Craig Simpson and Wendy McMaster toppled defending champions Nicholas Chen and Aliana McMaster, respectively, to take the top spots at the Rangers Gun Club Sporting Clays Classic at the Tru-Juice complex in Bog Walk, St Catherine, on Sunday.
Simpson posted his highest-ever sporting clays score with an almost-perfect scorecard of 97 out of a possible 100 after dropping just one bird each on stations two, four and 14.
"It's been a tough year [as I] been struggling with a lot of things — mentally, technique, all of those things — but as usual [I kept] at it and everything came together today. It was 18 stations, first [time] we have ever seen that here. The targets were technical even though there was something there for everybody. It was all about who was able to maintain the focus and I knew that. I saw the targets, I knew that it was a high score course and I was able to just keep the mind on the job at hand and thankfully the 97 is looking good," said Simpson.
Roman Tavares-Finson was second with 95.
Wendy McMaster scored 82 to win the ladies category ahead of her main challenger, daughter Aliana. She attributed the secret to her win this time to staying out of the heat as much as possible, keeping hydrated and sticking to the game plan by focusing on her shooting only while on the course.
"I am very happy. I had a good day today shooting the targets. I found a secret last week and I tried it out today and it really worked well, so I am really happy that I ended up in the eighties," she said.
Aliana McMater was just three shots back on 79 in second place, while Lori Ann Harris was third with a score of 77.
The top three shooters in the various classes were: A Class — Chad Ziadie 94, Christian Sasso 93 (L/R), Ian Banks 93 (L/R); B Class — Najeeb Haber 87, Brandon King 82, Aliana McMaster 79; C Class — Ramon Pitter 83 (S/O), Ricky DuQuesnay 83 (S/O), Eddie Depass 83; D Class — Zachary Chin 87, Justin Samuda 85, Kashka Jones 80; E Class — Lenin Thompson 81, Max Williams 80 (L/R), Luke Chin 80 (L/R); Hunters or Beginner — Lori Ann Harris 77, Stephen Silvera 75, Leanne McMaster 74; Ladies — Wendy McMaster 82, Aliana McMaster 79, Lori Ann Harris 77; Juniors — Roman Tavares-Finson 95, David Wong 89, Mark Desnoes 87.
Several placements were decided by long run (L/R) based on who performed better on pre-determined stations. There was an exciting shoot-off (S/O) to decide on the C Class winner after three shooters scored 83 each. Ramon Pitter and Bruce Duquesnay challenged each other and they scored six of the eight targets on the first station, but Pitter got five while Duquesnay bagged three on the second station to top the C Class.
A massive field of 138 shooters battled extremely hot and sometimes windy conditions on the 18-station driving course. They faced targets of varying types including true pairs (birds launched at the same time), rabbits (birds released on the ground), birds in the air released at different speeds and directions as well as some targets released over gentle flowing streams on the flush green course.
The Jamaica Gun Club team of Chad Ziadie, Bruce Duquesnay, Nich Chen, Michael Handal and Stephen Silvera won the team competition ahead of Driftwood Gun Club, Rangers Gun Club and Trelawny Gun Club.
The lead sponsor was Sterling Asset Management while Worthy Park Select was gold sponsor with support from several 'station' sponsors.
Gordon Clarke, president of Rangers Gun Club, praised the support that the event received from stakeholders. "The community for sporting clay is a very lively one. A lot of new young shooters have come into the sport. A lot of responsible gun ownership has taken place and its just amazing that we can have a really good sporting competition. Of course the hunting clubs of which Rangers is a hunting club gets involved and we just drum up the support. We have gotten a lot of support from sponsors, from members of the gun clubs and the sporting clay community," he said.
Part-proceeds from the event will be donated to the Food for the Poor.