Dick Horrocks – President of the English XX Club

On behalf of the English Twenty Club and its members, may I wish every success to Tom Rylands and the England Rifle Team travelling to South Africa to participate in the 80th anniversary of the South African Bisley Union Championships at Bloemfontein during March/April 2009.

This Open Meeting will prove to be of particular significance both in terms of its celebrating a long history of full-bore rifle shooting in South Africa and also because all the Home Countries will be represented. The Club is proud to be able to field such a strong England team under his leadership, which should provide the opposing teams with very stiff competition, and every chance of an English victory in the Protea Match.

Good shooting and good luck!

Tom Rylands SC – Team Captain

It is a great honour and huge privilege to be asked to captain one’s country and I am extremely grateful to the English Twenty Council for the opportunity they have given me and indeed the faith they have put in me! South Africa has always had a special place in my heart; my very first travels with a rifle were here in 1984, with a goodwill team to shoot on Hamilton Ranges. I well remember the tented accommodation and the sounds of the railway marshaling yard at night!

My memories of the competition are less good, but as an Under 25 (yes I was one once!) I remember the standard of shooting was extremely high. And that is what has continued to draw ‘shottists’ to Bloemfontein over the years. It is difficult to beat any team on their home soil, but I have always felt that shooting in South Africa against South Africa is especially so.

One of my most memorable trips was in 1993, with the Great Britain Team under Bob Stafford; in fact several members of that team will be in Bloemfontein again, as part of what will be one of the largest contingents of overseas visitors to compete at the SA Bisley. We learnt then what pride, passion and determination is generated amongst the South African Team for the Protea!

This year promises to be even more challenging and it is wonderful that each of the ‘Home Nations’, along with Australia, The United States, Channel Islands, Germany and others have sent Teams. I look forward to some very stiff competition and not a little rivalry!

I would like to express my thanks to all those people who have helped to make our trip happen. It is no mean task to organise such a large event and it has been made so much easier by the assistance we have received from SABU, its officers, and its staff.

I would like to thank our advertisers and sponsors who are acknowledged elsewhere in the brochure and particular thanks go to my Vice – Captain, Andrew Lothian and my Adjutant, Derek Lowe; both have been absolute stalwarts and kept the captain from wandering off too much! I know from experience how much ‘behind the scenes’ work is required to make a tour tick!