Balancing shooting and exams with Leah Southall

Training at Mid Wales Shooting ground provided a welcome break from the exam grind

As Leah Southall embarks on her exams, her shooting schedule provides a counterpoint to revision

The evening of 26th April saw my local council’s youth awards being held. These recognise the achievements of 11-19 year olds in the local borough in categories ranging from volunteer work to sports.

I was nominated for the sports category alongside world and European champions, and I’m pleased to say that I won! I’m so thankful that people in my area have recognised my achievements and my sport, especially as it is one that not everyone has heard of. Thank you to the people who nominated me for such a fantastic award.

The month of May hasn’t been very busy for me in terms of shooting, but it has been in terms of my education. That’s right… my GCSEs have begun!

Before my exams began in earnest, I drove up to North of England CTC for the second of the England DTL selection shoots, which were held on 5-6 May. I took the opportunity to practise the day before the shoot to calm myself after what happened at Nottingham.

I shot the practice reasonably well and I felt prepared for the following two days. The first day of the competition was held on the Sunday, and I started at 9am. Despite feeling confident from practice, I missed my first target out, which made me worried about my result.

Fighting back after this rough start, I managed to shoot a 94/277, but I knew I could improve on my score. The following day was eventful; my dad’s car broke down at the ground, so the RAC had to come out and fix it. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything more serious than a faulty battery.

On the Monday, I was supposed to start at 10.20am, but I ended up starting out around 10am. I started off well, scoring a 25/73, and two rounds of 25/74. It was down to the last round to decide whether or not I would get my 100.

I barrelled one on peg 4 and 5, and then it was down to peg 3. I went and missed my 99th target, which was a straight-away (the easiest target in my opinion). I was really annoyed that I couldn’t get my 100. However, I still managed to score a 99/291 which gave me a combined score of 193/568.

On 18 May, I took a break from revision to wind down after a solid first week of exams. I went to Mid Wales Shooting Centre to make use of my Laporte/CPC sponsored clays.

I began by shooting a round of single barrel to get me to focus on only using the first barrel instead of becoming too reliant on the second, then followed it up with three rounds of normal DTL.

This was good training ahead of the Krieghoff DTL Classic, which as I write this is coming up on 23-26 May, although I will compete only on the 25th and 26th due to exams on the Thursday and Friday.

I’ll tell you about the Krieghoff at Mid Wales Shooting Centre next time, and the final England DTL selection shoot at Brook Bank, where it will be determined who has made the team!

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