For many St Andrews students their only contact with the Clay Pigeon Shooting club is their annual trip to the fun and debauchery of Welly Ball. However, for the seasoned shots who are members of the club, the fun and the hard work does not stop in November.
Aside from our regular shooting practices which take place every Wednesday, the club is often invited to take part in a number of tournaments across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. Of course, many clubs travel up to Fife in November to take part in the St Andrews Challenge which takes place before Welly Ball. However, it is always nice to take a trip outside the confines of our town so we often grasp the opportunity to travel when we can.
Last weekend saw the St Andrews Clay Pigeon Shooting club en route to Aberystwyth for our annual trip to the Mid Wales Shooting Ground, to compete in the Spring Cup. This is a competition in which the club has enjoyed success over the years. A solid squad of several shots, joined by a number of alumni of the club, made the trip down in rather choppy weather conditions. Thankfully though we arrived in one piece, despite the best attempts of Mother Nature to cover the Welsh town underneath a mass of water.
The competition was of a high standard, as always, with Royal Agricultural University (formerly the Royal Agricultural College but now sporting their new title), Hull, LSE and Gloucester competing. This gave us a chance to meet old friends who are regular visitors to St Andrews whenever the club is hosting a challenge, a sign of the truly very clubbable nature of the sport.
The formidable ‘agri’ colleges really excel at shooting, so for St Andrews ladies 1st team to come second overall was a most impressive triumph.
Frazer Watt, captain of the Men’s 1st team, came 13th overall – a great achievement, especially give the tough competition. Furthermore, the shooting was improved by last ‘away competition’ standards, with down-the-line proving to be a real boost to the individual scores for some of the shots on the St Andrews’ team.
The rain poured and the winds kept battering down the valley, making the shooting conditions tricky, however a late start from the St Andrews team was, possibly, a tactical one, as conditions improved during the afternoon. Despite the weather the general consensus was that everyone had a fine time enjoying the wonderful delights of the Welsh countryside.
In the traditional fashion, the shooting weekend culminated in a very nice dinner which was hosted in Aberystwyth followed by a night on the pier, perhaps not the wisest choice given the harsh nature of the weather which was battering the coastline at that time.
All in all, it was another successful weekend. Our next competition is a trip to Hull in early April, a competition we at the club have traditionally done very well in.
Anyone interested in joining the Clay Pigeon club and taking part in one of our Wednesday shooting sessions should get in contact with them via their Facebook page or through their contact details on the Athletic Union website.