Bell enters hall of fame at Fly Shoot nationals
The 2019 Fly Shoot national championships were hosted by SSAA Batemans Bay in New South Wales and attracted more than 80 competitors from as far afield as Tasmania, Mackay and Perth to shoot Light Gun, Heavy Gun and 200yd Rimfire over the Queen’s birthday long weekend in June.
Competition was fierce on day one for the Light Gun (LG) competition with no fewer than 17 shooters posting scores of more than 250 (gold proficiency standard) and the course record for LG highest target falling to Peter Merriman with a 59.03.
Dave Groves top scored to take the title on 273.06 (an astonishing six flies) with silver and bronze respectively going to Robert Jackson (272.04) and Tony Ryan (268.05). Young Beau Lock clinched the junior title with an impressive 213 and two flies.
Sunday brought the Heavy Gun competition with Michael Bell hitting nine flies on his way to a 284 total, good enough not just for the title but to lift the Jim McKinley Trophy as overall Centrefire Fly Shoot national champion. Bell’s score also set a new national record for the highest five-target aggregate.
Second place went to the ever-consistent Grant Groves on 276.06 ahead of third-placed Vince Vaina on 268.08, Stella Cross pipping William Bailey to the junior title, the pair earning their gold medal proficiency award with scores of 251.02 and 250 respectively.
The ‘big guns’ were put away on day three as the Rimfire competition got under way. Kathy Dundas and Ken Perrin were locked on a 257 score and it took a countback of hits on the fly to identify Dundas as champion and winner of the Stuart Elliot Cup, Perrin finishing second ahead of bronze medallist Tony Ryan on 243.01. Stella Cross made it a double for the ladies when she took the junior title on 197 just ahead of Keegan McGrann on 196.01.
At the end of an action-packed weekend, Grant Groves lifted the 3-gun trophy with a total of 783.13, Ken Perrin a close second on 782.10 and Michael Bell rounding out the top three on 775.15. As a result of his victory in HG and third place in 3-gun, Bell became the first competitor inducted into the Fly Shoot hall of fame.
A word of thanks goes to everyone involved in the running of the event with special mention to Bryson Payne and Anthony Hall, the crew who changed more than 1500 targets, Steve and Pete who scored them all, John Woollams for data entry and the catering volunteers.