Controversy Surrounds Shooting Finale

A mixture of bad luck, injuries and lots of controversy ensured Cambridge were against the odds, but still defeated Oxford and nearly took the win. DAVID FIRTH gives us the lowdown on all the drama.

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For the first time in years, Cambridge was able to attend the Small Bore Rifle BUCS team finals, which were held in Staveley near Sheffield. The final consisted of the 16 teams who had qualified via a round of postal card competition, which saw a controversial new format this year. The team managed to make the cut despite a below average performance.

The day was one of controversial rule changes and controversial decisions – both to the disadvantage of Cambridge

Things looked set to be against Cambridge from the start, with team members unable to attend or injured, and last minute rifle problems, but they were not deterred. Upon arrival, they learnt that everyone would shoot just one card, with the top teams progressing to the final (of the final), where scores would reset and everyone would shoot just one more card. All of this in ten minutes meant this would be high-pressure shooting, but something Cambridge were confident about having won Varsity last weekend. Some teams travelled for hours only to shoot for 10 minutes and go home. Cambridge went through to the final eight in second place, two points behind Southampton, but once again beating Oxford. Olly Collas showed fantastic form with a huge 98 ex 100.

In the final round, seeing as the scores were bizarrely reset, any one of the eight teams was in with a chance of the medals. This time Cambridge put down an improved score of 573 ex 600, with solid scores across the board: Olly Collas (97), Ewan Johnstone (97), David Firth (96), Nick Hall (95), Anna Stansbury (94) and Luke Davison (94). This was enough to leave them tied with Southampton for gold.

Their performance was enough for a medal, but it wasnt the colour of the one they wanted

As the team began preparing for an exciting tie shoot, the Captains were called over to discuss the format. Southampton challenged one of their scores and received an extra point, meaning the tie shoot was called off and Cambridge took second place. Disappointing, but still a fantastic result given the difficulties and the one card system; the icing on the cake was that Oxford were beaten again, who took bronze with 571 ex 600.

The 1st VIII and Womens IV Small Bore team

The club will now focus on 2nd & 3rd VIII and 3 Positions Varsity, which will be held in Cambridge on Saturday 9th March.