Rhys Plum

Rhys turns to his coach for help be­fore tack­ling some tricky pre­sen­ta­tions at the Churchill Chal­lenge

Clay Shooting - - Contents - Rhys Plum is a 16-year-old English Sport­ing ju­nior shooter from Hert­ford­shire, who writes a monthly col­umn about his ex­pe­ri­ences in com­pe­ti­tion shooting.

Ihad a les­son with my coach, Ed Solomons, last week – which I found very help­ful as we ap­proach the busy com­pe­ti­tion sea­son. We headed up to Sport­ing Tar­gets in Bed­ford­shire and shot some of the tar­gets that I am cur­rently hav­ing trou­ble with. With Ed’s guid­ance I made some ad­just­ments to my tim­ings on cer­tain shots.

We often shoot at Sport­ing Tar­gets, purely be­cause of the va­ri­ety of tar­gets that they have on of­fer. We were able to move around the ground, fo­cus­ing mainly on battues. Ini­tially I was con­cerned that my kill point was not con­sis­tent enough. Some­times I was let­ting the bird roll over, whereas I wanted to be shooting the bird a sec­ond ear­lier.

Ed iden­ti­fied that my gun speed was the is­sue. On the first cou­ple of pairs my gun speed was per­fect, re­sult­ing in two bro­ken clays. As I got more com­fort­able with the tar­get, on the fi­nal few pairs, my gun speed would ease off and I would end up shooting the tar­get later and over the top. Af­ter shooting the tar­get cor­rectly at about 30 yards, we moved back 5 yards with each suc­cess­ful shot, un­til my tim­ing was per­fect at about 55 yards. Be­ing able to shoot plenty of that spe­cific tar­get is great, as it means that they should no longer be a worry for me. It was an­other pos­i­tive ses­sion with Ed, who I can­not rec­om­mend enough.

Last month, I also shot the Churchill Chal­lenge at EJ Churchill, which pre­sented mul­ti­ple com­plex and well-thought-out tar­gets – and the scores re­flected the dif­fi­culty of the course. Hard it might be, but the tar­gets were just some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, mak­ing it a chal­lenge that re­quired a lot of think­ing.

The com­pe­ti­tion is nine stands that make up the 100-bird course. Eight out of the nine stands each have three traps, which are shot as on-re­port pairs and then si­mul­ta­ne­ous pairs. The team at EJ Churchill have re­ally gone to town on the fi­nal stand, which has six ma­chines. Each tar­get is shot as a sin­gle, then on-re­port pairs, and fi­nally as sim pairs.

This was the most dif­fi­cult stand of all. You had to be pre­pared to step out of your com­fort zone and think hard about the tar­gets and how they should be shot.

I haven’t shot much at EJ Churchill in prac­tice be­fore, but will def­i­nitely be re­turn­ing in the near fu­ture to shoot some more of these treach­er­ous tar­gets. All in all, this was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence that I will def­i­nitely be shooting again next year.

Ed Solomons helped Rhys with his prob­lem with battues

Rhys en­joyed shooting the set-up at EJ Churchill

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