English and British Open Handicap By Distance DTL
Any competition that uses a handicap system is always going to provide some interesting results and this handicapped DTL shoot is no exception. Your classification determines how far away you are from the trap house. DTL is normally 16 yards, but HBD has competitors shooting from 17 yards (C Class) through to 23 yards (AA).
Like most of May, the weather for these two events was very changeable – the English Open on the Saturday was grey and rather windy, but in spite of the testing weather conditions, the scores and the standards of shooting were incredibly high.
It was Lincolnshire Colt Josh Brazier who set the pace – the 15 year old was in fine form and is definitely a name to watch. Shooting from 19 yards, Josh only missed two targets and scored 98/291, clearing the last 50 targets perfectly. It was not enough to win the competition, but Josh was over the moon to win the Colt High Gun.
Steve Kirby, winner of the event the previous year, was out to retain his title. Steve was also shooting from the 19 yards mark. After three rounds he had hit all but one target with his first barrel and looked like he was going to put in a huge score, a full target and two second barrels on his last line left him on 99/294 and the man to beat.
It was local Notts shooter Andy Brown that would be the man to do it – Andy was on fantastic form shooting from 21 yards on the same squad as his son Freddy. After three rounds Andy hadn’t faltered and it looked like he may put in a perfect 100/300. Unfortunately a full target and a second barrel on the last line left him on a 99/296, but this was a huge score that no one else could beat and Andy was the English Open Champion. Freddy Brown finished his round on 98/285, which took the Junior High Gun title.
Ian Coley MBE took the Veteran High Gun on 97/285 and Charlotte Kitchen the remaining title – Lady High Gun with a 99/287.
Andy, who shoots Fiocchi F Blacks through his Browning 425, was delighted to win a national title and especially pleased to do it without the need of a shoot-off. He now mostly shoots to support Freddy, so was thrilled that they could share the success together.
Josh Brazier also shoots a Browning (XT), but chooses Hull Pro Ones as his cartridge. He was strongly supported by shooting partner and younger brother Jack along with dad Adrian and his incredibly supportive girlfriend Carly.
The British Open on the Sunday appeared to have the better weather, with much less wind and a bright sunny day. David Weston on the first squad out set the cat amongst the pigeons by scoring a massive 100/294 – an incredible achievement as David was shooting from the AA distance of 23 yards and he was the only shooter on his squad. The pressure was now on everyone else and did not leave much room for error.
Yorkshire’s Ryan Sharpe, another Colt, shot fantastically well, only missing one target to finish on 99/293.
Steve Kirby also got close, but it was the final layout that would again let him down – a full target and a second barrel left him on 99/292.
Izzy Thurnell followed up on her fantastic form from the Double Rise and scored a 99/291 to win ladies and come second in a ridiculously strong Colts category.
Owen Vining was the Junior High Gun on 99/290 and Peter Hancock won the Veterans with 95/281.
David Weston watched the scores come in squad by squad and no one seemed to be able to equal or beat him until the very last squad when Ian Mullarkey showed his consistency in national competitions. Ian lost four points on his first line but dug in and battled it out to equal David’s score and force a shoot-off.
Ian missed his first target of the shoot-off and was under pressure from the beginning. David held his nerve and didn’t falter until the last two targets, by which time Ian would not have been able to catch him.
Amazingly it was David Weston’s first national title and he could not have been more pleased. Sponsored by Eley Hawk and shooting Eley Superbs through his Beretta DT10X, David was overjoyed not only at his success but also the fact that dad (and coach) Clive had come second in Veterans. He thanked his dad and also his wife, Helen, for their support. He said how much he had enjoyed it and how good the targets had been – he was really looking forward to the Krieghoff and Bywell weekends with a good win under his belt.
Our DTL stars should be worried, though, with so many Colts and Juniors placing in the top eight of these competitions, it really is a very bright future for the discipline.
Report by Julia Fell