Beretta World Sporting
PUBLISHED: 15:14 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:07 28 November 2012
Don Brunt reports from Meon Springs
Paul Simpson won the Beretta World Sporting at Meon Springs on Sunday 8 July, beating Phillip Thorrold in a thrilling shoot-off.
It was the culmination to three great days' competition, which saw many of the top names compete over the 120-target course at the scenic Meon Springs fishery near Petersfield in Hampshire.
With dry warm weather the conditions for shooting were near perfect apart from a stiff breeze which added to the courses complexity on the Friday. Paul Simpson, Chris Daniels and Richard Faulds were the early leaders all tied on 108 ex 120, however with only two shooters from each day going forward to the Six man Super Final on Sunday the officials had to separate the three of them by virtue of the countback system.
A stand had been chosen prior to the event in case of this eventuality, whomever had scored the lowest on that stand was going home would take no further part in the event. It was Faulds who lost out and the 2006 champion saw his hopes of defending his title disappear.
Nathan Dudley and Phillip Thorrold put in scores of 109 and 110 respectively on Saturday, with the latter missing out on a spectacular score courtesy of 3 targets dropped on stand 1.
Down in the lower classes it was apparent that it was the deviousness of the duo of Messrs Corney and Clarke that was taking targets from people rather than any “eye sight tests” in the form of extreme long range target presentations. Watching shooters emerging from some of the stands literally scratching their head showed that a target can look very easy but shoot hard, the result of some clever course setting.
Sundays entry saw a gaggle of top shots trying to fight their way into the final, both Mark Marshall and Ed Solomons looked to be on for a good score but neither could quite do enough. Solomons though would have won the prize for most unlikely looking competition gun; looking to replicate the feel of his heavyweight Krieghoff he selotaped 2 lbs of iron bar to the barrel of his Beretta semi auto and lengthened its stock by 2 and a half inches courtesy of some rather large washers inserted between stock and recoil pad.
It may have looked like the result of a Meccano truck crashing through a gunshop window but it nearly did the business, his score of 105 equalled that of Rick Wyatt and 2005 winner Richard Bunning but ended up 2 shy of the two Sunday winners Scott Greenfield and Junior Sam Green.
The final always proffers some very testing targets; the gasps from the waiting crowd when they were shown proved this year would be no exception with a simultaneous pair of looping battues proving to be the nemesis of all in the final except Paul Simpson who broke them with monotonous regularity. However Paul was having problems of his own with some of the other targets and by the time the last of the 30 targets had been shot both he and Phillip Thorrold stood clear of the rest on 21.
However with the battues returning for the shootoff the writing was on the wall for Phillip and though he did eventually find them it was by then too late as he succumbed to a confident Simpson who took the win in fine style. With his wedding coinciding with the upcoming British Open this would be his last major competition of the year but Paul put his qualifying score down to having been to a friends wedding the day before and still feeling the effects of a rather heavy evenings celebrating
In ladies Cheryl Hall continued her winning streak with a crushing victory, her nearest rival Janine Preece was a massive 15 targets adrift whilst our own Georgie Jones took third with an 83. Cheryl’s score was all the more impressive as it was just 6 short of bagging her a spot in the overall Super Final.
Junior Sam Green romped home with a margin of 9 over runner up Christopher Pratt whilst David Bolton secured the last place on the podium a further clay adrift. Sam also added victory in A Class, 7 targets being the cushion to Russell Tedder in second place. AJ Smith secured the vets win followed by John Williams and another Simpson, Philip.
With good targets, big prizes, a great atmosphere, a perfect setting and fine weather there is only one problem that arises, how do you keep on bettering it each year, and that is something that has already got Bob and Pete scratching their heads as they start to plan next years event.