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Baby Booming at Oxford - an article by Don Brunt

Baby Booming at Oxford - an article by Don Brunt

The Oxford Gun Company’s Schools Challenge event continues to go from strength to strength. Now in its third year the event has become so popular that it was oversubscribed with some schools having to be turned away due to a lack of spaces, the 160 entries that did get in though were treated to an excellent competition that had that major event feel to it which can be so difficult to create.

David Florent is nothing if not determined and his tenacious approach to the event showed in the number of sponsors that turned out to both support it and donate prizes that wouldn’t have looked out of place at a shoot far bigger than this.

Nobody would deny the importance of getting youngsters involved in the Sport which guarantees its long term future, however school teams have a special contribution to make as many of those who shoot in such teams come from non shooting backgrounds. Many of the schools themselves have only recently introduced the sport to their curriculum and one can think of few better ways to raise the profile of the sport positively amongst the general public than having it supported by the education system.

The event itself is open to children from prep school age through to 6th formers and both in the individual and team events children were competing from different social and economic backgrounds, giving them a chance to meet and talk to people outside of their normal circles.

Shot over a 60 bird 8 stand course the Sporting layout had something for everyone and was not by any stretch of the imagination an easy round, Nick Hollick shot it and returned a score of 56 only five clear of the highest scoring child on the day. Shooting a double squadded morning and afternoon rotation it was always going to be a challenge to get everyone through on time but things went pretty much according to plan and the last shot on the sporting course was fired at around 5.00pm. With so many schools putting in teams it looked like Millfield, often on top at events like this were going to have to work hard for the win but as the scores were counted it looked as though this time they had been frozen out of the top 3. Bradfield College in fact took the last step of the podium just 5 clays adrift of runners up Wellington College whilst Old Swinford Hospital A team proved that state schools can beat the best of the Independent sector by a convincing margin of 12 targets.

Millfield though took their revenge in the form of their Ladies team who as usual shot very well to take the Ladies Team victory with a score of 163. They also managed to bag the Ladies individual win courtesy of Georgia Boscawen’s score of 43, five birds clear of Ruth Baver of Tudor hall who was in turn one clear of A Williams of Millfield.

In the Senior event it was Ben Bowley of Bradfield whose 49 gave him a winning margin of two from Seaford Colleges Chris Whittingham whilst Oliver wall of Kingsley College was a further clay adrift. Ben may have taken the honours in the Seniors event but Oliver Meekins 51 in the Prep School class must go down as the performance of the day. Keep an eye out for this young man; we may be seeing more of him in the pages of this magazine in the future if he continues to shoot like this.

The Florents are now looking forward to 2009 and scratching their heads as to how they can go one better than this year.

For more info visit:- www.theschoolschallenge.co.uk

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