For­ever Younger

John Younger sealed a record fourth Field & Game Na­tional Cham­pi­onship in a shoot-off but his­tory told him it might not be his day.

Field and Game - - NATIONAL CARNIVAL 2017 -

Af­ter fin­ish­ing his last round an­other com­peti­tor stepped up to shake his hand and of­fer con­grat­u­la­tions but John knew it was pre­ma­ture.

“Some years ago at Shepparton the same thing hap­pened and the bloke con­grat­u­lat­ing me said Bren­ton Irons wouldn’t shoot 25 in his last round to force a shoot-off; he did shoot 25 and then smoked me.”

Bren­ton shot a pos­si­ble on ground six, sta­tis­ti­cally the tough­est ground, to end the first day in good shape.

Sun­day didn’t start as well: he dropped five tar­gets on ground one and needed 25/25 on ground two to force a shoot-off.

The shooter who shook John’s hand this day also sug­gested Bren­ton wouldn’t do it. He did and John im­me­di­ately thought his­tory was about to re­peat.

Mind you, he thought he’d blown his chances long be­fore.

“It was a slow start on lay­out six but I wasn’t really dis­ap­pointed be­cause of how that lay­out was. I thought if I could have shot 22 there I’d be happy, and I came in with 21,” he said.

“It was a test­ing course and a cou­ple of the young lads, Bren­ton and Billy Cain, shot 25 there, which was ab­so­lutely bril­liant shoot­ing.”

John got his shoot back on track be­fore strik­ing the curse of the rab­bit.

“I had the dou­ble bar­rel rab­bit come out and I pulled and it bounced over my shot. I thought, that’s OK, I’ve got an­other shot at it so I fol­lowed it along and pulled the trig­ger and it bounced over again.

“I still had the pair to go and I got the first bird, which was a pretty tough one, but the rab­bit bounced clean over the shot again and the whole squad has gone ‘you’re jok­ing’; we couldn’t be­lieve it, I was gut­ted.

“I have a guy who comes in and shoots rab­bits on my place. I don’t even shoot them. It is just one of those things, I thought that had cost me the shoot.”

Af­ter a tough year where he’s of­ten been in con­tention but hasn’t fin­ished off shoots, John said his fourth ti­tle gave him con­fi­dence he’s work­ing his way through the prob­lem.

He was also full of praise for his shoot-off op­po­nent.

“The change of for­mat didn’t change my ap­proach; you just have to go and shoot as many as you can and tally them up at the end of the day. Bren­ton had to shoot 25 to equal me and I knew that; it was a fine ef­fort to get into the shoot off,” he said.

Oth­ers, in­clud­ing 2016 cham­pion Robert Hall, were full of praise for the shooter who seems for­ever young.

“He’s by far the best shooter we’ve had in this coun­try, he’s a ma­chine,” Robert said.

“He seems to be shoot­ing bet­ter and bet­ter as he gets older, you have to take your hat off to him,” Bren­ton said.

The run­ner-up was shoot­ing his first Na­tional Car­ni­val since re­turn­ing from the United States and ad­mit­ted that in the lead-up, Sim­u­lated Field did not feel very fa­mil­iar.

“I really had to work pretty hard over the last month to get my gun mount back,” he said.

Shoot­ing pos­si­bles on ground six and again on ground two to make the shoot-off is a fair in­di­ca­tion the mus­cle mem­ory is re­turn­ing

“I hadn’t looked at the score­board but I’ve been around long enough to know that when a lot of peo­ple are watch­ing you can’t miss,” he said.

“It is one tar­get af­ter the next and ev­ery tar­get is as im­por­tant as the last one un­til they are all bro­ken.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.