Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Four decades of rubbish!

The rifle club moved to its current premises in 1975.  Over that time it has seen over 350 members call the current range their shooting home.  And that number of people requires lots of kit and equipment.  Unfortunately, the club has not been particularly good at adhering to that old 'one in, one out' rule when it comes to replacing old furniture or equipment, and thus we've slowly been amassing 40-years-worth of junk.

So it was time for a clear out!  With the kind help of club members volunteering their Sunday morning (and afternoon if we're honest), we got through a lot of stuff and uncovered a little bit more club history in the process.

Tom, David, Shaun and Dave clearing out the second club room.

Some of us were surprised to learn that there is in fact... drum roll please... a second club room!  We've spoken to veteran shooters in other clubs and they remember this room very well - apparently when shoulder-to-shoulder matches took place at Portsmouth City, the guest team were given their own club room and no interaction between teams was allowed!  (How bizarre!)  However, for some time now it has been used as a storeroom for everything whenever we had to tidy up.  No longer!

Many thanks to the clear-out crew!  (Adam, Dave, David, George, Gordon, Shaun and Tom)

CSI Tom stands proudly alongside George and Adam in the now empty second range.

And also a shout out to Rubbish Clearance Portsmouth who, despite being a little surprised (they weren't the only ones) at the volume of rubbish we had to dispose of, dealt with it quickly and with smiles on their faces.  We've got your number for next time! :-)

Is that a grin or a grimace at how much more there is still to clear out?

And more...

And yet more!

Getting it all into the trucks was fun.  Sorry to the neighbours for any noise.

But it all went and the alleyway was left as tidy as we found it.

And parts of the range were left considerably tidier than we found them!

Monday, 28 November 2016

City puts an end to Wickham's winning streak

We at Portsmouth City always have a great time when we shoot against Wickham, and we're of course very happy that Wickham has had such a successful shoulder-to-shoulder season with no losses so far (that is wins against West Meon A, Railway A, Havant, Chichester, Sarisbury and HMS Excellent A).  However, after our loss against Railway A last week, City was keen to get another win under our belt and put an end to Wickham's unbroken streak of wins.

Here's how the match went.

Wickham A - 484

S. Dismore (97)
T. Caister (92)
M. Barnes (97)
R. Heasell (94)
M. Ward (97)
I. Nichols (97)
R. Long (94)
T. Malleson (96)
Portsmouth City - 488

I. Cooper (96)
A. Nevatte (97)
P. Upchurch (96)
S. Hart (98)
G. Scruton (98)
J. Rowe (97)
R. Ashman (98)

So no outstanding scores but a solid performance from our shooters.  Apologies to Wickham for stopping their clean sweep this half of the season.

We have one more match, the reschedule home match against Chichester, next Thursday and then comes the Xmas break.  As the points stand now, we have 8 championship points as a result of 4 wins and wish us luck in getting two more next week against Chi!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Railway put an end to City's winning streak!

The headline says it all really.  After four shoulder-to-shoulder matches coming away the victors, a less than stellar performance from City presented an opportunity for Portsmouth Railway Rifle Club that they seized and so not only has City suffered a defeat, but a home defeat.  Oh the shame!

Here were the scores:

Portsmouth City - 484

I. Cooper (97)
S. Hart (98)
L. Haskett (96)
G. Scruton (97)
A. Nevatte (95)
R. Ashman (96)
J. Rowe (96)
Portsmouth Railway - 485

J. Ring (96)
M. Carter (94)
K. Hardyman (97)
C. Richards (99)
N. Toms (95)
N. Perman (96)
C. Coles (97)
D. Blake (92)

So by the very slightest of margins, Railway got the better of us.  Well done to them.  Our league team average slides down to 487.4 but with an away match against Wickham A (who are doing very well this season) on Monday, we've got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and bring our A game for that match.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Shooting at the Lord Roberts Centre

An hour or so up the road from us is the National Shooting Centre at Bisley.  It's where the outdoor meeting of the year is held every year and Portsmouth City shooters know it mostly for the ELEY finals that we sometimes qualify to shoot in (see here and here).

However, one of our members pointed out that there was nothing stopping us from booking some practice time on the Lord Roberts Range, so this weekend, that's what we did!

The Lord Roberts Range is a 50m semi-outdoor range (the points are in the building, but the targets are outside) with electronic targets, like what the international matches are shot on (and if you haven't seen one of those, scroll down to the bottom of this post to see a couple of recent ISSF finals).  The main difference between this sort of shooting and what we usually do - perhaps more than the distance or maybe even the weather conditions - is the number of shots: unlimited sighters, and 60 competition shots, all in one go.

When you are only used to doing a 10-shot indoor comp card, 60 shots on the trot is a whole other animal.  Even if you are used to doing outdoor matches on cards, those are only 20 competition shots at a time and then there's a break while you change your card.  That's not the case here; you can and have to just keep shooting and shooting and shooting.  And when you finish, you get a big print out of all your shots, your final score, and the placement of all those shots.

And just to be clear, the placement of these shots is recorded pretty accurately, down to the tenth of a point.

Here's Adam and Marian showing us how to do it in style (the monitors don't actually flicker like you see, that's just the video recording).

We had a great time up at the Lord Roberts Centre and we'll be sure to go again in 2017, though we might wait for it to warm up a little first, as it is already a bit chilly.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The West Meon Away Match

This evening the City team made its way up to West Meon!  After last week's Arthur Lee home match, this time they had the home advantage.  Unfortunately, neither team was up to full strength so it was 5 against 7.  Here were the scores:

West Meon - 465

G. Stone (90)
M. Atkins (92)
D. Corbett (98)
D. King (90)
P. Hannington (95)
Portsmouth City - 487

I. Cooper (100)
A. Nevatte (95)
S. Hart (98)
J. Rowe (96)
G. Scruton (97)
P. Upchurch (96)
T. Sommerville (93)

This equals City's score against West Meon away last year and while 487 is not a bad team score (and a win is a win) it does edge our team average down a little to 488.3.  Come on City, let's power through this and keep the scores in the 490s!

This evening, it was Ian Cooper who showed us all how it should be done!  Well done for the ton!

Ian proudly shows off his ton.  And just in case you doubt that he was happy with it...
... he was. :-)

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Felix Gordon Hoadley

This is the first of what I hope will be many posts about the club's history.  To begin with, I thought it would be fun to go all the way back to the beginning and the first secretary of the club.

Felix Gordon Hoadley was born in Brighton in 1888 and when he was 25 years old he emigrated to New Zealand, but in that short period of adulthood, Private F. G. Hoadley made a big impact on shooting in Portsmouth.  He was the secretary and, for five years before emigrating, the captain of the newly established Borough of Portsmouth Rifle Club (as our club was previously known).

Hoadley was an exceptional shot who represented Portsmouth at Bisley.  In 1912, at the age of 24, he was within seven points of the King's Prize, achieving second place.  In that same year, the members of the club presented Hoadley with a B.S.A. rifle on the occasion of his marriage to Maud Smith.  It was only a year later that the club would say goodbye to their captain, secretary and cornerstone of their A team.  So important and well-liked was he that a 'smoking concert' was held in his honour at the "Cobden" Hotel on Arundel St (likely the Cobden Arms) attended not only by members of the Borough Rifle Club but by members of other clubs in the district as well.  It was at this event that he was presented with a silver watch with the following engraving:

"presented to F. G. Hoadley by the members of the Borough of Portsmouth Rifle Club, as a mark of esteem, June 1913"

On top of this, a purse of gold was presented for Hoadley's son, born that same month (Portsmouth Evening News, 26th June, 1913).

Felix Gordon Hoadley's farewell was well documented in the Portsmouth Evening News (26th June 1913, p. 5)
The Cobden Arms on Arundel St, Portsmouth (circa 1970, awaiting demolition)

Hoadley emigrated with his new family to the Dominion of New Zealand, a part of the British Empire, but still had every intention of returning to Bisley in the future to represent his new adopted homeland.  Unfortunately, with the advent of war the following year, it is unlikely he was able to do so.  He nonetheless maintained his shooting status, being described as "one of the finest marksmen in New Zealand" (New Zealand Evening Post, 18th October, 1917).  Sadly, his new life in the Antipodes was not long lived and Hoadley died of pneumonia in 1917 at the age of 29.

Hoadley's obituary (New Zealand Evening Post, 18th October 1917)

It's humbling to think that the organisations, clubs and teams we are involved with setting up and fostering in their early years may potentially live on as much as a century after we're gone.  Certainly, a number of individuals have made enormous contributions to our rifle club over the last century, but from what can be gleaned from the archives, F. G. Hoadley's efforts at the beginning were important in getting it all started.  Thanks, Felix!

F. G. Hoadley's final resting place, Sydenham Cemetary, Christchurch, New Zealand (from BillionGraves.com).

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Arthur Lee Cup Round 1 - City vs West Meon

So tonight was the first round of this season's Arthur Lee Cup - again we were up against West Meon, except this time it was on home territory.  The Arthur Lee matches, unlike regular Portsmouth & District matches, are teams of six shooting two cards each.

Here's how we did:

Portsmouth City - 1177

I. Cooper (99, 98)
A. Nevatte (96, 97)
S. Hart (100, 100)
J. Rowe (98, 95)
G. Scruton (100, 98)
R. Ashman (97, 99)
  West Meon - 1120

G. Stone (94, 96)
A. Smith (95, 95)
M. Atkins (94, 95)
P. Hannington (95, 96)
D. Corbett (96, 95)
G. Dixon (80, 89)

So, we are through to the next round!  Congratulations to Sarah Hart for her excellent double ton!  A ton is special, but a double ton is a whole other level of awesome.  Well done, Sarah!  Well done to the rest of the team as well for a solid performance all round.

We're up against West Meon again next week for the Portsmouth & District league, but next Tuesday it's an away match.  Should be fun!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

City score high against Havant

Tonight we hosted Havant at home.  After losing to Sarisbury in our first match of the season, we've been keen to get a winning momentum going.  Here's how we did:

Portsmouth City - 491

I. Cooper (97)
A. Nevatte (97)
P. Upchurch (92)
L. Haskett (91)
S. Hart (100)
R. Ashman (98)
J. Rowe (95)
G. Scruton (99)

T. Sommerville (90)
Havant - 485

A. Perry (95)
A. Morley (99)
D. Cotton (98)
L. Hanna (93)
M. Nevatte (96)
M. Reynolds (94)
T. Brown (97)
J. Allsop (95)

Congratulations to Sarah Hart for her ton (and for her wonderful blueberry muffins!).  This score of 491 marks our best score of the season so far, and our best showing against Havant for a number of seasons.  You might notice a familiar name in Havant's ranks: one of our own, our treasurer and former captain, Marian Nevatte.  We're happy that she's settled in her new club... but we weren't about to go easy on her in these matches. ;-)

The season is now in full swing and the matches and various competition cards are coming thick and fast.  Keep an eye out for more news about various shoots over the coming weeks.