Editor’s report from British Open

Richard Faulds caps off a fantastic summer as last year’s champion beat stiff opposition to retain his crown at High Lodge. James Marchington reports.

ichard Faulds retained his British Open English Sporting Champion title at High Lodge on 1 September, shooting 72 ex-75 in the morning’s Final, then shooting 22 ex-25 in a thrilling Super Final against Stuart Clarke, Josh Bennion, Paul Thomas, George Digweed and Sam Green.

Richard went into the Super Final one target behind the leader, Stuart Clarke, but took the lead on the first of the three stands, missing just the last target out.

He straighted the next stand, increasing his lead to two. Despite stumbling on the last stand, shot from a high platform on the Sportrap layout behind the High Lodge clubhouse, he managed to beat Stuart by a single target and retain the British Open title.

Richard Faulds lifts the historic Telegraph Cup for the fourth time in his career

“I’m absolutely delighted to successfully defend the title this year at High Lodge and come away as Champion again,” said Richard. “I’d like to say well done to John Bidwell and his team for putting on a fabulous event.

They’ve utilised some new ground very well, the targets were fantastic, and everything ran like clockwork,” he continued, going on to thank his sponsors Lyalvale Express, Caesar Guerini, Promatic and Pilla.

Richard took the Juniors title at the British Open in 1991 and 1994, first winning the overall Championship in 1998. He took the title again in 2005, then last year after a gap of 12 years – and now 2019 makes it two years in a row.

The win marked the end of this year’s major competitions for Richard, with just a handful of county and inter-county events left this season as game shooting comes to the fore.

Immediately after shooting the British, he was heading north for grouse shooting. It’s been a good season for Richard, who can count the Clay Shooting Classic among his wins in 2019.

George Digweed, who last won the title in 2011, shoots-off in front of the crowd

“It’s always nice to get on the podium at a World Championship, and I’ve managed to do that twice this year – silver at the Fitasc at Churchill’s, then third at the World English in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. There’s life in the old dog yet!”

More than 1,000 shooters competed at this year’s British Open Sporting over the four days Wednesday-Saturday, shooting 120 birds over 15 stands on a specially designed course at High Lodge, under the watchful eye of ground owner John Bidwell, himself a former British Open Champion.

At the end of each day the top five shooters from each class – AAA, AA, A, B, and C – and the top three from each category – Ladies, Seniors, Veterans, Juniors, Colts, Disabled Standing and Disabled Sitting – were invited to shoot the 75-target Final on Sunday. The top six scores from the Final qualified to shoot for the title in the Super Final.

In the event, there was an extra battle to make it to the Super Final, with only Clarke, Faulds and Green qualifying outright, and six shooters tied on 70 for the last three places.

Sam Green won the Sportrap the previous day, and took High Gun in AAA Class

George Digweed straighted the stand to cement his place in the Super Final, to be joined after a further round by Josh Bennion and Paul Thomas. The crowd that had gathered fell silent as the six Super Finalists lined up for the last lap – and the rest is history.

In the categories, Georgia Moule won Ladies, William Page won Colts, Josh Bennion won Juniors, Stuart Clarke won Veterans, Paul Bailey won Disabled Sitting, and Paul Sadler won Disabled Standing. In Classes, Sam Green won AAA, Paul Thomas won AA, Michael Neate won A, William Page won B, and Phillip Rust was the winner of C. 

At the prizegiving, bathed in glorious sunshine in front of the High Lodge clubhouse, CPSA CEO Iain Parker paid tribute to John Bidwell and the ground staff, as well as the sponsors who had made the event possible: Rizzini and Gamebore who provided a gun and cartridges respectively as prizes, and Musto.

For full results, see the website at cpsa.co.uk

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