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WEST LANCASHIRE ARE THE 2023 MASONIC CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING CHAMPIONS
After 15 years of waiting, the National Masonic Shooting Championships arrived back home in the Province of West Lancashire on Saturday 3rd June 2023 at the Dolphin Shooting Ground, Longton near Preston.
As the nominated hosts of the 2023 National Provincial Clay Pigeon Shooting Championship the West Lancashire Clay Pigeon Shooting Society [WLCPSS] organising committee commenced their detailed and intense planning activities at the beginning of the year for the event to be held at the Dolphin shooting ground, Longton which affords an impressive backdrop to the estuary of the River Ribble.
On the previous day the Provincial hospitality caravan, a marquee provided by the Masonic Fishing Charity to be used for participants ‘check in’, stand signage, display banners, instructional signs [direction to the Dolphin / shooting stand signage], first aid facilities, competitors’ bags, grass cutting and strimming and a gazebo erected displaying the newly founded Country Pursuits Lodge of West Lancashire were all put in place by the WLCPSS organising team.
The day arrived bringing with it a bright morning and warm start which greeted both participants and visitors alike. Following completion of the ‘check in’ all participants were handed their ‘scorecards’ a ‘goodie bag’ and ‘bottles of water’ which would be well received as the temperature continued to increase during the day. This was followed by a welcoming breakfast of a bacon sandwich and a drink.
The Chairman of the WLCPSS, Ian Heyes then conveyed a welcoming brief in the Dolphin function to all competitors who would be competing both individually and as teams with the three highest scores from every Province going towards the Team totals. Provinces supporting this National Masonic Shooting Championships were Buckinghamshire; Cornwall; East Kent; Essex; London GMet; Monmouth; North & East Yorkshire; Shropshire; Suffolk; West Lancashire; West Kent; Yorkshire West Riding and in addition the 3 guests of Andrew McClements from Scotland. This briefing also included the Ladies teams from various Provinces which has over the years has gained a growing popularity. The overall total of competitors for this National Masonic Shooting Championship was confirmed as 88 of which 7 were Ladies and 1 Junior.
Referee/Scorers and participants were then taken through the necessary briefs ahead of the competition start by Supervisor Lawrence Alston.
Support for this competition was gratefully provided by Helen Dodd who manned the First Aid facility, Score Checking was carried out by Joyce Brereton, Julie McClements, Liz Preston and Julie Woods.
In attendance was a long list of dignitaries supporting this key annual event which included the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Mark Francis Matthews, V W Bro Brian Saidman PAGSwdB [Chairman NAMCSS], PAGM London GMet R W Bro Roger Wilkes DepPGM Suffolk, V W Bro Chris Evans PAGSwdB, DepPGM Monmouth, W Bro Paul Reeves PAPGM Essex, W Bro Roger Wilkes PPSGW [Secretary NAMCSS].
The time arrived at 10:30am and the competition commenced with 12 stands in commission with a total of 100 birds [Clays] to be shot. One unique item of interest was that of a new stand, which was a first at any Championship, in that the shooting position was from a bench instead of standing. This style of sitting down to shoot is the predominate way that wild fowlers shoot.
At 13:15pm all 88 competitors had finished and it was then over to the scorers to collate the competitor’s data. Competitors on completion retired to the Function room for a traditional Lancashire hot pot lunch and judging by the way they tucked into their dinner, they must have been very hungry.
On completion of the validation of competitors scores the award presentation commenced with a short introductory speech by Ian Heyes followed by the introduction of the principal guest the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Mark Francis Matthews who conveyed his appreciation at being invited to this event and what an enjoyable insight and experience he had gained throughout the day. This was followed by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Mark Francis Matthews presenting charity cheques with monies raised by the WLCPSS at the various shooting events that have been supported during the past year. These amounted to a grand total of £3800 with donations to Applebee Wood Community Special School £1000 for Amazon Kindles, TLC [Teddies for Loving Care] £1000 received by Bob Olive, Miles of Smiles £1000 received by Karen Rainford, Donna Heyes Trust for Meningitis £500 received by Ian Heyes and St Patricks School, Heysham £300 received by Hannah Gregory for waterproof raincoats and wellingtons for the reception class. The calm and relaxed atmosphere was replaced by one of apprehension as the presentation of the 2023 National Masonic Shooting Championships awards loomed ahead with the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Mark Francis Matthews being called upon to present the various individual and team trophies. The Province of West Lancashire proved successful with the individual awards going to Joe Dodds [Junior], Jemma Smith [Ladies] and Jason Rhodes [Masons] David Brown of London GMet [Veteran] and John Hemmings of Monmouth [Super Veterans].
The overall team awards going to Jemma Smith, Holly Coxhead and Siobhan Warner [Ladies Provincial Winning Team] and Jason Rhodes, Jason Coxhead and Richard Dennison [Men’s Provincial Winning Team], With the Province of London G Met second with Monmouth third.
Ian Heyes further announced that the customary raffle at today’s event had raised the sizeable sum of £1290 which was a magnificent amount and thanked everybody for their contributions they had made.
The day coming to an end Ian Heyes concluded by thanking everyone for their support and hoped they agreed that the whole experience of todays was first class, had been very well organised and professionally run and further advised that next year’s National Masonic Shooting Championships are to be held by the Province of Cornwall on the 15th June 2024. Finally, he had the pleasant duty to perform, that of presenting the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Mark Francis Matthews with a bouquet of flowers for his dear lady from the WLCPSS.
Note: If there is anyone that would be interested in Clay Pigeon shooting in the Province of West Lancashire details can be provided by contacting the secretary by email [firstname.lastname@example.org].
The National Masonic Championships come home after 15 Years.
Entries are now OPEN
The National Masonic Championships, started by West Lancashire in 2002 have not been held in the 9Province since 2008. During the last years we have travelled as far a Cornwall and Norfolk with the shortest journey to Skipton in West Yorkshire. But it is now coming back to the Dolphin Clay Target Centre at Longton Near Preston.
The Dolphin hosted the competition the last time we held it in 2009. West Lancashire were granted the shoot in 2020 but had to cancel because of the Covid outbreak.
The ground is situated on farm land which was reclaimed from the adjacent salt marshes. It was originally started by the local Wildfowling club in the 1950’s with permission from Old Max Drelingcourt, the grandfather of young Max who runs it now, and who farmed the land.
Although the site is flat, they do have a 60 foot high tower and also a 30 foot tower helping them provide a good variety of target. The ground offers Sporting, 2 x DTL layouts and ABT as well as separate stands for novice tuition which they also provide. The sporting is usually 80 birds which is shot over 10 stands with the DTL and ABT running as 25 bird re-entry pool events.
The sporting layout is changed for every shoot, which they think helps keep people interested in coming back week after week and has gravel paths to all the stands. Our sporting targets probably err more towards the challenging than the softer type, though they do try to provide a balance! Normal shoots are more of a social affair than serious competition which helps to keep things light hearted and enjoyable. The ground is long established and has a good following of regular local shooters, many of whom started their clay pigeon shooting with them.
The Province of West Lancashire looks forward to welcoming Masonic shooters to the “Nationals”
|Year||Hosted by:||Venue:||Won by:|
|2002||West Lancashire||Hoghton Tower Preston||West Lancashire|
|2004||West Lancashire||Hoghton Tower Preston||West Yorkshire|
|2006||West Lancashire||Leighton Hall, Carnforth||Middlesex|
|2009||West Lancashire||Dolphin SG, Preston||Sussex|
|2010||London MetGL||E J Churchill||Surrey|
|2011||Middlesex||E J Churchill||West Lancashire|
|2012||Cornwall||Cart Ridge Landrake||Sussex|
|2013||East Kent||Greenfields Canterbury,||G Met|
|2014||Bristol||Westfields, Gloucestershire,||G Met|
|2015||Cumberland & Westmorland||The Coniston Hotel, Skipton,||West Lancashire|
|2016||Warwickshire||Adventure Sports, Warwick||Sussex|
|2017||Essex||West London Shooting School||G Met|
|2018||Surrey||Bisley London||G Met|
|2019||Suffolk||High Lodge, Hinton, Suffolk||West Lancashire|
|2021||Dorset||Purbeck Shooting School, Wareham||Essex|
|2022||Norfolk||Mid Norfolk Shooting School||Essex|
|2023||West Lancashire||Dolphin SG, Preston|
Nationals-23 Entry Form available download here