With exams now a fading memory, Leah Southall is back in the thick of dusting clays right, left and centre.
After many months of not shooting as much as I would have liked, I decided to break myself back into the competitive environment by shooting 400 targets over two days!
So on 22-23 June, I travelled up to Mid Wales Shooting Centre to shoot the Welsh Open DTL, Welsh DTL Grand Prix, Welsh Open Double Rise and the West Midlands Single Barrel Area Championships.
For the Welsh Open, which was held on the Saturday, I had a difficult start, as I hadn’t shot for two weeks prior to the event, but in the end I managed a 96/281. I was supposed to shoot the Double Rise that day as well, but it was getting late, and my squad was moved to shoot it the next day instead.
The Sunday saw me shoot 300 targets over three disciplines in one day, which I have never done before. First off was the Welsh Grand Prix, where I shot a 98/287, which I was really pleased with. Then I shot the Welsh Open Double Rise.
I hadn’t shot Double Rise in almost a year, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I managed to shoot a 67 ex-100, which wasn’t my best performance, but I was still happy with the result. I then shot the West Midlands Single Barrel Area Championships.
I felt quite prepared, but having already shot 200 targets that day, I was extremely tired. On my final round, I was exhausted, and my shoulder was beginning to give up on me.
However, I still managed to shoot a 94 ex-100, which was a new personal best. I placed first in Colts, joint third in Juniors (as Colts and Juniors are combined for the West Midlands competitions) and first in Ladies.
On 7 July it was off to Ranton CTC to shoot the Staffordshire Single Barrel County Championships. After changing a lot of things with my coach, Phil Morgan, the previous day regarding gun hold and mounting, I felt quite prepared to compete.
I shot rounds of 20, 25, 20 and 23. The rounds on which I shot 20 were on a stand that everyone had struggled on, and being as though there are only two layouts, everyone had to shoot that line twice. I ended up with an 88 ex-100, which I was happy with.
I was very pleased with my kills. However, there was some room for improvement, and I have taken away some valuable lessons from the weekend. Shooting a 25-straight is generally difficult at Ranton, as it is a challenging ground, so I am over the moon to have shot a 25 despite not shooting there for almost a year.
I won Junior County Champion, and I won Ladies, beating Gill Grealey by just one clay! This meant that I have won the Ladies for three years in a row, and I also came first in B Class, which again I was pleased about.
As I sign off this month, I’m looking forward to competing in the British Open DTL and the European DTL Championships held at Bywell Shooting Ground towards the end of July.
These will be the first competitions where I will no longer be competing as a Colt, as I turned 16 on 13 July, meaning that I am now a Junior shooter.
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