BUCS Outdoors at Appleton
This year’s smallbore season has been nothing short of spectacular for Edinburgh University Rifle Club with the club’s teams winning almost every major team event available for university rifle clubs in Scotland and Britain alongside a host of other trophies and medals. Accordingly, the club travelled down to Appleton Range in Warrington for the BUCS Outdoor Championships with high hopes of rounding off the season in style and, perhaps unsurprisingly considering their dominant season, very much did so.
The Team of 8, comprised of Chris Gray, Richard Sobolewski, Vicky Carter, Nikki Sammels, James Gutteridge, Fraser McPhie, Rhys Olley and Rory MacLeod, achieved a runaway victory in the main team event, securing the win by an extraordinarily comfortable margin of 55 points with a final score of 5645/6000. This win also means that EURC are now the reigning British Universities Indoor and Outdoor champions, a feat not achieved by any Scottish university team since the 2009 Aberdeen team which featured multiple international athletes and a Commonwealth Games medal winner.
There was also success for both the Edinburgh A and B Team of 4, with the sides clinching 2nd and 3rd place respectively, only losing out to an extremely strong and experienced Newcastle team. The A Team comprised Chris, James, Rory and Nikki, while the B was Fraser, Vicky, Rhys and Richard. The two Edinburgh teams were only separated by 7 points out of 800, this highlights just how much strength in depth the club now has and bodes extremely well for the club going forward.
However, EURC’s success was not only limited to the team events. In the Open Individual category Richard Sobolewski, Nikki Sammels and Rory MacLeod placed in 7th, 8th and 9th respectively, an extraordinary achievement when competing against many of the best junior shooters in Britain. Nikki also did extremely well to place in 2nd in the Ladies Individual competition.
Meanwhile, in the Home Countries international match against the English Universities, EURC had six representatives in the ten strong Scotland team – Richard Sobolewski, Nikki Sammels, Vicky Carter, Rhys Olley and Rory MacLeod, with Chris Gray as team captain. Despite a strong showing the Scotland team lost narrowly, scoring 1900/2000 points to England’s 1914/2000.
It would be remiss not to make special mentions for a few of the EURC contingent from this hugely successful weekend. First and foremost, Richard Sobolewski, shooting in potentially his last ever university event, shot a number of personal best scores in recording the highest score in the team. Secondly, Vicky Carter, shooting outdoors for the first time ever, recorded the one of the highest single card scores on the day for Edinburgh with an incredible 196/200 on her second card. Last but not least, Fraser McPhie stepped in at the eleventh hour to cover a last minute illness to one of the originally selected team and had no time to train or prepare for the match. Despite this, he shot very credibly and without his willingness to step in at such short notice there would have been no Edinburgh team.
This has been a phenomenally successful season for EURC, with almost too many trophies, medals and various other accolades to remember, and with the vast majority of this year’s teams staying on, next year looks set to be just as, if not even more, successful. With the university smallbore season now concluded, the club looks forward to the university fullbore season, as well as the NSRA National Smallbore Meetings and NRA Fullbore Meetings over the summer months where the club will be well represented and hope to build on last year’s strong performances.