15th National Masonic Championships 2019
The 2019 Championships were held at High Lodge Shooting Ground near Lowestoft.
This was the largest Masonic event ever held with 201 Entries, It has certainly grown since West Lancashire first hosted the competition in 2002.
A large party travelled to Suffolk for the event, 16 competitors and 5 Spectators. While most stayed in Diss others were spread over the County and if was good to see some new members of the team, veterans Derek Carr, John Wright and Bob Smith. I am sure they enjoyed their experience.
Running the largest event can have problems and Suffolk certainly had some – most of which could have been avoided. First some entries were refused because they thought the ground couldn’t cope with the numbers but the committee kindly reversed the decision to allow the masonic competitors to join in.
We were squadded in squads on 14 – yes 14 – and sent round with a ‘mentor’ usually a Provincial Grand Steward resplendent is his red collar. Then it got complicated. When the first 7 had shot they moved on to the next stand and the other 7 joined them when they had shot effectively making squads of 7.
We arrived at the first stand to find the Mentors had score cards but no names on them so valuable time was lost writing them out.
The shoot itself was interesting with a variety of targets on 15 stands. A ‘Professional referee’ on each stand should have helped but most of them were not referees and needed some guidance from the shooters. They had been provided by the ground at a considerable expense to the Province of Suffolk. The members of the West Lancashire squad, resplendent in team shirts and shooting jackets, at least most did, had mixed fortunes with some exceptional scores put in and some scores that people really wanted to forget. With such a large entry it was bound to take a long time and the organisers did a great job at keeping squads moving and everyone happy. By the time we had finished, some 4 hours after we started, we were ready for something to eat
The meal was in the well-appointed clubhouse and we were asked to sit on the table with our Squad Number on. Unfortunately, the table was for 10 people and there were 14 in the original squad. Add the fact that people wanted to sit with friends and it was just short of chaos. However, the meal at least was very nice, and very welcome, and filled in time whilst the scores were collated.
After speeches by the Provincial Grand Master Rt W Bro Ian J Yeldham and members of the Suffolk Masonic Clay Shooting Society we got round to the prize giving.
First up was Louise Jennings Hoole, Second in the Ladies Class. As only First and Second place prizes were given out Jason Rhodes missed out as he came third in the Masonic Individual Category.
Finally, we got round to the Winning Team for the West Lancashire Trophy which we provided way back in 2002.
Middlesex were second with a combined score of 264. We eagerly awaited the news that West Lancashire had won, yes, we had already worked out our own team score , 270.
Our team of Jason Rhodes, Karl Prince and Andy McClements proudly received their trophies from the Provincial Grand Master. But horror where was the Trophy? Last years winners, London G Met., had not returned it, the first time in 15 competitions that the winners failed to return the trophy. So, we have no photographs with our winning team holding the cup. It is hoped that it will be presented at the NAMCSS International Shoot in September.
Score sheets are available to download here – score sheet