End of Season Report
The 2015/16 season will go down as one of the most successful in years for Edinburgh University Rifle Club. The club won a mountain of trophies, a pile of medals and a combined number of accolades almost too great to count. With the vast majority of the successful teams staying on next year, this year’s success not only reflects the huge amount of talent and commitment within the club but also the enormous potential for next season.
The first big success of the year was the club’s consistently magnificent performances in the SSS Smallbore Grand Prix series. The club finished as victors in the Ladies Triad, Team of IV and the main Team of VIII events, with the VIII winning an incredible 14 out of a possible 15 points. There was also success in the pairs event where Ben Kelly and Nikki Sammels comfortably took 1st place and Chris Gray and Rory MacLeod coming a close 3rd. In the individual events, Chris Gray took 3rd place in A class against strong opposition and Vicky Carter, in her first season with EURC, took 3rd in a very competitive B class.
The club also put in a strong showing at the SSS Indoor Championships in Perth despite having to field a depleted team due to illness and scheduling clashes. The team of VIII came an agonising 2nd by only a single point to a full strength St Andrews team despite missing 3 regular members. Meanwhile, there was success for the Ladies Triad and team of IV who both took 1st place, while Nikki Sammels and Ben Kelly continued their good form to take 2nd place in the pairs. There was further success in the individuals where Nikki Sammels came 3rd in A class and Lara Muttiah took 2nd in B class. The Indoor Championships also features a separate final, contested by the top scorers from across the individual classes. EURC had 5 representatives in the 10 person final and this was rewarded with a fine 3rd place for Nikki Sammels and a spectacular victory for Ben Kelly in his final match with EURC, making him the reigning Scottish Universities Indoor champion.
The SSS Outdoor Championships again highlighted the talent at EURC’s disposal as the club collected yet more silverware. Despite being the only club unable to train due to a lack of suitable local outdoor facilities, EURC came away victorious in the team of VIII as well as taking 2nd place in the Ladies Triad, team of IV and the pairs (Chris Gray and Rory MacLeod). There was also a great deal of individual success with James Gutteridge taking 1st place in A class to become Scottish Universities Outdoor champion, Rhys Olley taking 3rd place in the B class shoot and Tom Pryce taking 1st place in the C class competition. In the Olympic style ISSF 50m shoot held the following day, Rhys again shot well to take 1st place in B class with a score that would have placed him in 2nd by a single point in A class.
Moving onto the BUCS competitions, Edinburgh continued their stellar form against the best of Britain’s university shooters. In the BUCS postal leagues, which double as the qualifiers for the BUCS Indoor Championships, EURC A took 1st place in Division 1 to qualify in pole position for the indoor championships. Meanwhile, EURC B, comprising of a number of shooters new to competitive shooting, shot consistently well to take 1st place in Division 4, the first time ever Edinburgh teams have managed a double victory in these leagues..
At the BUCS Indoor Championships, EURC lived up to their billing as favourites by taking 1st place in the team competition, knocking last year’s champions Southampton back into 2nd by a comfortable margin. There was also success for Nikki Sammels who took 3rd place in the Ladies individual competition, beating her teammate Bryony Fraser-Burn into 4th by only a single point out of 400. The club also had 4 representatives in the Open individual final but they had no joy against an extremely strong field.
EURC went into the BUCS Outdoor Championships as dark horses, given that almost every other team competing for the top team spots had access to outdoor training facilities, while EURC had only shot a single outdoors match all season. However, despite their status as outsiders, it proved to be another extremely successful weekend for EURC, with the team of VIII taking home 1st place as BUCS Outdoor champions, which meant that we finished as double British and Scottish university champions. The club also pulled off the remarkable feat of securing 2nd and 3rd place in the team of IV competition, only missing out on 1st to an extremely experienced Newcastle IV. Nikki Sammels again brought the club its’ sole individual success, taking 2nd in the Ladies Individual, only behind a Commonwealth Games rifle shooter. The BUCS Outdoor championships also hosts a match between the top scorers on the day from the English and Scottish universities. In the Scottish team of 10, EURC had 6 representatives and they were unlucky to lose out by only 14 points out of a possible total of 2000 to a very strong English team.
Finally, the club took the opportunity this year to engage with the wider shooting community in Scotland beyond the university circuit by getting involved with a number of postal competitions. As well as giving new shooters a taste of competition, these also provided crucial match-style practice for our successful teams against significantly more experienced shooters. In the Lothian Smallbore Shooting Association competitions, the club had some great successes. In the Team League, Edinburgh C took 1st place in Division 4, with three of the four team members shooting their first league competition. Meanwhile, in the LSSA Individual League, Chris Gray took 1st place in Division 3 against some stern competition. In addition, in the Lothian Championships, Bryony Fraser-Burn took 1st place to become county Ladies champion, while Lara Muttiah was a close 2nd. Shash Singh also took 1st place in the B Handicap competition, a great achievement in his first competitive shoot. The club also submitted 3 teams into the Scottish Smallbore Association and came away with two 1st places and a narrow 2nd place. The A team were victorious in Division 2, the B team likewise won Division 3 and the C team missed out on victory in Division 4 by only a single win.
Overall, it was a phenomenally successful season for the smallbore section of the club. With the air pistol and air rifle section of the club continuing to grow and develop, there is great hope that they might see some well-earned reward for their efforts next season. Meanwhile, the club’s fullbore section have already clinched 1st place in the SSS fullbore team match, with Rory MacLeod and Seth Dowley taking 1st and 2nd place in the individual competition respectively. They will look forward to this summer’s BUCS matches and hopefully can round off an absolutely incredible season for the club. With only a single member of the main teams leaving this season, there is every hope that we can build on our success this year and cement our position as the best student rifle club in Britain.