Sharp shooters claim gold for Queensland

With sharp eyes Queensland Target Rifle squad, captained by local Darren Enslin, came away with two golds at the National Rifle Association Teams Matches.

It was a family affair for the Apple Tree Creek local with wife Gillian and son Dean also making the team.

Held on 19-21 June, the three solid days of shooting was preceded by the National Queens Prize Championships which attracted competitors from all over the country. 

COVID restrictions saw some states pull out of the competition at the last minute but the event remained highly competitive.

While overall New South Wales proved hard to beat, Queensland managed to rob them of a complete whitewash by securing the challenging 1000-yard matches.

Darren said the team battled it out and brought home gold in the 1000 yards, securing the Neville Holt Trophy, and taking out the long-range aggregate for the Hammett Highlander Trophy.

To claim the prestigious trophies rifle shooters had to shoot off the elbow without any optical assistance, and they were put through their paces with strong winds.

Hitting a dinner plate-sized target almost a kilometre away using only the naked eye may seem impossible for most, but for the Queensland Target Rifle teammates the shots were fired and hit with relative ease.

The Apple Tree Creek trio, along with their Queensland teammates, were victorious against some of Australia’s best shooters.

“The biggest challenge at that distance are the weather conditions with different wind variants; that’s where the sporting part comes in,” Darren said.

“There was a rear fish-tail wind coming in over the right shoulder, and you need make adjustment for the different wind angles, if you are not on the ball and don’t pick up a wind change, you’ll miss the bullseye.”

He said it was no easy feat as the some of the Queensland Target Rifle team members had never competed at a state level, let alone striving for a national trophy.

“Queensland has six new caps, whereas the New South Wales team was made up of seasoned, and international shooters, with a lot of experience,” said Darren.

“They were a tough team to beat, and to knock them off at the long ranges leaves us very proud and gives us a great feeling of accomplishment.”

Darren said being in a team with Gillian and Dean was “a great feeling”.

“The big thing going for our sport is that it is inclusive, there is no segregation of age or sex, even at a Commonwealth Game level.”

It’s not the first time the Enslin family has succeeded in their sport, in 2019 they lead Australia to Gold in The World Long Range Shooting Championships.

To find out more National Rifle Association Teams Matches results click here.

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