Blustery Bisley provided some challenging targets and conditions across the weekend to test the mettle of all concerned, and while a bright young Nathan Hales claimed the Men’s British Grand Prix title, a more familiar face in Sarah Wixey took the Ladies.
In similar format to the English Open, five squads of Ladies used one layout for the three qualification rounds and it became apparent early on that this event would be a war of attrition with a strong and persistent blustery wind and frequent changes in light making the targets more challenging than usual – it wasn’t going to be a high scoring event. After 75, Anita North and Sarah Wixey were tied for the title with 64 each. This was settled with a single-barrel, sudden-death shoot-off, which went in Wixey’s favour, adding her name to the trophy for the third time.
The top six shooters, Wixey, North, Caroline Povey on 63, Charlotte Kerwood with 62, and Kirsty Barr and Abbey Ling one target back, then went on to compete for GB team places and ranking points in the single barrel semi-final from scratch score. Sarah and Kirsty advanced to the gold-medal match and Caroline and Abbey to the bronze with Anita and Charlotte finishing fifth and sixth, respectively. Eventually, Kirsty held out to finish as the winner with Sarah second and Caroline third.
The men enjoyed better conditions on the second day but 25-straights remained elusive with only a handful making the board. Young Nathan Hales showed maturity beyond his years to score consistently throughout, and he finished on 116ex-125 to take the coveted British Grand Prix title outright.
Nathan was closely followed by Ed Ling on 115, a super 114 came from Welshman Jonathan Davis, James Sole shot a creditable 113 while nursing a bad back, and Matt Panter and Dave Sipling completed the top six with 112 apiece.
The six-man semi-final got underway with James and Ed being the first casualties finishing fifth and sixth, respectively. It took a further shoot-off to place Dave and Jonathan into the gold medal match. Matt beat Nathan to claim the bronze position and then a gripping gold medal head-to-head went right to the wire with Jonathan Davis missing his last target to finish second to a delighted Dave Sipling.