. Faced with some of the trickiest targets and best competitors in the world, and a lot of people saying we had no chance at beating the Americans, to win 4 out of the 5 categories was exceptional. For the Ladies, it was the first time we had won it since 2002! Congratulations to every single member of the team, and especially our new individual World champions, Richard Bunning, Josh Bridges and Graham Stirzaker. For me personally, I also became Junior Ladies World Sporting Champion which I was very pleased with, ending the week with 3 gold medals.
The efforts of both EJ Churchill’s and George Digweed mustn’t go unmentioned. I thought the whole event was phenomenal, from the location, to the village, to the targets. Thank you all for creating an occasion truly worthy of being a World Championship event. Thank you as well to my personal sponsors Krieghoff, Hull Cartridge, Vario, Laporte CPC, Team Bath and West Country Guns. Half of the super six were shooting Krieghoff, as were 4/6 of my squad, with 4/6 also using Hull Cartridges. A truly phenomenal combination.
My final word must go to Team England. The team spirit shown was fantastic, and it was an honour to be part of it. The results speak for themselves. Team England, overall champions once again!