Paul Wilkinson conquered the inaugural Midlands Grand Prix, which is the first major event run by Mickley Hall Shooting School.
It was held over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend at Red Hall Farm, by kind permission of Mick and Mandy Berrisford, situated on the Staffordshire boundary with rolling hills, open pasture land and wooded valley that leading the shooters around the virgin grounds. With a lot of help and sponsorship from Promatic LTD, Eley Hawk Cartridges and Edgar Brothers, it looked set to be a big event.
Over 450 competitors took up the challenge set by Scott Barnett, which threw no targets over 40 metres but the course still had plenty to trip up the top shots and enough to keep everyone happy, ending in only a handful of people shooting less than fifty percent. The first half of the course seemed to shoot the easiest, with the valley doing most of the damage with a mix of fast going-away, slow 70mm half-driven slow crosser, and at the end a superfast midi driven followed by slower mini. The end of the shoot was not overly hard but a fast battue and chondelle over the pond caught a few out, and the pair of rabbits at the end was the demise of many a good card.
Friday’s competitors shot in warm, spring, sunny weather, and after the first rotation went through James Attwood was in on 140ex-150. Cheryl Hall nearly did one better until the last rabbit stand, but she was still top of the Ladies on 136. Kurt Bridges was one of the last in on the first wave and posted a 141 – good enough to secure AA-class. Second wave came in with John Lee posting 142 to leave him in Third Overall at the end, but Paul Wilkinson blasted in 146, which was contested but was far too strong and ended up the championship winning score. Keith Roe and Gordon Boertien posted 137 to split first in Veterans and second in AA-class. Paul Hutchinson won A-class on 139 and Jim Brodie won B-class with 134.
Saturday was forecast to come wet and windy in the afternoon so all competitors had a choice to go out earlier if wanted and many had finished by 2pm missing the worst of the weather. The scores generally were a couple lower than Friday but the stand-out performance was of local shooter Tim Simmons on a brilliant 143, which left him second at the end of proceedings. Stephen Nutbeam was in with 138, Stuart Rudling shot 137 and Chris Childerhouse had 136. The Juniors category was hard fought and Connor Gorsuch was High Gun on 137, just ahead of Billy Boughan on 136.
Sunday saw a lot of big guns go out in sunny weather with a strong breeze and heavy 10-minute showers. Chris Daniels, Brett Davies all started well smashing the course up on until the half way point and stand by stand one or two slipped away leaving the pair on 141 leaving them tied for High Gun in AAA with Dave Hughes.