Sedbergh’s 1st VIII have won the Ashburton Shield, the national Schools’ championship in Target Rifle Shooting, for the first time since 1998 and the fifth time in the history of the competition.

Will Ross led the team into the competition as North-West regional champions, expecting stiff resistance from the traditional powerhouse schools of South-East England. Sedbergh posted a strong start of 254.22/280 at the first distance of 300 yards, in flat conditions which did not forgive any errors from shooters or wind coaches. They followed this at 600 yards with a demonstration of their skills and training, making a huge score of 257.12 to go ten points clear of their nearest opposition. At the final distance of 500 yards, they held on with steady shooting to submit a grand total of 761.47 out of 880. 

With only early favourites Gresham’s having declared their total of 753, there followed an agonising wait while the other teams finished and submitted their scores. Fearsome rivals’ names began appearing on the scoreboard, but none had yet managed to dislodge Sedbergh from the top. Victoria College Jersey were the last to declare, having made a blistering counterattack at the final distance in which none of their shooters dropped below 30/35. What began as a rumour was eventually confirmed and announced: Sedbergh had won the Ashburton Shield for the fifth time. 

It was a first Ashburton cap for Sarah Rorison whose tremendous score of 101.9 out of 105 was the highest on the range by a clear point. This won her both the Silenta Trophy for the top U16 shot and the Fox Quaich for the best overall performance in the competition – the third time in a row that this award has gone to a Sedberghian.

The 2nd IV followed their example to win their competition (the Schools’ IVs), completing a remarkable triple victory for Sedbergh in which we took home the 1st team, 2nd team and individual trophies. The Old Sedberghian team also contributed a respectable showing in the ‘Veterans’ match to win the Lucas Trophy for the combined efforts of past and present shooters.

Other successes over the Bisley competitions included international caps for Harry Welch, Max Pybus and Freddie Cade, who all represented the UK Cadets (equivalent to GB U18) against Canada, and for Daisy Armstrong and Angus Strudwick, who represented Scotland U18. Daisy Armstrong, Keira Butler, Freddie Cade, David Fox, Sarah Rorison, Will Ross and Angus Strudwick earned their County call-ups at senior level in the County Championship.

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