Huw Stephens was tied on 19 during the qualifying period of the Sunseeker Boodles Cup at Royal Berkshire Shooting School, and required a shoot-off with three others to reach the final on 8 February.
He shot 22 and felt it was enough to see him through to the final, but little did he know that the same score would win him £5,000 from the ground for hitting the highest score.
Huw shot third out of the top 20, but was put under pressure straight away. He didn’t watch James McGuire or Karl Field, for fear of getting confused over the targets, but when he walked up to the shooting area, he later said: “I thought it sounded like Karl had hit 24, so that was it for me.”
Huw dropped a few in his first couple, but got through the first 10 in good shape and kept concentration on each target during the moment through until the end. He said: “I dropped three, but I only know one that I definitely missed.”
He finished on 22, and after Karl’s good score of 20, the still wind, and good cloud cover for a consistent and comfortable vision, a bigger score looked like it was on the cards.
Will Thatcher and Matt Hance put good runs together during their sequence to finish on 19, but Chris Daniels broke an extra clay to reach 20. Apart from that, no one came close to beating Huw, despite good performances from two-time winner John Heagren , Ricky Draper and high bird specialist Simon Ward.
Huw was one clay away from winning the headline prize, but he did pick up Royal Berkshire’s cash substitute of £5,000 for being the top shot to score fewer than 23.
The 50 Sporting put on afterwards saw a prize of enjoying a meal with your close friends and wine expert Will Lyons. The course used five stands, one that returned shooters to the high tower, and others that dotted around the Pangbourne estate.
Most shooters thought you’d be doing well to get close to 45 on the layout. Karl Field continued to do well and finished on 44. Matt Hance continued his good run to go one better, but the man who everyone thought would only do well on the high tower sequence and less so on the course due to his game shooting expertise, Simon Ward, finished on 46.
The full results from the final will soon be on Royal Berkshire’s website – www.rbss.co.uk – and you can watch a Facebook Live stream of the high tower final on Clay Shooting magazine’s Facebook page by clicking here.
A full video highlights package will be on The Shooting Show TV on Monday, and a full report will be in the April edition of the magazine.