The performance of shooters from The Armidale School improved dramatically during three days of competition last week, as the team garnered the advice of some of the best in the business.
At the annual GPS championships held at Hornsby Rifle Range on 14-15 July, the team improved its ranking across competitions and disciplines, and while not coming home with a trophy, showed a strong development in skill and technique.
On the first day of competition the First VIII struggled with the Rawson Cup competition, shot at a 500m and 600m stage, and placed last. Later that day in the NRA Shield over 600m, a significant improvement resulted in a lift to fifth place, with only seven points separating them from the third place getters, and Burren Junction’s Cameron Holcombe only dropping seven points.
The second day of competition commenced with the Second VIII shooting a seven shot stage at 500m followed by seven shots at 300m for the GPS Seconds Premiership Shield. The team ranked fifth, only four points behind the second-place getter. Best of the TAS shooters was Henry Smith of Duri, who dropped only one point for the match with a score of 69-7 (possible 70). Smith was rewarded with elevation to the Firsts for that afternoon’s final match of the premiership, the Buchanan Shield, which involved a 300m eight-shot deliberate stage followed by a snap application. TAS ranked third in this match, narrowly beaten into second place by two points from The Scots College and further ahead in first place was The King’s School, who ultimately won the premiership. For TAS, Smith, Sam Cannington of Narrabri and Tom Southwell of Bingara, were the top shooters, all with 75-3 (possible 80).
“The boys benefitted greatly from the expertise of former Olympian David Hollister, current Australian coach Rick Ashton and veteran competitor Rob Bondfield, at a pre-competition camp,” Shooting MIC Trevor Thatcher said.
“With many of the boys only in Year 9, TAS had the youngest team in the competition and their experience will augur well for the future.”