The hometown contingent put in some impressive performances when the 2017 SSAA National 5-Stand Championships were held in Shepparton on July 29 and 30. The SSAA Shepparton Range, located on the Midlands Highway, seemed to suit the locals, who dominated the results board at the end of proceedings.
Leading the way was the Victoria combination, who won the teams’ event. The five-strong line-up of Nick Guerra, Blake Nankervis, Brent Suprain, Gino D’Angelo and Tony Connell proved too strong for their rivals. They claimed the honours ahead of Western Australia, NSW and Queensland.
About 80 shooters from various locations around the country turned up at the Victorian venue. They took turns in nine categories: AA-grade, A-grade, B-grade, C-grade, Veterans, Super Veterans, Ladies, Juniors and Sub-Juniors. The itinerary saw each entrant fire six rounds of 25 targets. There were five towers operating over the three grounds.
There were early problems for the whole entourage in that the weather played a telling hand on the opening day. A biting and continual fierce wind created unpleasant conditions for the shooters, who were already experiencing traumas in coping with the testing targets. This was evident at the end of the day, when the scores tallied were much lower than normal for a field of such talent.
However, the weather improved on Sunday with the bulk of the shooters right back in the groove. Against such a backdrop, it was probably no surprise that the Shepparton unit used local knowledge of the range to their advantage.
Shepparton range officer Tony Connell was happy with how things panned out. “Overall it went very well,” said Tony. “It was hard going on the Saturday because of the wind and some of the targets were a bit tough. But they were checked out by the referees and things improved on the Sunday.”
Guerra added to his success in the teams’ event by finishing as the overall individual winner. He took out the High Gun with a score of 138 from a possible 150. Other Shepparton winners included Nankervis (AA-grade), Andrew Dundas (B-grade), Matt Hipwell (C-grade), Trevor Beech (Veterans), John Argilla (Super Veterans), Xavier Russell (Juniors) and Josh Ford (Sub-Juniors). For 15-year-old Xavier Russell, it has been a swift road to the top as he only turned his attention to competitive shooting about two-and-a-half years ago.
Despite the trying conditions, there were no delays in shooting from breakdowns as the club boasts relatively new traps that can throw a variety of different targets. And though the Shepparton brigade were dominant, there was a great camaraderie among the whole throng of competitors. The close proximity of the venue to Shepparton provided easy access to visitors staying in the town. The range also had plenty of room for those who wished to camp overnight.
|High Gun: 138/150 Nick Guerra (SSAA Shepparton).|
|AA-grade: 1 Blake Nankervis (Shepparton), 2 Jack Gibbs, 3 Dave DeMario (Shepparton).|
|A-grade: 1 Shane O’Brien, 2 Bruce Allen, 3 Mick Kierl (both Shepparton).|
|B-grade: 1 Andrew Dundas, 2 Steve Palmer (both Shepparton), 3 Clint Store.|
|C-grade: 1 Matt Hipwell, 2 Claire Bourke (both Shepparton), 3 Ben Jarrett.|
|Ladies: 1 Mikaela McCarthy, 2 Zoe Zomora, 3 Tracey Grayer.|
|Veterans: 1 Trevor Beech (Shepparton), 2 Eddie Magee, 3 Rocky Furci (Shepparton).|
|Super Veterans: 1 John Argilla (Shepparton), 2 Danny Genovese, 3 Warren Brown.|
|Juniors: 1 Xavier Russell, 2 Rhys McGauran, 3 Tom Bilney (all Shepparton).|
|Sub-Juniors: 1 Josh Ford (Shepparton).|