HFT Diary - Fitting Tribute
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- Last updated: 23/12/2019
Hunter Field Target has proven to be a genuine sport for all, and one event that has become a real ‘not to be missed’ day out, is the annual Air Arms RSN10 Memorial Open Cup Challenge. Held in memory of Bob Nicholls, the founder of Air Arms, and father of current Managing Director, Claire West, this tournament is indeed a fitting tribute to one of the most influential individuals within our sport.
And so, it was that, come the tail end of the season, the annual pilgrimage took place. Any excuse to get down to beautiful Sussex. And with the now well established venue of Northall Farm, near Uckfield, once again playing host, it was a simple case of set the satnav, and bowl up when instructed. 138 competitors (all pre booked) were of the same mind, and with glorious sunny conditions laid on, this was to be an enjoyable airgun jamboree, irrespective of results. Bacon butties on arrival, and a choice of hot lunch and afternoon tea, all included in the entrance fee, (don’t mind if I do!) sets this event apart. Add the unique sociable atmosphere, and civilised facilities available in the clubhouse complex, all make for a terrific day’s sport.
All out in the morning to shoot 25-targets round the Red or Blue course, back for lunch and a chinwag, then all out again in the afternoon to do whichever course we hadn’t already shot. Superbly laid out, they posed a variety of challenges, all to be navigated in the beautiful surroundings on offer. Yet perhaps the highlight was lying by the side of a lake, and shooting at targets on the other side, whilst the sun flickered across the water. Not a bad way to spend our Sunday at the end of the day. An aggregate of the two courses meant a final score ex 100 HFT-style. But with many targets across a ravine, coupled with a tricky breeze that was plenty enough to play tricks, final scores weren’t quite as easy to come by as some had assumed.
Last year’s event was marked with all the main prize categories being won by shooters using Air Arms’ own products, 2019 saw another clean sweep by this British manufacturer. Whether you shoot one of their guns or not, there now seems something of a consensus in the industry that Air Arms do sterling work in promoting the airgun sports, and their generous sponsorship is something they can be rightly proud of. Yes of course a cynic could see this as a company protecting its own future. But the obvious truth is that the new generation of shooters need to be encouraged and rewarded and incentivised into taking part. And Air Arms’ forward thinking and hands on approach, in fantastic schemes such as Target Sprint for example, has been genuinely impressive to witness.
So, their 2019 performance at this RSN Memorial event was rightly met with unanimous applause. Charles Peel is not only one of the main administrators in HFT, but also one of the real gents in the sport.
So, when he emerged as top dog on the day, a roar of appreciation from the crowd, and a hug from Claire West, was fitting reward for all his hard efforts. Charles won both the RSN10 class and the Open class, using his trusty Air Arms FTP900, and with a superb 47 scored in the morning, and a fantastic clear round of 50 in the afternoon, he proved a worthy and highly popular winner on the day. Dropping just three targets overall is superb shooting, whichever way you look at it.
Recoiling class was won by Gary Chillingworth, with his TX200HC; .22 class by Nick Byrne with his S400; the Ladies title was taken by Debra McNaught, HFT-500; Veterans went to Mike Burgess using his FTP-900; and finally, Ethan Dally took the Juniors shooting his HFT 500. Claire’s elation was tangible, but it’s nice to see such a hands-on manufacturer reap the rewards they deserve.
The raffle is always a big thing at HFT shoots these days, and with Air Arms offering a brand new HFT500 as top prize, a hushed silence descended, as the lucky individual’s name was picked from the hat. Step up Mark Walker, of Wendover Wolves HFT Club- a very happy chappy at close of business. As for the clean sweep of trophies achieved by the Air Arms shooters, Claire West, reckoned it was a great result and said:
“The standards set in competitive target shooting are set so high these days with some phenomenal shooters and great competition out there. The team should be super proud of themselves for putting in some great scores. We love hosting the RSN10 Memorial competition as it’s fantastic to see so many enthusiastic competitors and of course it always serves us as a great reminder and celebration of where Air Arms began all those years ago by remembering our founder Mr Robert S Nicholls”.
So, it just remains for me to say thanks to Claire, Charles, the Northall Farm venue staff, and everyone involved in staging such a quality event, that has become such a favourite in our HFT calendar.
Name: Manufacturer, Blue Course, Red course, Total
Open Class: 1st Charles Peel, Air Arms, 47, 50, 97
2nd Chris Theodoulou, Anschutz, 49, 47, 96
3rd Richard Woods, Anschutz, 49, 47, 96
Recoiling: 1st Gary Chillingworth, Air Arms, 43, 46, 89
Veteran: 1st Mike Burgess, Air Arms, 46, 44, 90
.22 Class: 1st Nick Byrne, Air Arms, 43, 42, 85
Juniors: 1st Ethan Dally, Air Arms, 43, 45, 88
Ladies: 1st Debra McNaught, Air Arms, 44, 46, 90