5th Pacific Regional Shooting Championships Service Rifle

Dave Thomson did a sterling job as coordinator for the Service Rifle discipline, totting up the scores with meticulous attention. Dave’s experience as a SSAA member in Victoria for more than 30 years meant that he took things all in his stride. “It’s hard work, but I enjoy being part of the occasion,” he said.

The different firearms regulations enforced in both countries meant that the New Zealanders had to use rifles that they were not as familiar with because on their own turf, they are permitted to participate with self-loading firearms. As such, the Kiwis spent half a day practising with the equipment loaned to them for the competition by their Australian counterparts.

Experienced New Zealand shooter Enrico ‘Harry’ Hoover had no problems with the arrangements. “When the Aussies come to New Zealand to compete, we can loan them what we use,” he said. “And we make sure we offer them the best of the best of the best.”

Some of the rifles used by the competitors have fascinating backgrounds. Hoover displayed a standard British Army service rifle, which he said was a traditional Anzac firearm. “The British have made some stunningly designed rifles down the years,” he said.

At one stage of the competition, Hoover cut a curious figure as he had been forced to wear some Australian team trousers. But as Thomson explained at the awards ceremony, this was due to a “PJ Proby pants-splitting routine”.

In the Australian ranks, Ben Doherty showed off a .303 made by Winchester under contract to the British Government in 1914. According to Doherty, there were about 235,000 of these models produced and his was manufactured halfway through the run. “I bought it off a collector about six years ago,” he said. “It is equipped with volley sights and in effect, in military terms, took over the job that the archers used to do in far earlier times.”

Doherty’s shooting skills certainly shone through in the team event where he and partner Trevor Rock, as the Australia C combination, took third spot in the aggregate title for the Trans Tasman Trophy. The elegant silverware was engraved with the inscription ‘Dedicated to the safe, competitive use of military rifles’. Runner-up was Australia B (Simon Ross and Dan Rajkovic), with the winners Australia A (Greg de Koning and Anthony Wilson).

On the first day, team honours had gone to Australia A (de Koning and Wilson), followed by Australia B (Ross and Rajkovic) second and Australia C (Doherty and Rock) third. Over days two and three, the team winner was Australia A (de Koning and Wilson), ahead of Australia B (Ross and Rajkovic). The New Zealand B pairing of Peter Keysers and Hoover put the visitors on the honours list by grabbing third spot.

De Koning took out the top Service Rifle Individual aggregate award, with Rajkovic runner-up and Wilson third. After day one, Rajkovic had led the way, followed by Wilson and de Koning. Over days two and three, de Koning topped the pile, pipping Wilson, with Rajkovic third.

At the conclusion of the presentations, SSAA National Secretary Kaye McIntyre voiced a sentiment that she was to echo throughout the championships: “It is not just about shooting, but camaraderie,” she said.

All Disciplines