Read Will Kemp's (WW 85-90) end of season review from the Old Tonbridgian Rifle Club
|27 Feb 2020|
|Much like the great Douglas Adams, I am a procrastinator. I like deadlines, in that I love the whooshing noise they make as they fly past. I am finally managing to dash off a brief report on the OTRC activities of the past twelve months, and apologies to the editor who hopefully has some hair left. For those readers who do not shoot, but are inexplicably reading this report anyway, they may be interested to learn that rifle shooting became fashionable after the Crimean War and photographs of Bisley Camp, established in 1890, show serious men leaning on long rifles and elegant ladies taking tea behind the firing point. Things have moved on since then, but really not that much. |
The sun was shining on us at Bisley this year, for the annual full-bore match against the school on Saturday 8th June. This is a Kent County Rifle Association organised shoot, with Sutton Valance school and the Old Suttonians making up five teams in total. We shot in the afternoon, at 300 yards and again at 600 yards. The OTs team were Will Kemp, Ben Meredith, Henry Dodds, Ian Mitchell and Blaise Fenn. A smaller team than usual, but nevertheless a high scoring one, which managed to beat the school’s top five firers by a comfortable margin. Obviously I have forgotten the actual scores, but there is a photograph of us all with medals around our necks, so we must have won.
During the second week of the two week long main annual event at Bisley, known as the Imperial Meeting, there is a small competition for the veterans of public schools. This year for a change it was held on the Wednesday afternoon instead of the Thursday, and the five OTs making up the team this year were Henry Dodds, Theo Dodds, Ian Mitchell, Sean Williams and Simon Mavroleon. Annoyingly I couldn’t make it, but Henry stood in as Captain and organised everything, including copious amounts of cake behind the firing point. The score was 228 with 18 v bullseyes, out of a total possible of 250.
It was with great sadness that the annual dinner and long range shoot in September had to be cancelled, as it is always a popular event. We were going to replace the long-range shoot with a gallery rifle shoot instead, courtesy of Victor Dauppe allowing us to use his rifles like he did the year before. Sadly, Henry, who was organising the weekend, had a rather dramatic house fire. One of the better excuses for absence the club has received in recent years.
The winter term .22 shoot was a very fun exercise, as usual Larry Thornbury had gone to great lengths to entertain us with an original format, designed to test not only our marksmanship but also our geographical skills. At 25 meters, a map of the British Isles is hard enough to see at the best of times. We were expected to put a bullet hole in the place where we thought a named place was. Larry would shout out ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’ and we would accurately put a round down the range to hit the exact spot. They weren’t all that hard, although some of the boys struggled with Yeovil for some reason. I am delighted to report that the OTs did themselves proud, Richard Sankey winning the prize for best geographical knowledge!
This year’s AGM and .22 match is soon upon us (March) and I am sure the result will be as close as it usually is. Many thanks to Larry and Tim Blackwell and Russell Freeman at the school for hosting us so well, and to all the OTs who turn out to shoot, eat ice-cream and cake, and to Henry Dodds for all the work he has put into the club this past year. He is currently purchasing a new rifle on behalf of the Club, which will be exciting to put through its paces this summer.