Once again, the fabulous Meon Springs Fishery in East Meon, Hampshire played host to the Beretta World Sporting Championship, but in very different fashion to last year where suncream was order of the day. For 2012 it was umbrellas and waterproof clothes as the inclement summer continued and the beautiful fisheries grounds were transformed into a mud bath!
However, that didn’t deter over a thousand shooters who showed up across the three days to shoot a challenging course set by Bob Clarke and Peter Corney. Our view was that this years layout was a marked improvement on last year, with a wider variety of targets, and better use of the topography available at Meon Springs. Set over 15 stands of 8 targets each, the course had a good variety of height, distance and line – with three ‘menu’ stands increasing the variety a little further.
A highlight for the ShootClay squad was the ‘grouse’ stand, with two fast, low incoming targets, maybe 15/20 feet above the gun – one a battue and one a midi to give the stand even more of a challenge. We also heard many compliments about the menu stand almost opposite with its high r/l crosser, high l/r looper and going-away looper which all looked hittable but caused some challenges.
Shooting on Friday delivered some big scores – with Berkshire shooter Rick Wyatt sitting on a seemingly unassailable 116 ex 120 to start the weekend. Saturday bought heavy rain, a ShootClay Forum squad spent almost all day in heavy rain and some stiff breezes which made scores across the board drop and put no new contenders at the top of the leaderboard, however the tournament format would help the best on the day get into a shootout at the end.
Sunday saw the weather calm down a little bit, with only a few showers across the day to challenge the big boys as they tackled the course. Richard Faulds continued his rich vein of form as he warmed up for London 2012 with a 117ex120, only to be joined at the top by Paul Simpson with a 116ex 200.
The tournament was decided with a shoot-off for the top 2 shooters from each day, with Rick Wyatt and Roger Deacon (113) from Friday, joined by Carl Bloxham (110) and John Lee (113) from the wet and wild Saturday as well as Faulds and Simpson from Sunday.
After the first round – there were 4 shooters tied on 21 with John Lee and Carl Bloxham eliminated. Simpson, Faulds, Wyatt and Deacon went on to shoot another 12 targets, which again left Richard Faulds and Paul Simpson tied, to shoot-off AGAIN for Gold and Silver, with the Paul Simpson eventually emerging victorious.
Overall we left Meon Springs having enjoyed an excellent course, full of challenging targets that were both exciting AND hittable – the final scores were excellent given the challenging conditions across the three days, especially Saturday where the rain was a constant feature of the day. The facilities at Meon Springs were again excellent, with good catering, some nice concession stands and great refereeing and organisation to ensure that everything ran smoothly – we saw virtually no delays on the day we attended, with only a few no birds – considering the conditions this goes to show how well the Laporte kit coped with the event.
Once again – the Beretta World Sporting Championship turns out to be one of the best run events of the year, and is clearly a favourite amongst shooters.
Full results and scores are here