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BPSU Newsflash 18

Dear BPSU members

The 8th MLAIC mid- and long range world championship was hosted by the UK from 12 to 18 September 2011 at the world renowned Bisley Range in Surrey, London in the UK.  On 8 September 2011 the selected Protea team departed from the OR Tambo International Airport to the UK.  They were Japie Maritz (captain and coach), Jonathan Hendey (manager), Ronnie Blake, Johan de Beer, Corena De Beer, Kobus de Villiers, John Duckitt, Divan Ferreira, Eugene Kuisis, Tertius Smit and Merwe van Rensburg.  Kobus de Villiers being the only member shooting an original Gibbs Metford rifle dating back to 1864.  The two De Beers would use replicas of the American made Ferriss rifle, Smit and Kuisis would use a replica of the Billinghurst underhammer rifle and the others replicas of the 1862 British Gibbs rifles known as the Pedersoli Gibbs.

We made use of the Royal Air Force lodge and clubhouse at the Bisley shooting facility as our accommodation.  Soon after our arrival at Bisley we took the opportunity to visit the Century Range on which the 300, 500 and 600 yards matches would be shot, followed by a visit to the notorious Stickledown Range on which the 900 and 1000 yard events would be shot.  A look at the weather forecast made it clear that rain and lots of wind would be our ‘partners’ for the match.  We found some form of comfort in the words of the late Joe Hepsworth from the USA “The wind is your friend”, knowing that we had some difficult training session with lots of wind and mirage back home.

Selected shooters representing Austria, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Great Britain, Sweden, Germany, France the USA and South Africa would participate.

Doing well on individual level during a world championship is obviously a dream for all of us, but the whole team was in agreement; this one is about South Africa and the team events.  We simply just had to take back home the long range trophy and the overall aggregate.  We had to show ourselves that we can do it on any range in the world.  Our scores during the individual matches would again be used hand-in-hand with points accumulated at home to determine who of us would represent South Africa in the mid- and long range team events.

Kobus de Villiers shooting in the original class did us proud by winning bronze at 300, bronze at 500, silver at 600, gold at 900 and gold with a new world record at 1000.  Needless to say, he won the individual overall aggregate match and became the first individual to win the original class mid- and long range world title three times – more so three consecutive times.

In the replica class the Proteas did very well with Corena de Beer winning gold and John Duckitt silver in the 300 yards event.  In the 500 yards event Merwe van Rensburg took bronze with Eugene Kuisis taking the 6th position.  In the 600 yards event Eugene Kuisis took the 4th position.  At 900 yards Tertius Smit took the gold and Merwe van Rensburg took the 5th position after a count out on v-bulls for the 3rd, 4th and 5th positions.  At 1000 yards Tertius Smit took gold with a new world record, John Duckitt took silver and Merwe van Rensburg took bronze placing the final stamp on the individual events. 

Corena de Beer also took the award as the highest scoring lady during the championship.  Eugene Kuisis took the third place in the mid range aggregate with Tertius Smit the first place and Merwe van Rensburg the second place in the long range aggregate.  Besides the world records, two South African records were also broken – the 300 yards (Corena de Beer) and at 1000 yards, both Tertius Smit and Kobus broke the record with the same score.

South Africa finished the individual matches in the replica class with three Proteas in the top ten ranking of the overall aggregate match (mid- and long range matches combined).  Merwe van Rensburg took the second place in the overall aggregate match with the same score as the winner who counted him out with three v-bulls.  Tertius Smit took the 4th place and Corena de Beer the 10th place.  A total of 16 individual medals and 4 awards were secured by the Proteas in the individual events. 

The mid range team comprised of Ronnie Blake, Corena de Beer, Eugene Kuisis and Merwe van Rensburg.  The 300 and 500 yard events were shot on one day and the 600 yard event was shot on a second day.  The Protea mid range team took the bronze medal in third place following Germany in the first place and Sweden in the second.  Eight countries competed.

The last day of the championship arrived again with eight countries competing in the world long range match, which would in effect also be the deciding factor in establishing which country would become the overall world champions.  Japie announced the long range team and Kobus De Villiers, John Duckitt, Tertius Smit and Merwe van Rensburg had the honour to defend the world title on behalf of South Africa.  Furthermore they had to ensure that sufficient points were made to ensure that the shortfall at the mid range event could be made up to secure the overall world title.

After the 900 yard event the USA led the Proteas by 18 points and Great Britain led the Proteas by 16 points.  But we ended the 1000 yard match with a final 7 point lead over the USA. 

The overall team aggregate comprises of the specific countries mid range score added to the long range score.  Again the Proteas ensured victory by taking the first place with 903 points, the USA second with 886 points and Germany third with 856 points.  As in 2007 and 2009, the Proteas was the only country that could break the magical 900 point mark.

A dream coming true?  I certainly think so and I know the rest of the world took note that south in Africa there is a group of shooters that understand long range shooting with a muzzle loader.

The full results and lots of pictures are available on www.bpsu.co.za or on www.mlagb.com/bisley2011/index.htm