Clay Shooting

The windy World English

Chicago played host to the 2019 World English Sport­ing Cham­pi­onships, where com­peti­tors from 19 na­tions as­sem­bled. Don Brunt was there to watch the ac­tion

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19 na­tions as­sem­bled in Chicago for the World English Sport­ing Cham­pi­onships this year

North­brook Sports Club is with­out doubt one of the premier grounds in the US, lo­cated to the north of down­town Chicago not far from the shore of Lake Michi­gan. It is set amongst 700 acres of beau­ti­ful Illi­nois coun­try­side. Part of its ap­peal is the vari­a­tion in ter­rain; from Oak wood­land through to swamp and marsh, open grass­land and to its im­pres­sive “berm” course, where huge man made banks al­low for some in­ter­est­ing tar­get set­ting.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously held the World FI­TASC in 2012 and the US Open in 2015, the club is no stranger to hold­ing large scale events.

The scale of the fa­cil­i­ties, the or­gan­i­sa­tion, prepa­ra­tion and warmth of the welcome were all ex­cep­tional, with an at­mos­phere that re­ally did make the en­tire week feel spe­cial. An open­ing cer­e­mony that plot­ted the his­tory of Sport­ing clays with demon­stra­tions of early glass ball shoot­ing; free food dur­ing the Thurs­day, Fri­day and Satur­day evenings, and even 25 free prac­tice tar­gets for ev­ery one of the thou­sand en­trants made for a fun en­ter­tain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that few will for­get in a hurry.

As ever in the US, there were plenty of side events, and for those with stamina, there were 1400 com­pe­ti­tion tar­gets avail­able dur­ing the week of shoot­ing. Al­though there would be no Su­per­sport­ing, there was in­stead a 200 Tar­get new sys­tem FI­TASC event as part of the Ko­lar US Tour, which ef­fec­tively re­placed the World Cups for 2019.

The main event was the fo­cus of the week­end, but be­fore that much of the talk was about the Guin­ness World Record at­tempt for the fur­thest dis­tance to shoot a clay tar­get.

Aside from a select few who had been in­vited to take place in the at­tempt, there were “wild card” slots avail­able for those who wanted to try and qual­ify in the days lead­ing up to the at­tempt.

The tar­get in ques­tion was a chon­del teal trap, and al­though those look­ing to qual­ify could start at 70 yards, the World record wouldn’t be awarded on the Satur­day night un­til a tar­get had been bro­ken at 105 yards. The at­tempt saw more than a dozen shoot­ers tak­ing part, with some great names of the sport, as well as plenty of long bird spe­cial­ists who had shot well enough to earn a place. A few names fell at the first hur­dle, but as the hope­fuls moved back to­wards the magic 105 yards, the num­bers dwin­dled. Even­tu­ally Bobby Fowler, Richard Faulds, Jon Ken­dall and Sil­vana Mangano re­mained. All three of the men tried and failed at 105 yards, but on her sec­ond shot Sil­vana broke the tar­get on the drop and put her name into the his­tory books with the long­est Of­fi­cial World Record shot in his­tory. All of those who took part used 32gram 7 ½’s (2.4mm) which is a le­gal load for English Sport­ing in Amer­ica.

In the main event, which be­gan on Fri­day, the course had been split into three as op­posed to the usual two. That in it­self raised the level of dif­fi­culty, be­cause with two courses of 66 and one of 68 tar­gets there were a mas­sive 36 stands and 72 in­di­vid­ual pre­sen­ta­tions to shoot.

Add in just two or three pairs, and no­body present had much time to “find” a tricky tar­get.

“On her sec­ond at­tempt Sil­vana put her name in the his­tory books”

That in it­self made lower scores a prob­a­bil­ity, but in ad­di­tion the three courses were plenty tough enough. Blue was set amongst Oak park­land and saw some long com­bi­na­tions that in places were tricky to see; it pre­sented a su­perquick sim pair from a scis­sor lift that saw a stan­dard head­ing into the ground at speed, with an­other quar­ter­ing out stan­dard also at pace. It could be shot both ways, but nei­ther was com­fort­able and re­quired a quick first bar­rel. If that wasn’t tough enough, then stand one on the white course saw a huge num­ber of zero’s over the three days, it saw a wound up 70mm chon­del fired into the ground, placed along­side an­other wound up stan­dard as a crosser from a lift. The 70 needed more gap than most ex­pected, while the awk­ward tran­si­tion meant that plenty opted to throw two bar­rels at the stan­dard clay and walk off with a good chance of get­ting 50% rather than end up with a zero. Club man­ager Brett Seib­ert had set the Blue while his son Tommy had been the face be­hind the White course. David Nei­derer set the Red, which was amongst the Berm course, and this re­quired plenty of at­tack­ing shoot­ing, but it did seem to some to be a lit­tle eas­ier than the other two.

The lead see sawed as it al­ways does when peo­ple are shoot­ing dif­fer­ent courses, but at the close of play Brett Seib­erts

pre­dic­tion that peo­ple would be shoot­ing off for a place in the Su­per fi­nal at a score of 184-186 seemed a bit op­ti­mistic. Four – in­clud­ing David Good­ing, Wen­dell Cherry and Brad Kidd – had made the cut on 173, while Zach Kein­baum and one other had got in on 174. Martin My­ers was through on 175, as was Colt Joseph Fanizzi on 178. Ben Huth­waite and Richard Faulds both fin­ished on 179, while Cory Kruse was the only one to fin­ish in the 180’s with a 181.

Those scores were an in­di­ca­tor that the shoot had in­deed been tougher than Churchills in 2018 and that had been no walk in the park. Many sug­gested it was harder even than the World English at South Florida in 2015, which had been re­lent­less from start to fin­ish. The Su­per fi­nal was shot over 25 tar­gets and Todd Hitch, Good­ing, Faulds and Kruse all man­aged 21. My­ers man­aged a 22, and both Joseph and Wen­dell shot 23’s, how­ever Cory’s lead was enough to see him pre­vail by just one tar­get over Fanizzi 202 to 201, while Faulds was one clay fur­ther adrift on 200. Husthwaite fin­ished on 199, un­doubt­edly ru­ing what might have been if he hadn’t missed three 70mm’s on the last peg.

Cory has been at the top of the game for many years in Amer­ica – he has been on the sec­ond step of the podium at the World Sport­ing be­fore, so this win was un­doubt­edly well de­served. He won the US Open in 2018 and has been en­joy­ing a resur­gence in for­tunes over the last cou­ple of years. He clearly has the tal­ent to win again and will be hop­ing to re­tain his ti­tle in 2020.

In the in­di­vid­ual stand­ings, USA took a clean sweep; James Bradley Day took Ju­niors sec­ond be­hind Tom Seay, while Emma Stacey (151) took third in Ladies be­hind Annabelle Ayres (162) and Diane So­rantino (155). Mark Bowes man­aged sec­ond in veter­ans be­hind Bill Mcguire, while ex­pat Brit John Wool­ley’s 160 was enough to win Su­per­vets.

An­other white­wash for USA fol­lowed in the team event, with a win­ning mar­gin of 20 tar­gets over Eng­land in Se­niors, 98 tar­gets in Ju­niors over Run­ners up Italy with Eng­land third, 10 tar­gets over sec­ond placed Eng­land in Ladies. In Veter­ans, they fin­ished 15 tar­gets clear of Italy while in Su­per Vets Eng­land once again took Sil­ver some 12 tar­gets adrift.

The host na­tion had turned the ta­bles on Eng­land’s strong per­for­mance on home soil in 2018, and un­doubt­edly re­venge will be the aim of team Eng­land when the event re­turns to Churchills next June.

For full re­sults visit www.win­score.com

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 ??  ?? The Blue course, set in oak park­land, saw some tricky tar­get com­bi­na­tions
The Blue course, set in oak park­land, saw some tricky tar­get com­bi­na­tions
 ??  ?? Cory Kruse emerged the win­ner, with Joseph Fanizzi sec­ond and UK’S Richard Faulds third
Cory Kruse emerged the win­ner, with Joseph Fanizzi sec­ond and UK’S Richard Faulds third
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 ??  ?? Richard Faulds fin­ished on 200, just two tar­gets be­hind the World cham­pion
Richard Faulds fin­ished on 200, just two tar­gets be­hind the World cham­pion
 ??  ?? Emma Stacey (right) took third in Ladies
Emma Stacey (right) took third in Ladies
 ??  ?? Justin Barker from the pod­cast ‘Be­hind the Break’
Justin Barker from the pod­cast ‘Be­hind the Break’
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