Halloween weekend saw the Edinburgh University Rifle Club travel to Aberdeen for the opening double header of the Scottish Student Sport Rifle Grand Prix series. Following last year’s dominant season, where EURC finished as double Scottish and British champions, expectations were high and the pressure was on. Despite the weight of the ‘favourites’ tag, Edinburgh shot consistently well across both days and enjoyed their best overall start to the season for some years.
Saturday played host to the Aberdeen leg of the GP series and Edinburgh made a blistering start to the season. In the main team of eight event, the team – comprising Chris Gray, Adam Dove, Greg Stewart, Lara Muttiah, James Gutteridge, Harry McCaughey, Rhys Olley and Bryony Fraser-Burn – took first place by the huge margin of 29 points over closest rivals St Andrews.
The team of four event brought more success, with Edinburgh A (Gray, Fraser-Burn, McCaughey and Dove) narrowly taking first over Edinburgh B (Gutteridge, Steward, Olley and Muttiah) who took a comfortable second. The Ladies team of three (Fraser-Burn, Muttiah and Emma Sweet) continued the theme by cruising to yet another win.
In the A Pairs event, Stewart and McCaughey were a narrow second beating Dove and Gutteridge back into third on a tiebreak, while Fraser-Burn and Gray sneaked into fourth place. Meanwhile, Sweet and Tim Perkins took top spot in the B Pairs to continue Edinburgh’s phenomenal run of results.
In addition to their huge success in the team events, Edinburgh also saw some fantastic results in the individual categories. In A class, Gray took second narrowly ahead of teammate Dove in third while Stewart was unfortunate to drop back into fifth after a tiebreak. In the B class competition, Sweet took first place after a magnificent shoot, while Olley’s consistent scoring placed him in third after yet another tiebreak.
After a hugely successful first day of shooting, Edinburgh hopes were high for the RGU leg of the GP series on Sunday and further excellent scores across the team saw yet more silverware for EURC.
The team of eight (Gray, Dove, Stewart, Muttiah, Gutteridge, McCaughey and Tom Diggle) once again cruised to an impressive victory, this time by an astonishing 32 points, leaving Edinburgh in pole position in the main team event for the season.
The teams of four once again took first and second with the A (Gray, Fraser-Burn, Dove and McCaughey) again narrowly defeating the B (Gutteridge, Muttiah, Stewart and Diggle). This highlights the phenomenal strength in depth the club has this season, even accounting for the fact that several of the first team squad were unavailable for the weekend. The Ladies team of three (Sweet, Fraser-Burn and Muttiah) enjoyed another big win to take an imposing lead in the Ladies GP series with only two of the five matches shot.
Edinburgh had yet more success in the A Pairs event, with Gray and Fraser-Burn taking first place, Muttiah and Diggle claiming second and Dove and Gutteridge rounding out an Edinburgh top three, for a string of results without precedent in recent years.
Meanwhile the individual competitions were once again particularly fruitful for EURC. In A Class, Gray took his second consecutive second place finish, Diggle took a close third place on his SSS rifle debut and Gutteridge took fourth place after a tense tiebreak. In B Class, Eddie Pennington shot fantastically well to record his maiden SSS podium finish and a deserved first place, while Olley and Sweet tied for fourth place with Olley edging it on a tiebreak.
Overall, an incredible start to the season for EURC and a hugely impressive standard set. EURC now look forward to their home Grand Prix in mid-November and hopefully the securing of yet more silverware.
Image Courtesy of Olga Goryunova