In a fitting climax to a week of tricky targets and great shooting, Richard Faulds stormed through in the final minutes to win the 2019 Clay Shooting Classic.
His score of 139 ex-150 was enough by one target to win the revitalised annual competition, ahead of a handful of top shooters who all stood at 138.
The event was held at Garlands Shooting Ground from 28th May to 2nd June and was run by Steve Lovatt of the Clay Shooting Company for Clay Shooting Magazine. Also on offer were some fantastic prizes from headline sponsors ATA Arms and Sportsman Gun Centre and Browning.
On top of the memorable targets and dramatic finish, the event will also be remembered for a remarkable display of sportsmanship by Steve Whitelock, and Steve Lovatt’s hard work and dedication in keeping the wheels turning despite having to contend with a bad batch of clays and a family emergency in the middle of the event.
Multi-time Classic winner and 2000 Olympics Double Trap gold medalist Richard Faulds was delighted with his win. “It was close,” he commented. “At the end of the day there’s never many targets between the top shots now, and to come away with high gun today was a challenge and I’m very pleased to do so.”
It is fitting, in the year that Tiger Woods stormed to victory to win a Major for the first time in 11 years, that Richard Faulds should capture the High Gun title at this year’s Classic; he first won the Classic in 1999 at the age of 22, then again in 2001, 2003 and 2005 – but it’s been a 14 year wait since he last lifted the splendid trophy, proving that class is truly permanent.
He felt that the targets at this year’s event were harder than they looked. “The majority of targets all looked very shootable, on both the Red and the Blue course.
“I shot the Red this morning and you got most of the way round before you saw anything that looked too tricky, but then you’ve got three or four stands on the trot where you can lose a few targets.
“Again the same with the Blue this afternoon. There was nothing monstrous, a couple of decent tower targets on the last couple of stands, but everything else was just enough to get you to miss an odd bird here and there. You don’t need to put stuff 70 or 80 yards away to get people to miss it.”
This year’s Classic saw some of the biggest names in the sport compete for the coveted prize. Sam Green, fresh as he was from winning the FITASC earlier in the week, looked to pick up the double as he led the leaderboards on Friday’s opening day for the Sporting with a score of 138 ex-50.
However, whilst acknowledged as an excellent score, there was confidence among those at the event that it could be beaten, with pundits suggesting there was a 141 or a 142 out there to be shot.
Saturday brought some fine weather and some of the big players in Sporting, but Sam remained on top of the scoreboards, joined by Phil Smith and Jamie Brightman on 138.
For George Digweed, the Clay Shooting Classic is the one major honour he has yet to win during his legendary career, but after shooting 137, his wait would continue for at least another year.
Names like Childerhouse, Husthwaite, Hance and Doughty dropped out of contention with 134.
In the end, even with some dramatic and challenging weather on Sunday, it proved to be Richard Faulds’ year, as he snatched the title from Sam Green’s grasp at the last with a score of 139 in the penultimate squad.
Be sure to read the full round-up in the next edition of Clay Shooting Magazine.