5th Pacific Regional Shooting Championships Scoped Rifle

Experienced and respected New Zealand competitor Brenda Perry proved a formidable force from day one in the Scoped Rifle events. With more than 30 years experience, Perry took home no less than three gold medals from NRA Smallbore 3 Position Any Sights events. “I’ll just do my best. I do find it easier to shoot in the rain though, because we’re used to it,” said the modest Tokoroan, taking the advice of range officer Darius Krivanek and draping a damp cool towel around her neck to help her through the hot and draining conditions.

Perry’s teammate Rod Hill, from Wellington, came to compete with a homemade stock that he proudly displayed, which proved just as effective as the Anschutz and other impressive scoped rifles. Forming the New Zealand B team was Jason Graham, from Rotorua, and Ian McFetridge, from Tokoroa. The Australian contingent was a diverse group: from bright-eyed Western Australian Kiara-Lea Totton at just 16, to seasoned and renowned South Australian competitor Rod Frisby.

Windy conditions threw a spanner in the works for the competitors and range officials as the day progressed, with a rather large gust lifting the targets off the ground, in-turn affecting the backing boards that couldn’t be clearly matched with the shots recorded on the targets. A re-shoot was declared by match director Kaye McIntrye, which all competitors took in their stride to their credit.

It was New Zealand who tasted gold first, winning the NRA Smallbore 3 Position team event with a score of 2328.90 from Hill and Perry, including a coveted score of 200.13 in prone from the Kiwi’s only female competitor. The Australia A team duo of SSAA Field Rifle & 3-Positional National Discipline Chairman Matthew Boots and Frisby took silver with a score of 2319.82, helped by a top score of 386.12 in standing from Boots. Youngster Alex Payne, 17, from South Australia, shot his prized Anschutz rifle to secure third place in his first international appearance, helped by fellow South Australian and Barossa Valley resident Daniel Tarbard who posted a combined score of 2288.93.

Payne wasn’t the only youngster competing for the first time on the international stage. Jordan Rawlings, 18, from South Australia, also employed the headscarf look and blazed through each round, shooting a 200.13 in prone in his first shot of the competition – equalling Perry’s efforts. “Once I get into position I know is right, I get away as many shots as I can until one drops,” he said of his fast approach, always first off the line and never taking the full 20 minutes available to competitors. The day was a personal success for Rawlings, who smashed his previous personal best by 30 points. This was applauded by his supportive teammates, along with the cheery New Zealanders.

Rawlings’s teammate Totton also held her own among the more experienced teammates, with her father John present as a supporter and also competitor in his own right for the individual events. “I enjoy shooting, it’s fun, and I want to prove to my teammates that I should be here,” the junior Totton said, with her and her father’s positive attitude despite the challenging conditions and strong field of competitors embraced throughout the whole competition.

Sounds of the local birds sung out in symphony with the gun shots across the Terry O’Brien range as day two of the competition got underway, with cooler conditions and afternoon showers more suited to the New Zealanders. It was each competitor for themself as the individual events took place, with Perry again impressing and posting two scores over 200 in prone. Fellow New Zealanders McFetrdige and Graham followed suit, also scoring two 200s in prone, producing an equal score of 400.24 each. Boots made sure Australia had its share in 200s, posting a score of 200.17 in prone. But the two 200s were not enough to secure medals for McFetridge and Graham, with Boots, Perry and Frisby taking out gold, silver and bronze respectively with scores of 1180.64, 1165.55 and 1162.46.

Youngest competitor Jordan Robinson, just 14, from South Australia, competed in the individual events and also recorded a personal best in her first international appearance. The keen shooter had also competed in the Rifle Metallic Silhouette event held a few days earlier.

Day three saw changed conditions again, along with firearms. SSAA 3-Positional Centrefire 60 shots was on the agenda for the final day of competition, to be played out among a backdrop of downpours that caused minor flooding, bogged cars and unpredictable wind changes. The conditions once again proved favourable for the New Zealanders, with Perry taking out gold in the individual event with a score of 586.13 including 200.06 in prone, followed by fellow New Zealander Hill with a score of 581.05. Boots once again secured a place on the podium with a 575.12. This was despite technical issues, with his scope requiring innovative fixes and generous extra practice time granted by fellow helpful competitors. “While the conditions were challenging and I had a few firearm issues thrown at me in the Centrefire match, I went in focused and took my time,” said Boots, adding that “it wasn’t the first time” he had troubles with his rifle during competition.

For the team scores, Perry and Hill were unbeatable with a score of 1167.18, followed by Australian A team Boots and Frisby on 1147.22, and New Zealand B team McFetridge and Graham securing third with 1111.12.

Despite the New Zealanders proving difficult to beat, the coveted 2-Gun individual gold medal was won by Western Australian Boots, who well and truly overcame adversity to post a total score of 1755.76, closely followed by Perry and Hill. The New Zealanders seized gold in the 2-Gun team standings, with Perry and Hill topping the table on 3495.108 followed by Australia’s Boots and Frisby, and quiet achievers Payne and Tarbard.

Boots praised the New Zealanders for their efforts, saying “their sportsmanship was second to none” and giving them “full credit” for their impressive results. “The efforts of the three Australian teams overall were great considering the conditions and some really good scores were shot by all,” said Boots, before offering some final wise advice: “If you go into a match with the right attitude then nothing can stop you, but if you go into a match with the wrong attitude, then nothing can help you.”

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