QRA were pleased to be able to conduct this year’s State Championships. We shared the disappointment of not having competitors from the length and breadth of Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
The range and surrounding grounds had been prepared beautifully and the targets and equipment went through the vigorous pre-event testing.
An advisory committee was formed to consider the program and the variation required to operate under the Outdoor Sport COVID Safe plan.
At one stage it looked as though entry numbers would need to be capped at 240, however border restrictions resulted in a smaller but strong field of competitors. Attendance at the Brisbane and MDRA prize meetings was strengthened by NSW residents making a hasty dash into Queensland before another border closure.
It was quite evident that competitors were pleased to have the opportunity to shoot in a major event this year given how our activity has been curtailed. The increased social media reports produced by Maartje and Michelle in some way kept those, who weren’t present, connected to our sport.
The lead-up shoot – Duncan Aggregate, was conducted in good conditions. Usually 325.43 (possible 325.65) would be enough to take first prize. Mitchell Bailey probably thought so too, however Ben Emms shot 325.44 and Jim Bailey 325.50 to be declared the winner for the second year in succession.
Peter Bevan was very consistent winning B Grade with 318.24, while newcomer Peter Camm took out C Grade with 298.14.
In F Standard the ongoing duel between Denis Aarons and Andrew McKillop saw them separated by centres, with Denis the winner. Robert Bartlett was too strong for his rivals in F Standard B, with 371.20.
Another close affair in F-Open saw David Boreham start off a great week with 386.37, 7 centres ahead of Mark Azzopardi; and Lowell Tillack 7 centres behind Mark.
Josef Ekkerd was impressive with his win in FTR announcing to the field he would be the one to watch.
The Queen’s – Day 1
The Queen’s series got off to a thrilling start with Brett McCauley and Josh Pratt both recording 175.26, shooting off for the honours in Target Rifle. Peter Tollis opened up a one point lead from Peter Bevan and Scott Robson in B Grade. In C Grade Tom Smith started with a possible at 300 yards to finish with 168.15 to lead on centres from Peter Camm.
F Std A was a close tussle with Nick Williamson, Glenn Rush, Denis Aarons and Margy Kerlin all returning 207. In F Std B, Robert Bartlett finished with 205.18
F Open went to Graham Sells with 209.22 just ahead of Jason Mayers.
FTR had Mark Fairbairn ahead with 209.15 and Josef Ekkerd and Jordan Drew 2 points back.
The Queen’s – Day 2
Prior to the start of Queens – Day 2, the event organisers made the early call to amend the program with the forecast weather looking unpleasant in the early afternoon. The 1000 yard 15 shot match was shot first, followed by two 800 yard matches. Another fortunate decision to break for lunch as heavy rain fell during the break stopping to complete the final range before another storm threatened. Sometimes you just get it right.
Josh Pratt and Brett McCauley again tied at 800 yards with a 75.10 with super centres in the same sequence. Mitchell Bailey recorded the only 175 to take the Aggregate and the overall lead. Peter Tollis finished just ahead for the day and in doing so opened up a 5 point lead on his rivals in B Grade. Tom Smith finished the day with another 168 in C Grade, putting him 4 points ahead.
Denis Aarons took out Day 2 in F Std A establishing a 5 point buffer against a pack lead by Nick Williamson. John Hinricks won the Day Agg promoting himself to third in the progressive aggregate behind Corrie Hooson and the leader, by 7 points, Damien Tansley.
Lowell Tillack won the F Open Day 2 Agg, joining Graham Sells and David Boreham as joint leaders on 415. With 11 athletes with only a four point spread this was sure to be a tight struggle to the end. Josef Ekkerd and Jordan Drew both shot 205 on Day 2 to be separated by 4 super centres for the overall aggregate.
The Queen’s – Day 3
Day 3 consisted of two 15 shot matches at 900 yards, followed by the Final 50 conducted at 1000 yards over 15 shots. The weather forecast was fine with moderate winds predicted.
At the first 900, Mark Thurtell (75.7) edged one point ahead of Mitchell and Jim Bailey, with three others a further point behind. At the second 900 Mitchell Bailey (75.10) showed he had the composure and skill required to take back the lead going into the Final. With strong interest from around the world, the Final commenced and past winner Helen Griffiths returned the best score of 71.1. In the end Mitchell Bailey held the field at bay to take out his first Queen’s in what was a very popular result. Jim and Jo very proud parents. Second placing to Mark Thurtell, the fifth second placing with a member of the Bailey family finishing ahead of him. Mark had the Day 3 aggregate with 149.15
Target Rifle B Grade was a nail biting finish. Peter Tollis held a 5 point lead overnight. After the first 900 he was 4 points ahead of 3 competitors. Scott Robson and Alistair Williams both shot 146, with Scott’s aggregate taking him ahead of Peter on centres. Both Scott and Peter earnt the right to shoot in the Final, with Scott’s outstanding form on the last day securing his win in B Grade.
Tom Smith was too strong in C Grade eventually winning all 3 daily aggregates, finishing 5 points ahead of Mark Banks and Peter Camm.
F Std A was won by Andrew McKillop giving him back-to-back wins. Denis Aarons who had a 5 point lead overnight, held that until the Final. Nick Williamson, Glenn Rush and Wayne Latham applied pressure to the leaders, however it was McKillop’s 79 in the Final that took him 2 points ahead of the field. Margy Kerlin’s 84.4 was the highest score in the final.
With consistent shooting Gary Towers finished ahead of Damien Tansley to win F Std B by one point. Damien had held the lead overnight and after the first 900 yards. Ron Bowman took out the daily aggregate with 171.8, 4 points ahead of the rest.
F Open promised to be a thrilling finish with 7 competitors, led by Graham Sells and David Boreham, separated by only 2 points. Michael Heironymus jumped ahead at the first 900 with a possible, taking the lead from David Boreham. Boreham backed this up with an 88, whilst Dave Reddan (89) was now into second place and took out the daily aggregate. David Boreham shot well and recorded the top score in the final to become the eventual winner 6 points ahead of Dave Reddan and Graham Sells recovering to be one point further back.
Josef Ekkerd held a four centre lead over Jordan Drew, with Mark Fairbairn 3 points further back in FTR. Fairbairn won the first 900 to overtake Drew and edge closer to Ekkerd. The second 900 was won by Cameron Free, in his first Queen’s. Mark Fairbairn shot 86 to pass Ekkerd (79) and establish a four point lead going into the Final. Darren Canute (84) had the best score in the final, however Fairbairn’s consistency saw him win FTR by 5 points.
QRA thanks all the competitors for attending, our staff for all the preparatory work, our officials and volunteers who ensured the event ran smoothly. Everyone accepted the changes required to operate in a COVID Safe environment. To the winners – well done.
A full gallery of images from the QRA State Championships can be viewed on the QRA’s Facebook page.