Whist the sport may be new to some, with its mixture of excitement, fun and skill, clay pigeon shooting in Lancaster has established itself as a pleasurable past time which transcends the traditional stereotypes of a middle-aged man, clad in tweed with a faithful Labrador at his heels. Infact, more business is negotiated over a light spot of shooting than the more traditional round of golf. However, the sport is not merely reserved for businessmen and the like, but is becoming increasingly popular with a younger generation, as demonstrated by the success of Lancaster Clay Pigeon Shooting Club.
Since its conception in 2008, the club has gone from strength to strength, catering for a range of abilities from the seasoned shot to self confessed novices. The club provides a relaxed, friendly and safe atmosphere in which members can share their knowledge and experience and as one member quite simply put it, “have a really good laugh”.
Whilst the club had some financial worries this year, newly elected president Max Doelle has ambitious plans for the society. These range from the acquisition of two team guns- a twelve bore over-and-under and a more dainty twenty bore semi-automatic for those adverse to the stronger recoil and weight of the twelve bore. The aim of procuring a permanent professional coach, is also something the club wants to achieve. With regards to the latter, the club is set to move from their current training ground of Crabtree Clays in Kirkby Lonsdale to Coniston Shooting Grounds in North Yorkshire where a higher level of tuition- as well as existing coaching more tailored to beginners- will be provided.
However, this lack of higher level coaching is not something that the club has let hinder their performance in recent competitions. In the recent Spring Cup hosted by Aberystwyth University at The Mid-Wales Shooting Centre, the team of Jonathan Scott, Tom Chilcott, Andrew Brown and Maximilian Doelle put up a promising performance, leaving with a respectable placing, and even besting the formidable Royal Agricultural College. This was a particular remarkable result, considering the team had never been confronted with the challenge of a one hundred bird flush in which all four guns take their places in their respective stalls to have all one hundred clays fired overhead in the space of just over one minute. Treasurer Andrew Brown described this stage of the competition as “hard going but great fun”, and hard going it was with over two hundred shots being fired in the short time.
The clubs success was furthered at the BUCS undergraduate shoot where Mills Evans was ranked an impressive 5th out of 77 in the Ladies class. Whilst the mens team did not fare as well, congratulations should still be given to Maximilian Doelle who was placed 31/271, Josh Moore and Matt Toothman who tied for the team’s second placing of 114/271 and Gwinnet Bompas, a close third at 120/271, all in the C* class. As treasurer, Bompas put it “these are great results that, as a club, we can build on”. Certainly, they look promising for the club’s performance at upcoming competitions at the British Open English Skeet and Lambton Team Shoot.
When they are not competing against other teams, there is still an air of friendly rivalry within the club during training sessions, where scores are regularly collated to determine the highest scoring shot of the day or mount. Most recently, Max Doelle and Ulrich Badstuber have been successful with scores of 28/50 and 7/10 respectively. This sparks much promise for Roses, where the club will be looking to make good on last year’s defeat to York in a battle for the best of three.
In only its fourth year of existence, Lancaster Clay Pigeon Shooting Club has gone from strength to strength in both competitions and in the continued improvement of its members. Under the leadership of a new exec, the club looks set to become a force to be reckoned with, at both Roses and in other competitions. If you would like any more information or would like to attend one of the weekly shoots which take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, you can contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/lucpc.