Rifle Club has been a long-standing tradition at Bedford School and is popular with both CCF boys and those who simply want to try their hand at something completely new. We currently have three teams of four boys who compete against other schools regularly and we have had considerable success in the last couple of years, most notably winning the CADSAAM shield for the first time in 116 years! A title which the boys succeeded in regaining this year too.
It was therefore wonderful when over 20 girls from Bedford Girls’ School showed interest and signed up to join the club, which we have extended to the Girls’ School for the first time in recent years, providing another opportunity for the pupils to interact with each other.
Mrs Lisa Garner, Teacher of Economics and Business at the Girls’ School, explained, “We have had a fantastic response to Rifle Club with 20 girls signed up to join. Some have had previous experience of shooting, but for many this will be their first time and great to see the girls try their hand at something new.”
The club uses small bore rifles of .22 calibre fired in a prone position across the school’s 25 metre indoor rifle range. Our A team fire at 5-bull targets, with some boys capable of scoring well on a 10-bull target. Mrs Lumley-Wood, who co-runs the club, explained that rifle range shooting is actually one the safest sports due to its strict regulations and heavy culture of discipline. The sport itself teaches boys meditation, focus and concentration. In fact, the elite train themselves to be able to slow their breathing and, indeed, heartrate right down to ensure their bodies are as steady and still as possible. Quite a feat when you think of the Olympic biathlon event when shooting follows a 5km cross-country ski!
The girls showed that they are Olympians in the making with a great first shoot, impressing the instructors and spectators. Athena Kurtti, one of the girls in attendance told us, “I wanted to come along to learn the sport because I plan to compete in a Pentathlon where one of the disciplines is rifle shooting.”
Well done to all the pupils who took part. You never know, there might be scope for a mixed shooting team in the future.