BANBRIDGE Gun Club was the venue for arguably the biggest DTL event in the Northern Ireland calendar, the Ulster Open and Novice championships.
Conditions at the ground made for a blustery day with the occasional shower proving tough obstacles for the shooters yet there were plenty of impressive scores to be shot.
On the whole the scores across the board were good; Artie Griffith leading the pack early on with a score of 100/296. In the end he was pipped by Banbridge’s own Gordon McDowell who shot a fantastic 100/298 which for long periods of the day looked like it would be enough to claim the silverware. Rathfriland’s Enoch McCauley came close, but fell short with 98/292.
The Ulster Open was, in the end, to be decided with a shoot-off. David Henning, who previously in the day had been victorious in the Ball Trap discipline, winning the Melvin Simpson Memorial Cup, had been in sparkling form yet again and matched McDowell’s 298, forcing a head-to-head between the pair.
A tense shoot-off in the rain was to follow but junior Henning’s form held as McDowell fell to a mistake, meaning the Kilkeel shooter took the silverware back over the mountains. With this win Henning also took home the cup for junior high gun of the day, meaning a trophy haul of three for the ever-improving junior.
The Ulster Novice championship was also up for grabs. Once again it was the junior shooters who stood out. The in-form Mark Henning led the pack for most of the day, shooting 98/287 in some tricky conditions.
However on the last squad it was Andrew Charleton, another junior, who was raising eyebrows. Charleton finished with a score of 98/291 which proved enough to take the win; yet more silverware heading to Mourne as the juniors continue to impress among the shooting circuit.
Badges were up for grabs for class winners, making for tight competition among the shooters.
Final class places were as follows: Ulster Open winner – David Henning. Ulster Novice winner – Andrew Charleton. AA Class - 1st, Gordon McDowell; 2nd= Mark McKeown and Artie Griffith. A Class - 1st, James Connor; 2nd, Aaron McDowell; 3rd, Damien Corvan. B Class - 1st, P Saunders; 2nd, Paul Quinn; 3rd, Ian Griffiths. C Class - 1st, Andrew Charleton; 2nd, Mark Henning; 3rd, Gary Harkness.