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7 months ago

Versa: Issue One

Versa is a biannual publication and will be published every autumn and spring term. Versa will replace the former magazine, OA Bulletin and will offer a comprehensive insight into the many facets of alumni life.

20 OA Rifle Club OLD

20 OA Rifle Club OLD TRICKS new tricks by Andrew Wilkie (OA 1965) SHOOTING AT 300YRDS Well, we’re still here and in a low key understated sort of way, flourishing. We hear from others at Bisley that we are actually one of the better off Old Boys’ organisations thanks largely to the School’s continued support and the elevation of shooting to a School sport. The even better news is that the new Maths building includes a basement range and has been given the go ahead by planners. There will of course be a disrupted period during construction but the future is looking positive indeed. Our Herts Rifle League winter season 2016/17 (Division 2, Team 4) resulted in our finishing fourth (ex6), not bad for such an unusually elevated division and it shows we held our own against declared averages. Our final position belies some very good scores; clearly the challenges of range closure put the team on its mettle. Martin Warr spent the season shooting for the Herts County Rifle Team. Congratulations to him. With his current average he should have another season of county shooting ahead in 2017/18. Keep up the good work. I’m not so sure my own average will have the same result in Dorset but it looks like I might get a go at the new NSRA County Veterans competition seeing as I’m over sixty; ten years over! Herts Rifle League summer season 2017 (Division 2, Team 4) was a similar story but this time the damage was done in the early rounds and we ended up in fifth place. Not too shabby but could do better. Priscilla and John Simmons both had success at the NSRA Bisley Open Meeting in August. The annual Coles Trophy match against the School took place on 30th June. The result was a close win for the School with Macrae handicap scores of 400.076 to the school and 399.987 for the OAs. Congratulations to the School team. Owen Simmons has dusted off his contacts list and called for competitors for this year’s BSSRA 25-yard competition. If you would like to take part then please let him know (contact details at the front). Our team for the winter 2017/18 (Division 2, Team 4 – again!) season comprises: : Andrew Wilkie 97.0 Andrew Moore 93.4 Martin Warr 97.4 Nick Tubby 93.8 Kris Gruber (Reserve) Full bore shooting kicked off on 1st April this year with a practice shoot at 600yds. A week later we shot the short range Q Match at 500 & 600yds, coming fifth out of six teams. Not one of our better performances given the early practice but shooting was disrupted by the delays getting target frames in place and by painfully slow marking. More delays followed during our match against the Old Lawrentians. This time we came second as expected with 458.24 against 466.36. The plan was to have a practice shoot at 1000yds before the Long Range Q match at 900 and 1000yds. Yours truly duly booked targets and then disappeared off to Australia for six weeks. Well thanks to the electronic booking system the team arrived at Bisley to find they were booked in at 1100yds. We don’t have kit to shoot at this distance so after much discussion they were offered an electronic target at 300yds (See photo). This summer Alun Lewis turned his wordsmithing talents to shooting, updating the NRA Facebook page during the Queen’s Final at Bisley. Tech savvy at 70, a new trick for an old dog. I wonder can you get a tingle from a lekky bone? At the time of writing we have just shot our last full bore event of the season The Arnold Cup match. First presented in 1936 the competition was balanced 32 to Alleynians and 31 to us with

21 three ties (66 matches). This year the match was shot 2 & 7 at 300 and 600yds. I am delighted to report that we won with a score of 272.29 against 250.16 to the Alleynians. Congratulations to all on levelling the overall total at 32 each and completing a run of five successive wins for the Old Albanians. The match was followed by our annual dinner in the London Middlesex where we were hosts to the Alleynians team and their partners. Club kit is available for all disciplines so if any of you would like to relive the excitement of corps camp or that first shoot on the School range, the opportunity is there. The grey hair count is still high and we need to keep working on reducing it. So go on – you know you want to! GONE FISHIN’ by Geoff Cannon Notwithstanding our declining membership, we have continued our activities visiting local rivers and lakes around St Albans. Outings have been organised to Derbyshire, fishing the River Wye for wild brown trout and some members visited Galway, having degrees of success with trout and salmon. Our long weekend in Norfolk was a great trip, fishing the River Yare, a carp lake and a trout fishery nearby. Lots more outings are planned for the future and we would welcome any new members who wish to come along. If you’re interested, please contact Geoff Cannon via the details at the front of the magazine. OA CRICKET Club by Richard Morgan (OA 1979) OACC has had another excellent season on the pitch this summer with two promotions in our four sides. The 1st XI was captained this year by Alex Goldstone and played its third year in Division 1 of the Herts League after the two successive promotion seasons of 2013 and 2014. Without any star players or spectacular individual performances, a really good all round team effort by a small and dedicated squad of first-team players resulted in eight wins, two draws and six losses in the campaign and a creditable sixth place at the end of the season. Our 2nd XI spent a long time at the top of Division 6A but were pipped to the championship by London Colney in the penultimate game of the season. They finished in second place and were promoted to Div 5B for 2018. So that is two promotions in three years for Ghulam Rasool’s team. The 3rd XI, led by veteran Tariq Hassan, were allconquering in Division 10A, winning all but one of their league games, ending the season unbeaten and top of the division by a very large margin. They are promoted up to Div 9A next year. Another veteran and OA, Tom Preest (OA 1988), hit his first century for the Club after 20 years of trying, against Boxmoor on 27th May and promptly retired hurt 100, not out! We have successfully introduced a number of very good players from our thriving Junior Section into the senior teams over the last two or three years and that continues this summer with 14 to 17-year olds playing and contributing substantially in our 3rd and 4th XIs. This was the case particularly in the 4ths, captained by Simon Bates with great enthusiasm to third place in their division, just missing out on promotion this year. The Junior Section, led again with great vigour by Alison Curran, had another good season with boys and girls from age 5 up to 17 playing regularly on Sunday mornings and in midweek and weekend matches from Under 9s upwards. 3RD XI CHAMPIONS However, all is not wholly positive as the Club is currently under-resourced financially and we are in need of more people to commit to running and supporting the Club so we can operate effectively in the Woollams environment; new sponsors and added income for the Club are now an urgent necessity; and we require admin support and committee leadership going forwards. We’re keen to hear from any readers who would like to support the Club, either with donations, sponsorships, becoming Vice-Presidents or indeed helping out off the pitch, and of course from any people who’d like to play for us, either regularly or occasionally. Please contact me at richard.morgan50@btinternet.com