The 2015 National 5-Stand Championships were hosted by Queensland at the Toowoomba Clay Target Club on July 4 and 5. Some of Australia’s best Sporting Clays shooters took part, including a number of national and state champions. More than 60 competitors from New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and a revitalised Queensland, who fielded the majority, took part.
Local club members under the guidance of Heath Miller had prepared four quite different 5-Stand layouts that presented a wide variety of challenging targets to competitors over the 200-target event. The targets were well presented, but competitors had to keep their focus to post credible scores, particularly with some of the target pairs.
Shooting in fine but cool weather everyone had some last-minute practice on the Friday afternoon before the real competition began on Saturday morning. Some excellent scores were posted from the 100 targets on Saturday and with the targets changed on Sunday, competitors had to refocus and shoot consistently to post a respectable total score. With a sea of maroon shooting shirts around the shooting grounds, and just a few days before the decider match for the State of Origin, it was evident the Queenslanders were feeling optimistic.
At the conclusion of competition on Saturday, the National Shotgun AGM was well attended by competitors. SSAA National President Geoff Jones was welcomed and contributed to the meeting. Warren Brown and Jan Jacka were re-elected into the Chairpersons positions, with the remainder of the meeting dedicated to discussing and approving some proposed Shotgun rule changes that will be submitted to the National Board for consideration.
The Championships were well organised and capably run by the host club. Traps worked well over the weekend, while shoot administration was handled efficiently by Club President Betty Fawcett and Jan Jacka. Some delicious catering was provided by local members Margaret and Alan over the weekend. The Championships were again sponsored generously by the SSAA and Casella Wines, with winners receiving SSAA medallions and a good variety of the famous Yellow Tail wines together with ammunition to replenish what they had used.
During the Championships, 10 competitors posted perfect rounds of 25 targets to secure a coveted SSAA 5-Stand 25 break badge. Recipients were Paul Lillis, Mike Birgan, Maree Birgan, Damian Birgan, Frank Tagliapietra, Danon Randazzo, Peter Black, Heath Miller, John Norris and Doug Coleman. The Queensland Team won convincingly the 5-Stand State Team Shield from New South Wales and Western Australia.
As the final shots were fired and after several shoot-offs, local shooter Damian Birgan claimed the High Gun with a superb score of 195/200 targets, demonstrating why he is an international and national Sporting Clays champion. Other winners with a podium finish were:
AA Grade: Paul Lillis (186), Mike Birgan (180), Frank Tagliapietra (178) (shoot-off)
A Grade: Peter Black (176), Danon Randazzo (173), Brent Suprain (172)
B Grade: John Norris (162), Peter Cowie (157), Kyle Steadman (142) (shoot-off)
C Grade: Jan Jacka (147), Lachlan MacDonald (142), Dean Lillis (142) (shoot-off)
Lady: Maree Birgan (172), Tracey Grayer (149), Mikayla Macartney (135)
Juniors: Danon Randazzo (173), Lachlan MacDonald (142), Mikayla Macartney (135)
Sub-Junior: Aidan Donaldson (142)
Veteran: Ron Black (138), Warren Brown (134)
These championships were the culmination of the selection process to decide who would represent Australia in the two SSAA Australian Shotgun Teams that would be competing in the Trans Tasman COMPAK Championships in New Zealand later in November. At the conclusion of the presentation ceremony, SSAA Shotgun National Discipline Chairman Warren Brown announced the provisional competitors who would be offered a place in the teams subject to SSAA Board approval. Open Team members were Jason Pole, Brett Chambellant, Darryl Groundwater and Darren Macartney, while the Graded Team members would be Dan Randazzo (A Grade), Andy Sawers (B Grade), Justin Badocco (C Grade), Tracey Grayer (Lady) and Warren Brown (Veteran).