Clay Shooting’s Gabby Smith has all the news from the Clay Shooter of the Year Awards.
The Clay Shooter of the Year Awards are always a highly coveted event and this year was certainly no different. With shooters and sponsors from across the world of clay shooting in attendance, the day was an ideal opportunity for old friends to catch up and engage in a spot of friendly competition.
The day started with a 100-bird Sporting competition, where top shooters and novices alike had the chance to shoot the Handicap Classic course at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School. High gun of the day was Mickey Rouse who shot a very respectable 96 to take home a bottle of France’s finest champagne and High Lodge won the team event with a combined score of 437.
The awards themselves saw the most successful shooters in the country recognised for their incredible achievements over the last year – a particularly tough feat for the Clay Shooting team to whittle the shortlist down to the top five.
Amber Hill proved just how deserving she was of an award over the past year, racking up a number of titles in Colts, Junior and Lady classes. At just 14, Amber is already competing against the top ladies in the sport and has recently made the move to Skeet where she was selected for the England team. After such a fantastic season, it is no wonder that she has her sights set on the 2016 Olympics.
Clay Shooting royalty George Digweed was also in attendance at the Awards, and has certainly shown why he deserves an award this year. As well as wins at the ICTSF World Sporting, the Triple Classic and the FITASC Grand Prix to name but a few, George wowed onlookers at Bisley Live where he shot a clay from 130 yards.
Unfortunately Peter Wilson couldn’t be in attendance at the Awards, but his acheivements in 2011 are notable nonetheless. Wilson was the first GB shooter to gain an Olympic Quota place, winning silver in Chile in March, and followed his success up with a gold in China a few months later. He also went on to card a new British Double Trap record of 149 ex 150 at Southern Counties in September and saw himself on pole position in the ISSF world rankings.
Irish shooter Jim Doherty was also unable to attend the awards, but his successes this year are certainly admirable. His win at the Krieghoff DTL Classic was backed up by titles at the English and British Open DTL Events. No doubt 2012 will hold more successes for this fantastic shooter, and we look forward to hearing what he gets up to.
The GB FITASC ladies team were proud winners of this year’s Team of the Year award which recognises their combined efforts. Pet Easton, Janine Preece, Becky Bream and June Speakman have made a particular impact amongst the GB contingent’s successes in the FITASC world, winning both the European and World Championships. Despite tough competition from the Spanish at the Worlds, the GB team held their nerve and finished just five points ahead to take home the gold.
Jason Allaway was our final winner, a Nottinghamshire based shooter with three major titles to his name in 2011 alone. Perhaps the most notable success of the year was his visit to the Beretta World, a title he had long dreamed of winning. Allaway shot a whopping 111 to make the final of the championship and went straight in the shoot-off to seal his win. After such a successful year, we are without doubt that Jason will continue his hard work into 2012.
Occasionally a shooter makes history, and it just so happens that Cheryl Hall did exactly that after the winners of the Clay Shooter of the Year awards had been announced. On the 27th December 2011 at Southdown Gun Club, Cheryl became the first ever lady shooter to card a 100-straight, and it seemed only fitting that we recognised this achievement at the awards. Unfortunately Cheryl was called away on business at the last minute and so was unable to collect her award, but we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate her. No doubt Cheryl is preparing for a successful 2012 and we wish her the best of luck.
Unfortunately it is never possible to congratulate everyone, and it was no enviable task having to pick just five winners. 2011 was a highly successful year for our sport, particularly in the build up to London 2012, and it’s encouraging to see so many successes both in Great Britain and abroad. We have some great contenders for Olympic medals this year and no doubt their successes will help to raise the profile of clay shooting in the future.