Esperance club boost WA's big medal haul

Shooting trio: Brian Bridges, Joel Wickstein and Leith Hill just before the Ray Miles Team event. Photo: Esperance Rifle Club.
Shooting trio: Brian Bridges, Joel Wickstein and Leith Hill just before the Ray Miles Team event. Photo: Esperance Rifle Club.

A huge week of competitive shooting for eight Esperance Rifle Club Members. Ray Hurley, Rene Drew, Martin Viviers, Leith Hill, Joel Wickstein, Brian Bridges, Jim Dunne and Graham Donovan travelled to Pinjar Rifle Range for various competitions held at the Home of Rifle Shooting in W.A. National F Class Championships for Hurley State Captain, Drew and Viviers earning their place in the State team. Combined with the team shooting on Monday and Tuesday won their way into the record books by winning the Victoria Match on the second day and finishing second in the aggregate overall. The exciting news being, W.A. have never placed in the championships previously and came home with Gold National medals in F Open, F Standard and a silver medal in FTR. Competing against teams from Northern Queensland, N.S.W. Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. The W.A. boys had a table full of bling at the end of the Nationals. Congratulations to Hurley, Drew and Viviers on their splendid achievement.

The District Rifle Association team was represented by Esperance members Wickstein, Bridges, Hill and Drew, each using the particular rifles each use in their own discipline. Martin Viviers taking on the responsibility as coach. The conditions were tricky to say the least. Wind and mirage were savage and very different from the home range of Esperance. The boys did okay however not quite good enough to win. Finished in fourth position. The Ray Miles event which is clubs only had the inclusion of Graham Donovan using the traditional target rifle with open iron sights saw Esperance again finish in fourth place. The effort was solid as the conditions were very difficult to read leaving the coach shaking his head on many occasions.

Friday saw the start of the individual competition, the Duke and the Queens. The Duke consisting of six ranges concluding Saturday at 12 noon. The one shining light in the Duke was Ray Hurley finishing 2nd in F Open. The rest were trying to get a handle on reading the conditions. The Queens started 1p.m. Saturday with a huge field of F Class competitors numbering approximately 130. Most staying on from the National Championships and around 60 target rifle competitors. Brian Bridges and Leith Hill won State Matches collecting the medals at presentations after competition. A few mentions in dispatches for Hurley, Drew, Bridges and Hill, however the final day was the tester. Leith Hill had put in a Stella effort and was placed 10th overall with two ranges to go in his first Queens Prize. The conditions on Monday were so challenging with wind and mirage catching almost everyone, Hill dropped just two points for the morning which rocketed him to 3rd place and the best performing West Australian competitor in F Open. Graham Donovan also came home strongly and moved up to 12th place in target rifle division winning his 5th Queens badge and his best result ever. Donovan went on to win the Super Vets competition for 70 and over, Ray Hurley picked up another Grand Aggregate 7th place F Open. The overall results by Esperance Rifle Club members has been outstanding and a testament to their commitment to the sport of long range shooting. I must mention the efforts of Mr James Corbet from Victoria, on winning his 39th Queens Prize and the 4th W.A. Queens in a row, a true legend in the sport.

The Esperance Rifle Club will again see action this Saturday from the 600 yard mound, competition will commence at 1.30 p.m. See you on the mound.