We got there! In 2019 we started to started to get the Cranleigh School rifle team back up and running after a long break. Target rifles secured, training completed…..Covid!

We persevered with help from the OC’s, support from parents and resilience from the original members of the team we carried on training and improving. Along the way we qualified for the national finals and came third in the Brigade Competition.

During the winter we borrowed neighbouring Schools’ ranges to practice our marksmanship and shooting then when became an option for Sixth Formers in the Summer term and we travelled to Bisley weekly. We felt prepared and ready to enter the prestigious Bisley Schools Week. This is the start of the Imperial Meet and finishes with the famous Ashburton Day.

Thirty-six schools arrived Sunday afternoon to book into stats, hand in rifles, sort accommodation at Pirbright camp and receive safety briefings. There was much excitement from everyone that the week was back after the enforced break and that Cranleigh were back competing in what is, a big event in the public schools’ calendar.  

Monday was individual shoots at 300, 500 and 600 yards. This was delayed due to wild fires in the danger area and finished early for the same reason. Over 350 Cadets worked hard in very hot conditions, rotating through shooting, registered keeper, hydrating and getting ready to shoot. OC, Rob Welford came along to see the boys and helped with some coaching. With his expertise we saw the scores improve throughout the day.

Tuesday, the comp started in earnest. Trophy’s available for each distance and individually for the Cadet 100. Unfortunately, Will V-P. was not feeling well and had to retire. In the evening we went to the Surrey Rifle Association to take part in a fun quiz, in which we came second.

Wednesday was the same format, shooting for different trophies and the aggregate for the two days including the Cadet 100. OC Rifle Club Secretary, Simon Hayton came along to join us to coach and again helped the cadets improve. He was amazed at the standard of the team who had been improving all the time. We went for a team meal in the “Surrey” in preparation for Ashburton day.

Accommodation handed back, we headed over to the range to shoot in the Ashburton. It lived up to its name and I must admit to having butterflies as we set up on the 300 point.

We entered the Ashburton Four and the Spencer Mellish. This shoot is known as the captain’s shoot but is generally the team’s best shot on the day. It involves a self-coached shoot (2 & 10) in front of all the other Cadets and guests.  Ashburton Day overlaps with the veterans shoot and thus is always a great day for school teams to meet up with their respective alumni. It was also made special to see the parents who came to watch after all their support throughout our journey.

We gathered around the famous scoreboard in Bisley camp to see how we had fared.

I’m delighted that Ruari B-S. was 71 in the Cadet 100. His badge was awarded by the Secretary General of the NRA, Andrew Mercer. This is the first Cadet 100 Cranleigh has had this millennium.

We came 9th in the Ashburton 4’s (Alex S. was top shot) and 4th in the East Surrey Bicentenary Bowl. Ruari came joint 4th in the Spencer Melllish and Major Money came 6th in staff shoot and was awarded an engraved silver spoon.

OCRC President, Rob Welford, presented the team their Bisley 2022 badges.

It was a great event to take part in and we look forward to using the momentum to move the team forward.

Thanks to the team. Ruari B-S. (Capt), Archie W., Will G., Alexander S., Will V-P. who were a credit to the School, Mr Walker, the OCs, especially Rob and Simon and the parents that have felt part of the team. We wish Will G. the best of luck in his appointment as Shooting Captain for next year.