Leah Southall keeps going despite a rough patch and difficult conditions, to finish the month in style
Iwas at Bywell Shooting Ground on the three days of 19-21 July to shoot the British Open DTL and the European DTL Championships. It felt weird shooting it this year, because last year I was wearing my England vest to shoot both competitions. The British Open went great for me, as I shot a 98/284, but I was disappointed with the number of second barrels that I had. Unfortunately, I didn’t place anywhere with my score, but I still had a great time competing.
On the first day of the Europeans, I shot a 97/285, despite heavy rain on my last two lines. In my first 50 I only dropped 5 points, but in my last 50 I dropped 10 points due to not being able to see properly because my glasses were covered in rain. That score put me in a good position moving into day two – but on the second day I was shooting at the very bottom of the ground where it seemed to be much windier. That played havoc with the clays, as some were flat, some were high and some dipped in the wind. Another factor I had to take into consideration was the constantly changing light conditions which made the clays difficult to see at times.
I had to battle through and shoot the best I could in the conditions. I was pleased with my combined score of 189/548 for the weekend, but I would have liked to have done better, considering how well I shot on day one.
The next week I shot the West Midlands DTL Inter-counties at Fauxdegla Shooting Ground. The weather was miserable to say the least. There was rain all day and high winds in the afternoon when I was shooting. In fact, it was so bitterly cold it felt like I was shooting in winter. I was disappointed with my result, but at least Staffordshire ladies won team bronze, which both me and Becky Wilkinson were proud of.
On 4 August, I was back at Ranton CTC, this time to compete in the Staffordshire DTL County Championships. Despite not shooting my best, I retained my title of both Lady and Junior County Champion – I have been lady champion for four years running, and junior champion for three years.
I should mention that I have been going through a rough patch recently with my shooting. I'm sure readers can relate to that, as many shooters experience the same thing at some point. I am working extremely hard to try and overcome the wall that I have hit, and I’m so grateful to those of you who have been so understanding and have supported me when I have been upset – it means the world to me.
On a more positive note, I had a successful trip to Nottingham and District Gun Club on 10 and 11 August for the English and British Open Single Barrel. The Saturday was extremely windy, with the wind speed reaching 50mph at times. I managed to shoot a 25-straight, my first at Nottingham, and my overall score was 90 ex-100, placing me second in B Class, second in Juniors and first in Ladies – making me the English Open Single Barrel Ladies Champion for 2019!
On the Sunday, I shot an 86 ex-100, finishing on another 25-straight after changing my lenses because I couldn’t see the clays clearly on my previous lines. I placed third in Juniors and fourth in Ladies by only two clays! Congratulations to all of the winners over the two days.
I am now looking forward to the DTL Grand Masters at Fauxdegla, and another trip up to Bywell for the Clay Shooting DTL Classic. I'll tell you how that goes in next month's column.