School should be for fun

Bloxham School in Oxfordshire has a long tradition of clay pigeon shooting as part of its extra-curricular programme and is extremely successful in both participation and results. Many pupils have fond memories of their shooting and often return for Old Bloxhamist team and game shooting events.

Originally offered to sixth form students only, shooting has since been extended to students throughout the school between 11 and 18, with talented shots of all ages in the current teams. Competition teams are selected on ability, so often include third form (age 13 to 14) in the same team as upper sixth (age 17 to 18).

All pupils have expert coaching, headed by the A team coach Arnie Palmer, an England shot and national team coach. Andy Bennett coaches the B team, along with Tim Spencer and his colleagues at Edgehill Shooting Ground.

The programme caters for those with no shooting experience, starting with the basics of picking up a gun for the first time, while also helping to develop the expertise of those more experienced shots.

Competition success for Bloxham

Bloxham teams had an outstanding day at the William Powell Schools Challenge, Oxfordshire Shooting Ground, last November. The senior team of Jonty, Teddy, Toby and Paddy won by a massive 27 clays with a score of 191 out of 240, pushing Bredon School into second place with 164. This was a brilliant achievement against schools such as Rugby, Millfield and Cokethorpe. The Bloxham B team finished third on 160.

Teddy won the event’s High Gun with an impressive 51 out of 60. Paddy, Toby and Sam all scored 48 but the runner-up prize went to Paddy as he scored eight out of eight on Stand 1, just one ahead of Sam. The junior team finished second, with a score of 155, just nine clays behind Princethorpe.

Toby won the High Gun trophy at the Schools’ Challenge, The Oxford Gun Company, in March with 47 out of 50.

A total of 21 pupils shot at the event with three senior teams and a junior team of U14s. The A team of Toby (47), Jonty (39), Paddy (44), Teddy (36) and Sam (42), finished second with a total score of 208, just three clays short of winners Bredon School. Emily of Bloxham’s B team came third place for the girls’ High Gun (41).

Bloxham joined schools from around the country for the inaugural Independent Schools Clay Pigeon Championship at Holland & Holland in London this March. A total of 16 pupils shot on the day, giving the biggest representation from the smallest school in the competition. Of the four teams, the B team was the most successful, finishing in bronze position behind winners Strathallan and runners-up Marlborough. The day included a flurry in which Bloxham’s A team shot 79 out of 80, the highest team flush of the championship. Ed was fourth highest gun of the day, with a score of 67.

With more schools taking up shooting, the number of schools’ events is increasing, so when time comes for you to choose a new school, and you’re a keen shot and would like to participate in the sport at school, remember to do your research carefully. Bloxham is looking forward to the opportunity for further competitive success in the future, and who knows, maybe one of you will be on the team then?

If you think your school would like an opportunity to try clay shooting, please contact BASC’s training and education team at training@basc.org.uk We can advise on setting up a clay shoot or may even be able to arrange a day on our shooting simulator for a realistic experience which does not require real guns.

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