Saturday 11 March will go down as one of the finest moments in the recent history of Edinburgh University Rifle Club. With the club competing at the Scottish Student Sport Indoor Championships, Edinburgh were in the running in eight categories as well as the championship final and, spectacularly, came away victorious in every single one. This is the first time in recent memory that any of the Scottish university rifle clubs have achieved this and is certainly a first since the introduction of three new categories in 2015.
With Edinburgh having recently secured first place in the Team of VIII category in the SSS Grand Prix series, hopes were high for a repeat at the Indoor Championships. Edinburgh (Chris Gray, Holly Rees-Lay, Tom Diggle, Lara Muttiah, Bryony Fraser-Burn, Rhys Olley, Vicky Carter and James Gutteridge) were not to be disappointed, as a fantastic day’s shooting across the team brought the trophy back to Edinburgh by a spectacular 34 point margin.
The team of IV event proved to be no less successful, as Edinburgh’s A (Gray, Rees-Lay, Fraser-Burn and Gutteridge) and B (Diggle, Muttiah, Olley and Carter) teams took first and third place respectively, continuing on their fine form from this year’s Grand Prix series and only losing out on second place by three points to a strong Glasgow team. Meanwhile, in the Ladies Triad event, Edinburgh again showed their class with the team of Rees-Lay, Fraser-Burn and Carter taking first place ahead of close rivals St Andrews.
The A Class Pairs event brought yet more joy for Edinburgh, with Gray and Fraser-Burn taking an excellent first place, closely followed by Rees-Lay and Gutteridge in third and Diggle and Olley in a narrow fourth, separated by only a single point. The B Class Pairs was equally successful for Edinburgh as the lone Edinburgh entry of Tim Perkins and Vicky Carter took a comfortable first place after some excellent shooting.
Edinburgh also recorded some magnificent results in the individual events, with Chris Gray, Holly Rees-Lay and Tom Diggle taking first, second and fourth respectively in the A Class competition. Meanwhile in B Class, Tim Perkins set a new personal best score and in the process took first place and his maiden SSS victory.
Last but not least, Fraser McPhie set a phenomenal personal best score and took first place in the C Class event by an outrageously comfortable margin. Not content with having secured victory in all eight of the regular categories, Edinburgh also had five shooters qualify for the Championship final, decided by the aggregate of shooters’ scores on the day.
Chris Gray, Holly Rees-Lay, Tom Diggle, Tim Perkins and Fraser McPhie all qualified for the final, and they all acquitted themselves well against the best that the other Scottish universities had to offer. In the end though, the shining light was Chris Gray, shooting in his final indoor competition for the club, who took first place with a magnificent 197 out of 200, therefore making him both the SSS Grand Prix series Individual champion and the SSS Indoor Championship winner for 2016/17.
It was a truly remarkable day’s competition for EURC and a set of results that seem unlikely to be matched for quite some time. With the indoor season now drawing to a close and with EURC having recorded possibly their best ever season, thoughts now turn to the university outdoor season and the SSS Outdoor Championships, where a strong Edinburgh squad will be looking to translate their indoor season success to the more challenging outdoor competitions.
Image courtesy of Vicky Carter