York’s clay pigeon shooting club were unable to retain the Varsity trophy for York as they came up against one of the country’s finest university shooting teams at Hull’s regular shooting range near Scunthorpe.
The result meant that Hull have been awarded 12 points to their tournament score, meaning they win by 11 points after York sat in the lead by one point following the main event on Sunday. It meant that there was a tremendous amount of pressure on York’s relatively-inexperienced shooting team, but nevertheless they gave the match a good showing in a grey and gloomy field in rural Yorkshire.
The rules for competitive clay pigeon shooting are fairly simple. Each shooter has a total of fifty shots and has to hit as many clays as possible, with each clay-hit accumulating to a score out of fifty, shooting ten shots on each course.
The play takes place over five courses, with each course offering a range of different targets that the shooters have to deal with. These include ‘crossers’ and ‘aways’ that respectively run across or away from the field of play, ‘rabbit’ clays that fire along the floor, ‘loopers’ that fly across the horizon, and ‘teal’ that fly straight up and hover for a split second.
The scores from the four highest-scoring shooters in the male and female categories are then collated to produce the final score in each gender, which reflect the overall result.
At the start of the day’s play on the first course, star shooter Jordan Gillies and Sean Bossick were first up to fire from the cage; both started exceptionally well, whilst Emma Crew showed her potential as she picked out a few teals with ease.
Bossick carried his form over into the second course, and at the same time Matt Smart and Sheldon Warnick began to find their shooting eye. Lisa Richardson also managed to target several difficult looping clays
Martin McClenaghan put in a strong performance when he opened the shooting on the third course. He was swiftly followed by Warnick, who put in an even stronger performance, missing only one of his ten shots. Elsewhere, Richardson was again impressive, whilst Charlotte Williams showed why she was Club President with some excellent shooting.
The female contingent of the team particularly enjoyed the rabbit-clay aspect of the fourth course. Crew, Richardson and Rachel Howell all gleefully waved goodbye to clays as they shattered them across the grass.
The team’s highest scorer and top shot, Gillies, was unstoppable in the fifth and final course as he failed to miss a clay. Bossick and Warnick also finished well, helping the team finish the day’s shooting with a smile.
Club President Charlotte Williams reflected on what was a very enjoyable day for all participants, regardless of the result: “Overall I thought York shot well today. Jordan Gillies as high gun with 40 out of 50 is impressive, and the men’s scores were close.
“Hull had the advantage of being the home team, and this paid off for them. Hull have another advantage in that they have a team member of theirs who shoots for England juniors.
“It was a shame that the teams were not mixed, shooting is a sociable sport and the mixing of Hull and York teams would have been preferable, but an enjoyable (and cold) day was had by all.
“Rachel Howell and Sean Bossick should be congratulated for taking part in their first University competition, and we look forward to seeing them improve and compete again.”