James Simon reports on Peter Chester’s victory at the World Skeet Masters

After a long gap from shooting, Peter Chester burst back onto the scene, winning the World Skeet Masters, reports James Simon

Comeback ing and overall champion Peter Chester accomplished some remarkable results during the tournament

This year has marked a remarkable come-back for Peter Chester. After more than a decade away from shooting, he has made a Phoenix-like return to form, astonishing everyone with dazzling performances at the ESC Grand Eastern Championship, the BSSA European Open and now the World Skeet Masters. 

What made this latest achievement all the more remarkable was a 197/200 score in truly awful, first-day weather conditions at Eriswell Lodge. On Friday 25 September, rain and wind hammered Eriswell Lodge from the north. A cold, unwelcome introduction to Autumn that eased only marginally during the rest of the three-day event. Who says Skeet isn’t fun!

World Skeet Masters 2.0

Of course, Peter’s isn’t the only comeback to celebrate. The World Skeet Masters was originally John Dyson’s baby that made a brief, seemingly one-off appearance back in 1989.

It then lay dormant for 30 years until Stuart Smith, MD of Eriswell Lodge, persuaded John to resurrect it last year. Now in its third year, let’s hope the competition becomes an annual fixture.

“The idea behind the shoot was always to bring well-deserved attention to Skeet,” explained John Dyson. “To put on a great show, at a fantastic ground like Eriswell Lodge with some decent prizes.

“Again, this year we have £1,000 for high gun, £500 for runner-up plus other prizes generously provided by our sponsors Hull Cartridge, Promatic Traps, Jack Pyke, John Rothery Wholesale, Brakes Catering and Essex Gun.”

Fantastic shooting from Martin Walmsley gained him runner-pp spot. Both he and Peter Chester managed to straight the final

It’s not a CPSA registered shoot, so Stuart and John are free to mix the format up a bit to keep things interesting. Competitors shoot 100 English Skeet singles in the morning, followed by 100 Doubles in the afternoon.

“The secret of putting on a good Skeet shoot is to make sure that everything goes smoothly,” said John. “It is all in the planning. After last year’s success, I did wish that it was better attended, but with Covid-19 we knew we’d be down on entries and, of course, the weather hasn’t helped. 

“We’ve spent a fair bit of time fine-tuning the targets this weekend because of the wind. Some birds had to be lowered because the wind was lifting them. Friday was particularly bad with gusts of between 40 to 50mph.”

The Action, Day-by-Day

Friday 25 September

As John has previously pointed out, Friday proved to be the coldest, wettest and above all windiest day of the events. Despite his team’s best efforts, some of the clays were unpredictable fliers in the powerful gusts, but this didn’t stop Peter Chester from storming through with an incredible 197/200. He missed a high target on the second round of the English Skeet and two more on rounds one and three of the Doubles. 

M Christian led the A Class with 174/200, L Coe topped B Class with 179/200 and Carl Sobkowiak headed up C Class with 168/200. John Dyson and M Davies were joint first on the Veterans leader board with 188/200.

Saturday 26 September

The weather eased up slightly on the Saturday, but conditions were still far from ideal. A rash of superb scores were achieved, but nobody could rival Peter Chester’s 197/200 from Friday. 

Martin Walmsley made a sterling effort with 195/200 but dropped single targets on three of the English Skeet rounds and two more on the Doubles. Doug Moore also scored a valiant 195/200, similarly dropping two in the English Skeet and three in the Doubles.

A tense, closely-fought battle played out between last year’s Ladies winner Becky Kibble and Isabel Russell. Both of them dropped two targets in the second round of English Skeet. 

Becky dropped another target in round three but Isabel then dropped one in round four, which left them level-pegging as they started the Doubles. Here, they posted identical scores, until Becky dropped a target in a nail-biting last round, leaving her on 190/200 and Isabel on 191/200.

It was all change for most of the classes. Colin Babcock now headed up A Class with 188/200, Roger Fletcher led B Class with 186, Marcus Webb overtook Carl in C Class with 182/200. Doug Moore still headed up the Veterans with 195.

Saturday saw Colts and Juniors checking in, with Henry Lungley on a very respectable 190/200 and Thomas McCarle on 185/200 respectively.

Bringing home the silverware. From l to r: John Dyson, Champion Peter Chester, Sam Hawksworth from Hull Cartridge, Runner-up Martin Walmsley, Stuart Smith

Sunday 27 September

Would anyone be able to rival Peter Chester’s score set on Friday? Andy Garcia shot well in the English Skeet with two clear rounds, but 97/100 didn’t feel like the prelude to a winning act. But he was on fire for the Doubles, straighting every round bar the third, leaving him just one short on 196/200. 

Christian Bethel made a very promising start in the English Skeet with 99/100, but couldn’t keep the momentum going throughout the Doubles, eventually finishing on 194/200.

A plethora of 194/200s meant that eight competitors were vying for a spot in the six-place final: Peter Chester 197/200, Andy Garcia 196/200, Martin Walmsley 195/200, Doug Moore 195/200, Dave Morgan 194/200, Tom Clifford 194/200, Dave Hendon 194/200 and Chris Bethel 194/200. Sadly, in the shoot-off, Dave Hendon and Chris Bethel couldn’t keep up with the rest of the group and their competition was over.

Conditions for the final were still far from perfect, but that didn’t seem to faze Peter Chester. Putting in a remarkable performance for somebody who’s been away from the sport for so long, Peter coolly managed to straight the final and claim Overall Champion.

Andy Garcia and Martin Walmsley wait their turn as Doug Moore takes a shot

Martin Walmsley held his nerve and, with some exceptional shooting, was able to straight the final too, giving him the well-deserved Runner Up spot. Andy Garcia, who had showed so much promise earlier in the day, dropped just a couple of targets to finish on 196+49, a fine effort that still earned him the AA Class gold. 

Isabel Russell maintained her lead to take Ladies gold with 191/200. Dave Hendon on 194/200 took the A Class title. P Cook successfully shot his way to take B Class with 187/200, and Matt Morgan opened up the lead with some good, consistent shooting to take C Class.

Peter Stanton Hope shot well enough to get silver in the Veterans class with 191/200, but couldn’t shake Doug Moore 195/200 from the top spot.

Colt Alex Banning shot a phenomenal 99/100 in the English Skeet, but unfortunately couldn’t sustain the performance in the Doubles, where he finally finished on 188/200, below Sonny Bowman 189/200 and title winner Henry Lungley 190/200.

Harry Willis shot superbly in the English Skeet rounds with a 98/100, eventually taking the Juniors title with a 191/200.

Challenging but worth it

There’s no doubt that the poor weather and ravages of Covid hampered this year’s World Skeet Masters, but nevertheless the quality of shooting on display was first-class, and everyone present had clearly enjoyed themselves. 

“We had 110 competitors, which of course is down on last year,” said Stuart. “The Government’s Covid announcement earlier this week didn’t help us, and the weather hasn’t been kind to us either. But we’ve had some excellent scores posted despite the conditions. The weather may have dampened the ground but it certainly didn’t dampen people’s spirits nor their ability to shoot. 

“Friday was the toughest day but Peter Chester posted an incredible score. A name from the past that vanished many years ago but has now made a welcome comeback. Staggering to score a 197 in those conditions – we had to check the cards many times to make sure we hadn’t made a mistake! Then to go on and straight the final, quite amazing!

Shooter insights

Peter Chester
It’s been good, really good. The conditions on Friday were much worse than today. I nearly got blown off my feet while shooting the Doubles. I shot the low bird, a gust came in and I had to balance on my heels to take the high bird. 

Alex Banning 
I straighted the first 50 in English, which I was really pleased with. Then I straighted the next 25 but dropped one on the last round finishing the English on 99. So, that was slightly disappointing, but overall I’m still really pleased. 

Alex Garcia
The conditions today (Sunday) are challenging but the targets are hittable, and the scores prove that. The windy quite gusty at times but the targets are holding well. The team here at Eriswell have done a good job with them. The facilities are outstanding. 

Peter Stanton Hope
The targets were very good and although windy, most of the time the wind was coming head-on, which affects the targets more consistently. I’m very impressed with the new clubhouse. This is what the sport needs; you get tired of sitting in some cold, leaky hut with a filthy toilet. 

Dave Hendon 
I had a good day. It was great shooting with Alex and Peter because it always helps my scores come along. I found the conditions tricky but if you start off well then you’ve got half a chance. 

Daren Parsons
A windy day will always find holes in your game. I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t shoot anywhere as well as I would have liked to have done. The team at Eriswell did a good job with the targets, they’ve got them to fly really well. 

John Shaw
Testing targets, but all good targets. It has been good to see the high quality of shooting over the weekend in these conditions. 

Andy Bone 
Thank you to Eriswell for presenting such good targets. I’ve enjoyed myself!

Isabel Russell 
I don’t like to look at the scoreboard during the day because I don’t want the additional pressure. In the end there was just one clay in it – just like last year but we swapped positions. The Skeet layouts have always been good here but now the building is lovely too. Perfect really, if only every club was like this.


Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Features

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

Follow Us!