2021 Nelson Championship
Nelson Championships, Westport Rifle Range, 13–14 March 2021
The forecast was brilliant and so it was. The Coast really turned it on with bluebird skies and generally light breezes.
The entry of 34 shooters is the largest number that have been at this shoot in many a year. The strong field had 12 A graders, and it was good to have 6 C graders too. All of the F Classes had competitors with 5 in FTR Classic and 4 in FTR.
Competitors travelled from as far north as Te Puke, and Riverton at the bottom of the South Island.
The bright light actually made sighting difficult for many TR shooters and that was reflected in the scores. On the first day only 4 possibles were shot at 300 and then even crazier, only 4 at 500. The centre counts were mostly well below par too.
The course of fire of 300, 500, 600 and 700 yards is always testing. The 700 is on the mid-range target with the bull only just over 1.6 minutes wide and the centre 0.8, it's tight and unforgiving.
At the end of the first day Chris Kershaw had centrals on B Grader Martin Fleming and Alan White. The FTR Classic was the other close one with Mike Slade one point ahead of Geoff Smith.
The second day conditions were a repeat of the first, but the shooters had their sighting sorted and many more possibles were recorded. The only exception was at 700 where it got a bit flaky and was the undoing of some.
Alan White took out the championship by one centre from Malcolm Dodson with Chris Kershaw in third. The B grade was a runaway win to Martin Fleming with John Miller second. The evergreen John Fleming came through to win C Grade comfortably from tyro Barry Brown.
The F Open was a two-horse race but a tight one with Darren Swaney finishing 2 points up on Mike Chui. In FTR Chris Brown won by an 8 point margin from Murray Cook. FTR Classic went to Mike Slade, 5 points ahead of Geoff Smith, with Phil Gardiner in third.
Special thanks to the locals in Westport, especially Bernard Menzies, for the work that they do in getting the range ready for us to use. It is only used once a year back from 300 yards and it is always well prepared.