Home International English Skeet Selection Shoot: Round 1

The selection process for the 2015 English Skeet team for the Home International got underway at Northampton in early April, in some of the windiest conditions we have experienced over a selection weekend in many years. Paul Fallon reports.

Henry Mitchel can’t believe what he is seeing as target 95 flies off into the distance

Henry Mitchel can’t believe what he is seeing as target 95 flies off into the distance

Some 98 entries for team places was a near-record turnout and, the increase in numbers was evident across all of the categories with a healthy turnout of Juniors and Ladies. After a reasonable week of weather in the run up, shooters were greeted on Saturday morning with wind speeds of up to 35 mph, with some rain falling on the early squads. Forecasters had promised increasing wind speeds as the weekend progressed and unfortunately they were not wrong. The event was characterised by unpredictable targets throughout, culminating on Sunday, with gusts of nearly 50 mph ripping the roof of one of the huts provided for the scorer on the DTL. In spite of this, there was some great shooting.

Darren Parsons shot the one and 100-straight on Saturday

Darren Parsons shot the one and 100-straight on Saturday

Day One: Saturday

The brightest light of day one was Darren Parsons, who produced the only 100-straight in the challenging conditions. Running Darren a close second with the only 99 of the day was Neil Faulkner. Having missed the first target out in the morning, he went on to clear the rest. There were several shooters with 98s, including ground regular Henry Mitchel, but things were proving far from easy.

Among the Ladies, Joy Hirons found herself unwell and off form, returning a uncharacteristic 89 to go into the overnight break in seventh place, while Liz Shanks led the Ladies with a 93. It was George Owen, another Northampton regular, who led at the halfway stage in the Juniors category with a very tidy 95.

Henry Mitchel can’t believe what he is seeing as target 95 flies off into the distance

Henry Mitchel can’t believe what he is seeing as target 95 flies off into the distance

Day Two: Sunday

As shooting started on Sunday morning, there was none of the rain that had been a feature of the early squads’ shooting on the previous day, but the wind was getting worse and was expected to peak around midday. Darren’s hopes of a repeat performance from day one were soon dashed, as he dropped three targets from his first round of 25. He would eventually finish the weekend on 194, and though disappointed he was still well in contention for a team place among the top 10 senior scores.

No mistake from Andy Parsons as he finishes Sunday’s single 100-straight

No mistake from Andy Parsons as he finishes Sunday’s single 100-straight

The eventual High Gun was Henry, who despite missing a low seven on his final round had an otherwise flawless shoot. Neil Faulkner brought in three rounds of 24 and one of 25 to finish his weekend as one of two on 196 in the Runner-Up spot behind him. Sharing in second place was Andy Parsons, whose 100-straight on day two was not enough to make up for a 96 on Saturday.

Joy Hirons returned to form on Sunday with just another four targets lost. A 185 finish left her leading the Ladies into the final stage in June. George Owen continued his progress to finish on 189, topping the Juniors leaderboard. Bill Moussalli leads the vets with a very respectable 195, two targets ahead of Johnny Walker on 193.

A good recovery for Joy Hirons on Sunday

A good recovery for Joy Hirons on Sunday

There is plenty of shooting yet to be done in June – when the selection shoot heads for Dartford – before anyone can claim an England Cap for the Home International team that will visit Mid Wales in August, and there are plenty of potential claimants with the ability to come through. However, with the top 10 senior men’s scores going down to 194 and a further full weekend of 200 targets yet to be shot to produce the teams, this is certainly not going to be a high scoring year for the selection process.

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One comment on “Home International English Skeet Selection Shoot: Round 1
  1. Bob Meadows says:

    I’d also like to thank the competitors for their patience on both days, from the ground staff and officials. The targets were a nightmare to set each morning and the wind caused variations that were ‘the norm’ on these two days. When you see the scores that were returned, they were only achieved by some of the most reactive shooting. Well done everyone.

    Bob Meadows
    CPSA 11003

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