Richard Faulds (above right) is the new English Open Sporting champion after winning a gripping super-final battle in atrocious conditions at Barbury Shooting School in Wiltshire today, Sunday 23 May.
Faulds made his intentions clear from the start, shooting as no.1 in the first squad to tackle the testing course, and posting a tremendous 112 ex 120. Faulds held the lead until late on the final day, when Richard Bunning (above left) equalled his score, earning his place in the six-man super-final.
Joining them in the super-final were Julian Freeman, Jamie Pearce and Chris Daniels. Daniels’ 109 had put him equal with Matt Hance and Phil Gray, and he won the three-way shoot-off for the last finals place.
The weather steadily worsened through the day, and the super-final was held in a stiff wind and teeming rain. Bunning started well, hitting his first 7 targets, while all the other shooters were dropping birds. By the half-way mark, it had come down to a head-to-head battle between the two Richards as they matched each other target for target.
Faulds shot first on the last stand and dropped 4 to finish on 129, leaving the door open for Bunning to step in and claim the trophy – but he couldn’t quite pull it off, missing first a single, then a pair and then one each of his final two pairs, finishing just one target behind Faulds on 128.
“With Richard [Faulds] missing all those on the last stand I thought I was there,” said Bunning. “I gave it to him on that last stand really, but that’s shooting for you. You win some you lose some. To go into the final joint high gun, I can’t complain, it could have gone either way. It’s been a good week. Congratulations to Richard, and we carry on and try again, that’s all we can do!”
Faulds was delighted to win the English Open title again. “It was nice to go round as no.1 on the first squad, and shoot it before all the rumours of the horrendous stands 10 and 15 got going on social media,” he said. “It was a great event, and hats off to Huw and Josh and everyone at Barbury. They’ve had a week of horrendous weather to deal with, but the course held up really well. They’ve done a great job.”
“Fair play to Richard [Bunning] to shoot 112 today in this weather. I had a sneak peek at the scores on the TV screen just before we shot the last stand and to be honest I think Richard gave it away on the last stand rather than me winning it. It just shows you never know what’s going to happen until the last shot is fired.”
Jamie Pearce finished up AAA high gun, Chris Daniels AA high gun, Adam Rowe took A class, Matthew Smith B class and Owen Jones C class. Amy Easeman won ladies and lady junior, Will Fenner juniors, Mickey Rouse veterans and Jasper Pearce colts.