Mitchell Brooker-Smith shows nerves of a steel as he goes head-to-head to win a place on the podium…twice!
The 2019 season has officially begun, starting with the first domestic competition at Doveridge on 30-31 March. Competing in the Malaga Grand Prix determined my base-line for 2019 and I have spent all my free time engraining new tactics that I believe are going to help me progress.
The event at Doveridge consisted of two competitions: the English Open and the English Grand Prix. On the Saturday I was feeling confident; I had some good training sessions leading up to this event and the official training the day before felt smooth.
I arrived at the ground and prepared myself. I started at 10.30 on the Saturday morning. The skyline was a crisp, dark grey, which made the targets stand out like orange dustbin lids.
This worked in my favour and I started strong, shooting 24 ex-25. I used methods I have come up with to relax my mind between rounds.
As the day went on, the sun began beating down. After 100 targets I was in a fantastic position on 94, joint first with three other shooters. Next day there would be a four-way shoot-off to decide who would win the English Open 2019.
The score from Saturday was also carried into the Sunday. Another 100 targets later we would have our English Grand Prix score out of 200. Correcting some mistakes I had made on Saturday, I shot a 92, leaving me on 186 ex-200 overall.
Looking at the scores, I noticed a lot of my Junior rivals were having bad weekends. I was sympathetic, but in shooting it’s every man for himself! My score put me in two shoot-offs with my common rival Luke Young, who had exactly equalled it on both days.
We would be two out of the four shooters in contention to win the English Open, and would also have to shoot off for second in the English Grand Prix.
The English Open shoot-off was first. Myself and Luke were joined by Richard Brookes and Martin Loheac. Richard and I each missed a target on the fifth pair of station four, leaving Luke and Martin to contend for first place. Luke won, leaving Martin in second.
Myself and Richard shot off for third. Richard kept up a good fight, but eventually, his consistency faltered and allowed me to take third place.
Luke and I then shot for the Grand Prix runner up spot. The shoot-off went on for nearly an entire box of cartridges; we both wanted this! Eventually a miss put Luke behind and I took second place.
Congratulations to all the participants in the shoot-off, as well as every shooter who competed. I am now looking ahead to the first Great Britain/England team selection shoot at the NCSC Bisley on 27-28 April.
Mitchell Brooker-Smith is a promising young British shooter. He is 15 years old and comes from Gloucestershire. Having started shooting at the age of 12, he now shoots Olympic Skeet for England.