The British Free Rifle was formed in 1958 and consequently this year was its Golden Anniversary. This occasion was marked by the holding of matches on 19 and 20 April 2008 at all the distances the club members shoot at (10, 50 and 300 metres).

In addition a dinner on the Saturday evening at the Army Rifle Club was attended by 28 people and the food was excellent. Should enough interest be shown this dinner on the Saturday evening could become a regular feature of the Spring Open Meeting.

These matches have proved to be popular as they are usually the first on the UK mainland of what I call the 50-metre circuit. This is made up of the matches at Lord Roberts Centre together with those organised by Hampshire, plus those held in Scotland at Denwood. The original programme was for 2 x 60-shot prone matches at 50 metres on Saturday morning, but the large entry required the formation of two extra matches in the afternoon.

After the terrible weather experienced by those who ventured to the Isle of Man matches over Easter I was hoping for some decent weather - I was disappointed! The weather on Saturday showed the worst of the conditions experienced during the weekend with rain in the morning plus a strong variable wind blowing from the East which tested all the abilities of those who were shooting. Many found that the cold due to the wind chill factor made it very difficult to maintain concentration and trigger control. These factors together with the variable wind conditions meant that those who made the decision to get on with the shoot and finish in a relatively quick time often benefited from that decision. Those who took longer and waited for their own particular selected conditions were not always successful despite their efforts and patience.

English Match 1.

Johanne Brekke, almost always a quick shooter, was one of those who decided that waiting and getting too cold was not the way to go and finished quickly. Her winning score in match 1 was 586, a very creditable performance in the conditions. Second in match 1was Brian Inglis who, despite having not shot for some considerable time due to an extended holiday, managed to equal Johanne’s score, but was beaten on count back on the last 10 shots. Third was Griff Morgan with 583. The average score for the 27 entrants in this match was 573.8.

English Match 2.

Conditions stayed much the same for the 2nd match and so did the results. Johanne Brekke was top score with 589, Griff Morgan moved up to second with 584, this score being equalled by Linda Smallbone, but she was beaten on count back with 96 on her last 10 shots against Griff who managed 98. The average for 28 entrants was 574.

English Match 3.

Conditions were improving slowly as the day went on, but not by a huge amount. The rain had stopped so it felt a little warmer but not a lot. The shooters in matches 3 and 4 were made up of the later entries so, in this instance, they benefited little from the improvements. This match was a close one and was won by Michelle Smith, last year’s Roberts final winner, who shot 589. Second was Helen Spittles with 588 and third place, again on count back went to Dave Phelps. Helen’s fourth series was 99 and Dave’s was 98. Unusually the fourth place score was nine points lower than 3rd place. The average for 22 entrants was 573.4.

English Match 4.

As with the first two matches the winner was the same person, Michelle this time scoring 592. Second, a distance away with 586 was Neil Davis whilst Dave Phelps was third again, also with 586. Count back made the decision between them as Neil managed 99 on his final series against Dave’s 97. Average for the 19 entrants was 578.6 which reflected the slowly improving conditions, as did Michelle’s top score of the day.

3 x 40 Match.

Sunday saw some improvement in conditions over Saturday with somewhat less wind and no rain; consequently it felt a little warmer. The entry for the 3 x 40 was 14, it could have been more, but as the 25 yard range was being used only a certain number of lanes were available for use on the day.

The match started with some good scores in the prone section with 394 being shot by John Croydon and Duncan Farmer. There were also two other scores over 390. Moving onto the standing the usual names started to move to the top of the leader board and at the end of this position John Croydon and Donald McIntosh were tied on the aggregate of 757 at this point. The kneeling match was just as close with John coming out on top with 377 against Don’s 376. The end result was John on 1134, Donald on 1133; in third place was Matt Pill on 1116.

3 x 20 Match.

This match was shot at the same time as the 3 x 40 with 16 entrants. Top score prone, unsurprisingly, was Michelle Smith with 197, closely followed by Sharon Lee with 196. Moving onto the standing Louise Minett showed her established prowess as a standing shooter with the best score of 188. The nearest to that was Jenny Corish on 184 and two others managed to get into the 180’s. The best score kneeling was the 192 of Nicola Bellwood, using the not often seen position of sitting on the side of her right foot, followed by Louise with 189. The end result was a convincing win by six points by Louise Minett on 567, followed by Nicola Bellwood on 561 and Michelle Smith with 560.

Air Rifle 60 shot Match.

For the reason given at the start of this report for the first time the 50 metre meeting has been accompanied by an air rifle match. The entry was 20 shooters of whom two did not shoot. The match was run with two squads on each day in the afternoon, these being timed to allow those who had entered other matches the opportunity to fit everything in.

The top positions were closely fought over with the air rifle specialists coming out on top. Nathan Milgate, a member of the DTSGB disabled shooter team, won with 585. Right on his heels was Di Coates, another member of the DTSGB team, with 584. Third place went to James Huckle on 583. This match will be repeated in future years programme if enough interest is shown.

Comments and suggestions on the organisation of the matches, the dinner or any aspect relating to BFRC can be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Robin Taylor

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