Pathway to success

Anita North reports from the British Shooting Pathway Championships and Promatic Grand Prix.

Skeet winners L-R George Downing, Denzil Grose and Rob Vincent

The Promatic Grand Prix provided a friendly competition to round off the clay season at Nuthampstead Shooting Ground over the weekend of 19 and 20 October.

The weekend was also British Shooting Talent Pathway Championships, which has become a regular fixture held at the end of the year’s block of training for shooters on the Pathway.

This competition is of particular interest to me, as I have been coaching on the Pathway for four years and have a particular interest in getting more groups established around the country.

This year also saw shooters from the British Army Olympic development squads take this opportunity to test some of the skills they have been working on during the year. 

For some shooters it was their first ever competition in their chosen Olympic disciplines of Olympic Trap or Olympic Skeet. Indeed, for some it was their first competition in any shooting discipline. With a number of the Pathway coaches attending the weekend, shooters were supported in this step.

The Pathway Championships continue to evolve, and this was the second year that Trap was contested over 125 targets shot over two days. Skeet has now also followed this format, having previously being a one-day competition. 

For Trap, the incorporation of Pathway shooters into the Promatic Grand Prix meant there were 21 Pathway shooters amongst the seven squads of Trap shooters, while there were 19 shooters split into four squads for Skeet. 

The start on Saturday saw autumnal weather, mostly cool and bright, with cloud developing so that light conditions changed during the day. In the Trap competition, Pathway shooter Ben Killian was in impressive form and ended the day joint top of the leader board with Bernard Yeoh on 72 ex-75.

Jake Janes, another Pathway shooter, was one target behind, while Pathway shooters Richard Parker and Mark Robinson were two targets behind him. It was great to see four Pathway shooters in the top ten overnight.

There were some significant milestones for shooters, including Elise Dixon shooting her first 25-straight on the second round of the day. 

The Olympic Skeet class winners collect their prizes from Nuthampstead’s Ed Barker

In the Skeet competition, Gary Young finished the day at the top of the scoreboard with 65, followed by George Downing and Rob Vincent, with Denzil Grose and Maddie Russell in joint fourth place and Kirstin Vogel making up the top six shooters overnight. All was to play for on the second day.

Sunday saw dull autumn weather with a definite chill in the air, but conditions remained fairly constant through the day. Over the two days, Ben Killian, Jake Janes and Mark Robinson shot consistently to earn their places in the Promatic Grand Prix final. They were joined by Bernard Yeoh, David Izzard and Wayne Killian (Ben’s father).

Jake and Ben had strong performances in the final, and ultimately it was Jake Janes who took the win, followed by Ben Killian with Bernard Yeoh finishing in third place.

The Pathway Championships also provided a full ISSF format final for both Trap and Skeet. In the Trap competition, with Ben, Jake and Mark in the Promatic Grand Prix final, the next highest score from a Pathway shooter was 113 from Richard Parker in his first ever registered competition in any discipline. 

Richard went into the final in pole position. The other finalists were Maddie Purser, Zara Dunford, Niven Schofield and Elise Dixon. The final was fiercely contested and Richard maintained his composure throughout to take the win, with Niven in second place and Maddie in third place.

Maddie Purser shoots the final of the Trap competition

Meanwhile in Skeet, Denzil Grose was the highest in qualification with a score of 104. He was joined in the final by George Downing, Rob Vincent, Gary Young, Maddie Russell and Sebastian Noakes.

It took a shoot off at the end of the final between Denzil and Rob to decide the winner. Denzil took the win, Rob in second place and George was third. 

After the class prize awards and the presentation of sponsored cartridges to the top three shooters in the Promatic Grand Prix, it was time for the Pathway prize ceremony. Christian Schofield, Pathway Co-ordinator, started the presentations with a speech, thanking Nuthampstead Shooting Ground for hosting the event.

He went on to give a massive thank you to all the sponsors of the Championships, and finished with a thank you to the parents of Pathway junior shooters who have supported their children in their sport. 

Sponsored prizes from companies and individuals meant there was a generous prize pool for the Pathway Championships worth almost £2,500. A massive thank you goes out to everyone who contributed.

Prizes included vouchers for Seeland skeet vests and padded Hawker jackets, a large selection of fireworks, vouchers for Oakley sunglasses, bags, gunslips, vouchers for custom moulded ear plugs, vouchers for practice rounds at Nuthampstead Shooting Ground, gift vouchers from the Gun Room, cartridges donated by companies and by some of the Pathway coaches, and two subscriptions to Clay Shooting magazine.

Niven Schofield, Richard Parker and Maddie Purser celebrate after the Trap final

Shooters were able to choose their prize in order with the highest from each group choosing first and then working down the scores list alternating between OT and OS shooters. The generous prize pool meant that everyone who took part left with at least one prize, so there were smiles all round at the end of the day.

Thanks to the following sponsors who helped ensure the Pathway Championships is a special competition: Seeland UK Ltd, Cosmic Fireworks, Ed Lyons, Plugzz, Nuthampstead Shooting Ground, Rob Hall of The Gun Room, Mirage Cartridges, Bonart, Mid Wales Shooting Centre, Driven Sporting and Lyalvale Express.

I have to add a massive shout out and thank you to Pathway coaches Allen Warren and Katy Poulsom who ensured the Skeet competition ran smoothly. They have continually put so much into the discipline and are an invaluable asset to the Pathway team.

As a coach, it is great to see people test their shooting by competing. Training is important, but we always have to remember why we train is primarily to prepare us fully to compete.

Congratulations to Jake and Ben for such brilliant shooting to finish top two in the Promatic Grand Prix. Hats off to Richard Parker taking a win in his first ever registered competition.

Richard joined the Pathway group at Doveridge this year after many years of game shooting where he has been coached by Lee Campion and myself. Richard certainly looks to have the Olympic Trap bug and it has been great to watch him progress this year. 

Jake Janes took the top spot in the Promatic Grand Prix

For me, there are several points that stand out for me from this weekend. It was great to see male and female shooters in the final. I am sure it was valuable experience for all concerned. Well done to all of those shooting their first competition.

I hope this was the first of many competitions for you. The most important thing is that you enjoyed the experience when you look back.

While you may have felt out of your comfort zone, nervous and uneasy, remember that’s where great learning takes place – you did it!

Well done everyone, congratulations to all who made the finals and here’s to 2020! 

Find out more about the British Shooting Talent Pathway at: www.britishshooting.org.uk/article/875 

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