Another medal in the collection
Thursday, 20th March, 2014
By Ethan James
Clay target shooter Darryn Nicholls knows more than most that becoming world champion can be decided by the slimmest of margins.
The Broken Hill sharp-shooter recently returned from New Zealand after competing in the 2014 World Down the Line Championship at a range near Hamilton.
Having claimed the 2010 championships in South Africa, Nicholls was chasing his second world title.
He was on top in Cape Town following a ‘shoot out’ but fell just short of repeating the achievement is time, finishing with bronze.
Nicholls was in a prime position to capture gold but an error on day three hurt his chances.
He had a near-perfect record heading into the final day but dropped three points when he made the uncharacteristic error of missing the target with both shots.
That one mistake proved the difference.
“I ending up missing out on the world championship by just one point,” he said.
“It’s a little bit disappointing... I thought I had it in the bag.
“But overall I can’t complain too much - it’s still third place.”
Tied for second place, Nicholls then had a ‘shoot off’ with an English competitor to decide the final standings.
It again went down to one target where a miss on the first barrel proved costly.
“I used one more second barrel than him, so finished with the bronze medal,” Nicholls said.
New Zealand’s Vance Butcher, a relative unknown in the sport and a garage door technician by trade, won the trophy on his home territory.
Nicholls said the conditions at the Waikato Clay Target Club were some of the most difficult he had experienced.
“The weather was good but the background was exceptionally difficult,” he recalled.
“There was a corn field behind the range and then tall pine trees sticking out behind that. Basically, a good background is one clean surface.
“The targets were also coming out at a different angle and were a lot faster than here in Australia.
“I think it brought a lot of shooters undone... you really had to concentrate and give one hundred per cent for every shot.”
In the week before the world championships, he also competed in New Zealand nationals at the same venue and won the gold medal.
“It was basically the same field as the world championships... so it was a tough, competitive group as well,” Nicholls said.
“I also won a mini-championship there as well.”
Nicholls’ next challenge is the National titles in Wagga Wagga next month.