Shooters defy breeze to register good scores

Andre du Toit won the A grade title at the Kaituna range over Labour weekend. Photo: Peter Jones.

Young South African shooter Andre du Toit, representing the Malvern club, claimed the A grade title at the Marlborough Fullbore Shooting Championship, staged over three days at Labour Weekend.

Forty eight competitors at the Kaituna range had to contend with a weekend of warm nor’westerly crosswinds making accuracy a challenge.

The net result of the conditions was that only 11 possibles were shot over the weekend, Alan White from Malvern bagging three of them.

In A grade du Toit led from the front for most of the weekend to take out the title with 475.33 from Brian Carter (Te Puke) on 473.30 and White on 472.27.

Du Toit arrived in New Zealand two years ago from the Transvaal area of South Africa. He has represented his homeland at under-19 and senior level, shooting for South Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He hopes to become eligible for NZ in time to shoot for this country at the world champs in 2023.

Entry numbers for the annual champs were well up on 2019, due to the strong support of those prepared to travel long distances and the addition of the two new F Classes. Shooters travelled from as far afield as Dunedin, Gore, Te Puke and Hamilton.

The Long Range aggregate was decided using the 900 yard scores with three tied on 185.10, with Carter winning from Ross Mason (Trentham) and Bevan Mehrtens (Malvern).

In B grade Les Marshall (Hawkes Bay) had a comfortable five point margin with 457.24 from Megan Snowden (Ashburton) with 452.25 and Martin Fleming (Ashburton) 452.23.

In C grade Shaun Ellis (Cheltenham) won easily with 435.11 from Brian Hawksby (Ashburton) on 420.18 and John Fleming (Ashburton) on 417.14

The tightest competition of the weekend was in F Open with Ian Hughes (Cheltenham) and Mike Chui (Ashburton) battling for supremacy. Going into the final shoulder-to-shoulder 900 yard match they were four Xs apart. Hughes came out on top, scoring 565.29 to Chui’s 563.27.

In FTR Murray Cook (Ashburton was a runaway winner on 535.21 from Mark Alexander (Malvern) on 506.19 and Les Grimsey (Oamaru) on 502.11.

In the new FTR Classic class Sharon Grimsey (Oamaru) won on 514.16 from Conal Richardson (Cheltenham) on 504.7 and Mike Slade (Kaituna), 502.10.

On Monday afternoon, four club TR teams and two club F class teams fought out the coached teams match.

The Malvern TR team of du Toit, Charlotte Flanagan, Alan White and Chris Kershaw, coached by Bevan Mehrtens and Richard Rowlands, were dominant with all four shooters scoring in the 70s over the 15 shots to win with 283.17 from Cheltenham on 266.5. The only other shooter to better the 70 mark was Megan Snowden (Ashburton), coached by her father John, who top scored the match with 73.2.

In the F Class match the Cheltenham team of Ian Hughes, Shaun Ellis, Conal Richardson and Greg Hayes won with 320.10 from Ashburton on 314.6.

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