The Jack Pyke English Open is fast becoming one of the premier events on the Clay Shooting calendar, with nearly 400 shooters over 4 days at Sporting Targets in Riseley – the shoot arranged right across the vast grounds at Sporting Targets, with a full variety of targets.

Early markers were thrown down with George Digweed shooting a 99 on day one, apparently dropping one of the sim rabbits on (unlucky) stand 13 – however, with an amazing prize fund of over £5000 – there was still plenty to play for as the week progressed – even if the wind threatened to get a bit stronger for the weekend.

A couple of ShootClay forum members took a trip up on Saturday – with a fairly gusty wind in evidence, it was clear that we might be in for some unpredictable targets, so fortified with bacon sandwiches and excellent coffee we squadded up and headed out to the first stands.  Sporting Targets have the organisation down to a fine art for this event, our squad of three was met by our scorer and we boarded some golf buggies to take us to the other end of the shooting ground, on layouts the called ‘field’ and ‘plantation’ where we started.

First stand was a nice loosener – an o/r of straight going away birds from under your feet on a platform, then out into the field where we felt the blustery conditions for the first time. an over the shoulder high going away bird along the treeline followed by a left to right crosser which stopped on the breeze – then a right to left battue followed by a right to left crosser were big tests in gusts.  After that – we were back into the plantation where we felt much less wind, but could see targets that were clearly affected as they hit the treeline.  Stand 4 was a pair of teals – first one flat, second one up to the right which ‘flipped’ over on itsself and became a fast dropping crosser! Stand 5 was short looping right to left crosser shot as it dropped followed by an incomer along another treeline, a good card builder.  Stand 6 was a right to left looping crosser, followed by a left to right edge on crosser.

We headed back out to the edge of the plantation for the next stands – a sim pair of a teal and incomer which really varied in the breeze and then a pair of a high right to left chondel, flat against the wind so it needed quick gun movement, with a left to right crosser on report.

We went back past the club house for the last run of stands – including a pair of fast right to left birds that went up the banking around the ground – really needed to some quick gun movement with the wind behind them. Stand 11 was a rabbit rolled from a bank followed by a going away bird shot from a platform – the rabbit was really close up and needed to be shot before a cone – a lovely challenging presentation that certainly caught me out – one pair I was transfixed by the shot pattern being ‘around’ the rabbit that I almost forgot about the report bird! Stand 12 was a fast left to right midi, with and on report curling incomer which had a massive amount of gun speed difference between the two birds and needed some concentration for the incomer in the breeze which needed anything between no-lead and two feet depending on how fast it was dropping off the wind! Stand 13 was a lovely pair of sim rabbits, one quartering and one at about 20/25 yards, and we finished up with an on report pair of driven birds off the 120ft tower.

All-in-all an enjoyable track, with only a couple of short trap issues as we went round – the Sporting Targets staff were excellent, quickly seeing to any issues and making sure everything ran smoothly. I was really pleased to bump into some ShootClay Forum members as we went round.

As for results – final scoretables were published last night here – but the headlines are as follows:

  • HG – George Digweed MBE – 99ex100
  • AA Class – Joint 1st Ben Husthwaite / J Freeman / JJ Lee / P Wilkinson – 98ex100
  • A Class – 1st AH Holmes – 91ex100
  • B Class – Joint 1st W Simpson / D Ferriman – 90 ex 100
  • C Class – D Reeve – 83 ex 100
  • Veterans Class – BJ Simpson – 94 ex 100
  • Ladies Class – R Bream / R Brumby – 84 ex 100
  • Junior Class – P Gray – 92 ex 100

In conclusion – an excellent shoot, well sponsored and provided for by Jack Pyke, with every entrant picking up a goodie cartridge bag with a hat, travel mug, cap light, a small penknife, some earplugs and a key chain – Sporting Targets laid on a solid set of targets with some decent tests especially in the weather.