From the 25th of January to the 4th of February, old boys Wilbert Wu (2013), Wentao Ruan (2017) and Jeremy Chan (2014) flew to New Zealand to compete in the NZ National Queens Rifle Championships with a NSW U25 development squad. The squad was led by Andrew Sims (an Australian Rifle
Team member and a rifle shooting coach at Newington College). The team contained members from High, SCEGS and Newington as well as members of other Rifle Clubs in NSW. It was a great experience for young old boys to continue their marksmanship training outside of school.
Here is their report:
With the exception of Wentao, it had been a few years since we had shot in a serious competition so we went with lower expectations of success and really looked to gain competition experience. We began the training day adjusting our rifles, trying to learn the wind conditions and learning from the locals how to shoot on their home ground. As we were unfamiliar with the conditions, we sought help from more experienced shooters and locals for advice in order to improve our performance in the lead up shoot to the Queens.
The second day was our teams match against the NZ u25s development squad. Wentao and 4 other teammates competed against the Kiwis over 4 ranges: 300, 600 and 900 yards and finally the infamous 1000 yards where even the best have trouble staying on the target some times. The advice we received from everyone proved to be of great help and although we lost to the Kiwis with a score of 880.046 against 902.038, our scores on each individual ranges improved a lot from the first day and we looked forward to the Queens match.
We began the ‘Masefield’ leadup match with a good start at 300y, with Jeremy scoring a possible, 35.3/35, Wentao a 34.2 and Wilbert a 32 which was much better than the previous 2 days. The wind wasn’t too harsh on the short ranges and we proceeded to post decent scores for the next 2 ranges at 500 and 600 yards. But as we moved back, the infamous wind in Trentham proved too much for us to handle as we struggled against the strong fishtailing winds that pushed our scores downwards. However, with each match we were starting to learn more and more about the wind.
The Queens Prize started with the short ranges of 300y; 500 and 600y. We were confident of our performance at these ranges and by the end of the day, Jeremy ended up placing 1st with 195.007/200 and Wilbert was 2nd with 191.010 in C grade, miles ahead of our opposition. Wentao, in B grade, ended the day with 183.14 after shooting in some extremely difficult wind conditions. We got some good rest over the night and prepared for the next 2 days of shooting.
Due to a cyclone coming in and the dangerous wind conditions, the rest of the short ranges were cancelled and we were left with 2 x 900y and 2 x 1000y matches over the next 2 days. This was going to be the decider and was our biggest fear due to the volatile wind conditions in Trentham.
After the first 900y (our only shoot) on Thursday, Wilbert overtook Jeremy for first place in C grade with 233.11 with Jeremy being 2 centers behind. However, neither were happy with the scores and we really sat and studied the wind conditions and learned to read the flags and mirage better for the last day of shooting.
As the competition came to an end, Wilbert and Jeremy both end up posting amazing scores, beating a lot of the A graders at the long ranges once we got used to the strong wind. Jeremy and Wilbert placed either first or second not only the short ranges, but also in the long range aggregate. Jeremy came 1st in the NZ National Queens Prize and Grand Aggregate for C Grade, with a score of 368.14/400 and Wilbert was second with a score of 361.15. The results were amazing and unexpected, especially considering the scores we were posting at the start of the week. We would like to thank everyone involved in organising the trip, the locals who taught us to read the wind, our other squad members for their moral support, but especially Andrew Sims our tour coordinator. Organising a trip like this takes an enormous amount of time and his efforts were truly appreciated. Thanks are also due to Sam Kremer (1992) for assisting with a lot of the pre-trip planning and organisation.
We will be looking to compete at Trentham again next year, this time, hopefully as members of the Australian U21 and U25 squads competing at the World Long Range Championships at Trentham.