When you have reached a high level of success in any competition it is always difficult to maintain that standard; in the case of 2160 Sleaford Squadron the aim was not just to retain the title they won last year but to go one better and make a clean sweep of the 2017/18 Royal Air Force Air Cadet’s national air rifle championship.
The Air Cadet Shield competitions are held annually, starting in October they run until June, and are fired over five rounds. The Two Positional competition comprises two targets fired in the prone position and two in the keeling position. The highest possible score for each firer per round is 400. In the more challenging Three Positional competition firing two targets in the standing position is added to prone and kneeling, the highest possible score being 600.
Each year 2160 Squadron traditionally enters three teams each of three cadet firers. In the Two Positional we enter an A team and a B team, which comprises experienced and inexperienced firers respectively. In the more challenging Three Positional competition we enter one team of our most experienced firers.
This year’s 3 positional team finished in 1st place overall, a repeat of last year’s competition result. Individually Cadet Corporall Kimberly Williamson was placed second overall and won the Top Scoring Female Shield; Kimberly has since left the squadron to join the RAF. Cadet Sergeant Ali Hinton-Shereston was placed 3rd and was the second placed female. The third firer in the winning team was Cadet Sergeant Connor Wright who took over from Round three onwards as the original team leader, Dan Balicki, had left to join the services.
The 2 positional A Team had finished last year’s competition in 2nd place and with consistent performances over the five rounds secured top spot this year. With two second places, and top ten finishes in the other rounds, Cadet Warrant Officer Sam Hurry achieved 1st place individually and won the competition Top Scoring Male Shield. He was ably supported by the squadrons other experienced firers, Cadet Flight Sergeantt Phillip Balicki and Cadet Sergeant Laura Clack, who finished in the top 10.
The 2 positional B team, comprises newly qualified firers, who gain experience in competition ready for future season’s participation. They performed consistently and finished in 3rd place overall, a repeat of last year’s team’s performance. The team leader was Cadet Flight Sergeant Adam Bailey; he was supported by Cadet Sergeant Cara Clack and Cadet Corporal Brandan Jackson who improved noticeably during each round. Brandan, who has since left the squadron, was the highest scorer in Round 4 and finished in third place overall.
The Teams Coach, Civilian Instructor Martin Tokley said:- “Although the squadron has had some success in past Air Cadet Air Rifle competitions this was by far ‘our finest hour’. In addition to winning both the three and two positional competitions, and coming third in the two positional competition, we won the highest scoring female in the three positional and highest scoring male in the two positional competitions. The firers displayed self-determination, skill and a good team spirit over the 9 months of the competition
and turned in some consistent performances. It is to the credit of all the cadets who took part in the competition that we achieved what we did”.