Wednesday, 22nd May, 2013
By Craig Brealey
Broken Hill clay target shooter Darryn Nicholls has won the national championships with a performance described as the best the sport had seen in almost 50 years.
Mr Nicholls scored 325 out of 325 to claim the title of Champion of Champions at the 2013 National Trap Championships held in Perth last month.
He also won three other national titles and, in so doing, equalled the record for the most overall wins by any single shooter in any one year.
“Not since 1965 when the great Warren Charlton set the benchmark has anyone been able to take home four Silver Australian Badges,” according to an article in the latest edition of Australian Clay Target Shooting News.
It was, said the sport’s official journal, “an incredible effort against high quality competition” at the championships which attracted about 500 shooters from all over the country.
Apart from winning Australia’s Champion of Champions’ crown, Mr Nicholls also claimed the titles in National Double Rise, National Double Barrel and Overall High Gun.
In the Double Barrel Championship, four shooters shot 1000 targets straight and “after a marathon record-breaking shoot-off,” Mr Nicholls took the honours with a score of 1038/1038.
His fellow BH Gun Club member, Ross Walsh, also competed in the Double Barrel and came fifth with a score of 930.
Mr Nicholls won the Double Rise by hitting 109 out of 110 targets, and his persistent high scores won him Overall High Gun - the most prestigious title of the championships.
It was the second time he had won that title. He first collected it in 2011, one year after being crowned the World Champion in Cape Town, South Africa.
Mr Nicholls, whose family has run T. Nicholls & Sons Printers in Blende Street for 113 years, said his interest in shooting started when he was a lad.
“Back when I was about 12 years old I used to go duck shooting with my father but that was only a few times a year and it wasn’t enough, so I joined the gun club to keep me happy,” he said.
The BH Gun Club had about 90 members “on the books”, Mr Nicholls said, but shift work meant that only 25 or so were able to come out for a shot at the range on the Tibooburra road.
The club holds its competition shoots generally on the second Saturday of every month although it is open every Wednesday at 3pm for practice.
Mr Nicholls, who has been the president of the club for 10 years, said he would love to see more people try the sport, particularly youngsters, and that anyone was welcome to come to practice to see what it was all about.
It is very popular in other parts of the nation and only last weekend the club held it biggest event of the year - the West Darling Championships.
Mr Nicholls said the club decided to make it special this year and they were able to offer $16,000-worth of trophies.
The result was that 110 shooters “from all over Australia” came to Broken Hill for the two-day event.