Weekend wonder

The 2019 Down The Line Weekend at Bywell saw monolithic talents square off, witnessed by Lloyd Pattison

Mark Shaw won the top honours at the biggest DTL event of the year, the ever popular DTL Weekend at Bywell Shooting Ground, which took place on 14-16 June. Mark had only started shooting again a month earlier, following an enforced break after he was made redundant last year.

But he shot superbly in testing conditions to not only win the English Open Champion title but also the Beretta sponsored DT11 prize for the overall high gun of the weekend. Nigel Chapman won the prestigious Dougall Memorial trophy the previous day.

The sheer scale of the Weekend was impressive. Twelve layouts ran continuously over the four days, and more than 300 shooters competed over the course of the event. Practice day was on the Thursday, Sponsors’ Day on Friday, the Dougall Memorial shoot took place on the Saturday and the English Open was on the Sunday.

Many would have found this daunting to organise, but after running the event for the past 28 years the Bywell team have got it down to a fine art. Everything ran smoothly and the ground looked superb.

One factor that no-one could control, of course, was the weather, which did its best to throw a spanner in the works. Conditions varied enormously over the weekend, with fluctuating temperatures, dry spells and rain, and visibility coming and going as clouds built up over the ground and moved away. At least the wind was relatively light and consistent for the duration of the event.

On the Saturday Nigel Chapman from Yorkshire needed his second barrel only once, on his third layout, and as a result won the Dougall Memorial Trophy with a superb 100/299.

Runner-up Paul Turner was just a single point behind, with 100/298. Ian Mullarkey shot a straight 25/75 to win the shoot-off for third place after tying with the eventual AA winner Ian Douglas on 100/297.

There were other shoot-offs to decide placings in Ladies, Juniors and Disabled Standing. Notable was Mark Delf, who won the shoot-off for top spot in Disabled Standing; Mark tied with Steve Booth on 98/290, then just pipped him in the shoot-off by a single point with 25/72.

Open for business

The English Open championship title was contested on the final day of the weekend, when intermittent heavy cloud meant that target visibility varied considerably through the day. The top competitors handled it well, producing a tightly packed crop of top scores that required several shoot-offs to settle the final places.

At the top of the scoreboard were Mark Shaw, Dan Price and Paul Chaplow, who were tied on 100/298. As the three took the line for the deciding shoot-off, the skies opened. Spectators packed under a gazebo while the three top shooters battled it out in the downpour.

Mark shot a 25/74 while Dan and Paul dropped behind on 24/72. That meant that with victory in the bag Mark could take shelter in the clubhouse, leaving the other two to fight on for second place. It didn’t last long – Dan shot a perfect 25/75 while Paul fell away with another 24/72.

There were plenty more shoot-offs to decide placings in the classes. Austin Coxhead beat Mark Delf to take AA, Jeremy Frith beat T McCauley in A, Shane beat Allan Henry in Veterans, and Charlotte Kitchen beat Leanne Powell for third place in Ladies.

Finally it was time to decide the overall winner of the weekend – with a lovely Beretta DT11 shotgun at stake for the top gun. Mark Shaw returned to the fray to take on Dougall Memorial winner Nigel Chapman.

Despite the pressure Mark made no mistake. His heart pounding, he somehow found the calm necessary to shoot a perfect 25/75 to win the gun and the overall honours.

“Wow, what a very special day!” he commented afterwards, thanking Hull Cartridge and Krieghoff for their support.

“What made today even more special was the amazing heartfelt comments from so many fellow shooters and staff at the shooting ground. It really means a lot. Thank you to the event sponsors and well done to all the winners!”

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