It’s been another vintage year for the Bedfordians RC on the ranges and not least due to the increasing form of second-generation Bedfordians (the club was set up over forty years ago deliberately to encompass family members, hence not being Old Bedfordians RC). We now have no less than seven children of OBs representing the club and, in some cases, at international level.
The early season saw Nigel Penn (65-69) competing in New Zealand in the World Long Range Championships and success for the OBs in the small-bore match against the School VIII at Bedford (top scorer Rupert Riley (79-89) with a perfect 195/195). This was followed by some sterling performances against other old School teams in the Q Match series at Bisley during the spring and early summer.
Following his selection for the England Long Range team in the Mackinnon match in 2018, Rupert Riley was picked to train with the England Development Squad for 2019 and his early season team and individual success (winning the Army Open Saturday Aggregate and the Scottish Open President’s Trophy) resulting in another England cap in the Lawrence Match vs Scotland at Blair Atholl in June.
July heralded the 150th Imperial Meeting at Bisley, the world mecca of target shooting, where the club duly competed in the School’s Veterans (as ‘pure’ OBs) and then in the Astor and a special ‘150th‘ match in club teams, accounting for ourselves well enough against strong opposition and in furnace-like conditions. There weren’t quite the results we had last year in individual matches but the Corporation match (1000 yds) was a happy hunting ground for Phil Dawes (63-72) 12th and Mirek Kirkillo-Stacewicz (69-79) 15th.
Paul Sykes (son of Andy Sykes (62-73), also competing) cemented his position as one of the foremost Target Rifle shots in the sport, collecting amongst other prizes, the Silver Cross for second place in the Grand Aggregate (scores from the majority of the competitions during the meeting) and selection for England in the National and Mackinnon matches (top scoring in the National) and Great Britain in the Kolapore match, ultimately winning against the current world champions, Australia.
Rupert Riley, dropping some form, still managed to be selected as a reserve for England in the National match and Nia Barnes (daughter of Andy Barnes (76-83), also competing) was selected for the Wales U25 team as a reserve. Paul Sykes capped his impressive performance by being 3rd in the British TR Championship and an excellent 10th place in the Queen’s Prize (disappointingly the only Bedfordian in the final this year). In rounding up the Bisley meeting, special mention must finally go to Andy and Paul Sykes who were worthy winners of the ’Families’ trophy (awarded to any two relatives competing in the Queens Prize with the highest aggregate score). This was especially well received as Andy now lives in Texas and rarely comes over to shoot with us these days!
In August, Andy and Nia Barnes toured Canada with England and Wales teams respectively, with Nia sometimes showing her father how to shoot at long range! Andy was further honoured by being selected to Captain the England team in the Commonwealth Match against Canada.
As 2019 draws to a close, we look forward to next season in 2020 and the possibility of new OBs coming on stream from the School Rifle Club. Any School leaver interested in progressing on to competitive full-bore Target Rifle shooting would be very welcome to join what they should consider their ‘home club’; contact details available from the OB office.
The following represented the Bedfordians RC this year:
Nigel Penn (65-69); Phil Dawes (63-72); Andy Sykes (62-73); Martin Ebbetts (70-74); Martin Schwarz (67-73); Nick Hart (70-75); Robin Hatcher (69-76); Mirek Kirkillo-Stacewicz (69-79); Julian Hilton-Johnson (79-82); Andy Barnes (76-83); Peter Lumley-Wood (84-89); Rupert Riley (79-89); Iain Hutchison (84-90); Marc Smith (86-93); Paul Sykes; Stuart Dawes; Nia Barnes; Max Kirkillo-Stacewicz; Charlie Hart.