The weekend of 30 to 31 October saw a hot weekend of shotgun competition as temperatures and high humidity made for challenging conditions in Darwin and Townsville. Events over the weekend saw the Northern Territory Clay Target Association ISSF State Titles held at the Darwin Clay Target Club, the Northern Zone ISSF Skeet Championship with an added Trap competition at Townsville Gun Club, and the Riverina Zone ISSF Trap Championships held by the Border Clay Target Club at the Shelford Shooting Range in Mulwala.
These Shooting Australia endorsed shotgun events provided athletes with not only an opportunity to contest for a sash but also an opportunity to record a performance score towards their average performance scores. It was also great to welcome these ranges and associations to the endorsed event program enabling a much farther reach for ISSF shotgun competition opportunities.
The event in Darwin attracted athletes from Perth, Adelaide and Victoria keen to claim a State Title win from the skeet and trap locals. Brother and sister Nicholas and Gabriella Ferteklis proved strong competition for their father Victor who finished qualifying 3 targets behind his son. Victorian Mitchell Iles was two targets ahead of South Australian Skye Pienudomkijlert after day one and increased this to a five target lead at the end of the 125 targets of qualifying, finishing on 120 targets. The mens trap final saw the athletes place in exactly the same order as they qualified which is not something you see happen all too often. Iles took gold with a finals score of 43/50, Pienudomkijert took silver with 40/50 and local Nicholas Ferteklis took bronze with 30/40.
The womens trap final saw local Gabriella Ferteklis take gold with 39/50 in the final, and South Australians Molly Bretag and Anna Evgeniou taking silver and bronze respectively.
With no female skeet competitors, there was only a mens skeet final contested. Western Australian Elie Lahoud lead qualifying with 108/125 and continued on to claim gold with a score of 43/60 in the final. Malcolm Watlman shot 41/60 in the final to take silver and Tony Priestman 27/50 to take bronze.
The open skeet and trap events in Townsville attracted more localised competitors who displayed a strong appetite for competition, driving several hours to compete. Local Antony Ballarino shot a personal best in qualifying to finish with an impressive 120/125 and 6 targets ahead of the second highest qualifier William Bosworth. Bosworth finished 5 targets ahead of his dad Barry. The trap final comprised of two parent/children combinations with Mal and Bree Collins joining the Bosworths. Ballarino was again too strong taking gold with 44/50 and 4 targets ahead of William Bosworth who claimed silver. Mal Collins took bronze with 31/40.
Cherie Reeves finished on 102/125 after qualifying and a massive 10 targets ahead of Jason Phillis. At the end of the 60 target final, Reeves was tied on 39/60 with Junior Cody Chapman, forcing a sudden death shoot off to determine the gold medal. Reeves shot her full pair to win the gold with Chapman missing one of the two targets to win the silver. Steven Makris shot 30/50 in the final to take the bronze.
And in cooler weather in Mulwala, on the Victoria/New South Wales border, James Willett led qualifying with 120/125 and 7 targets ahead of Ross Liersch. Gabriel Sensi, Scottie Brydon, Angus Ferguson and Shane Pinner rounded off the top six. Into the open final and it was Willett that was too strong taking the gold medal with 47/50. Sensi was only 3 targets behind to claim silver and Liersch shot 34/40 to take bronze.
It was a great weekend of shotgun events enabling competition opportunities for so many. Once again it was an opportunity to highlight the inclusivity of this great sport. Thank you to all of the volunteers from all of the clubs and associations who committed their time and energy into the organising and running of these events.