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Thu, 20 Apr 2017

Rachel Glover and Michael Duncalf boosted their chances of being in the Isle of Man team for next year's Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast with great scores at the Easter Shoot.

The airgun events were staged at Onchan but with the added bonus of  being shot on electronic targets for the first time which allowed the overall event to be included on the British Shooting qualification calendar. A Scottish cyber army of Megalinks, transported to the Island with their minder Gavin Walker, performed flawlessly.

In the main event at St John's, another Scottish army of a different kind - the range crew and ISSF jury - assisted in making this event, which attracted a bumper entry in the 3P category, a success, despite some software glitches from the Swiss 50m Suis electronic targets in the finals.

Rachel Glover was delighted with her weekend in what is a very high-pressure event, featuring a number of Olympic shooters - Gary Duff, Karen Butler, Jen McIntosh as well as other internationals such as Jen's up-and-coming sister Seonaid.

'The prone match on Saturday had the most vicious wind I've seen at Sinclair range so it was a great confidence boost to hit a decent score,' Rachel said. 'It definitely set me up to shoot a Commonwealth MCS on Sunday in better conditions. The prone final was nerve-wracking as I had to aim off for nearly all the shots but I kept my cool and was delighted to get silver.'

That second place finish meant she was pipped to gold by Michelle Smith, coach of the Isle of Man Development Squad and who had polished off a 60-match shot qualification in a remarkable 17 minutes as the then benign weather let her race on.

Michael Duncalf had to deal with a target breakdown in the Men's Prone final which raised the blood pressure of everyone on Sinclair Range but he commented: 'I'm really happy with my both of my matches this weekend,'

Mike finished second in the final behind Mark Szymankiewicz with fellow Manxman Ben Kelly in fifth.

'Training in the lead-up to the event enabled me to improve and hone some areas of my technical set-up which in turn showed some some good form in the weeks before Easter,' he went on.

'My first match was shot in tricky conditions at the hardy end of the range. I placed third overall in my detail behind two GB athletes. My second match was not only a personal best  but also a Minimum Consideration Scores (MCS) for Gold Coast. This is the first time I've shot an MCS in a qualifying event so I am extremely happy to have shot the way I have this weekend. I'm looking forward to the season ahead.'

Over at Onchan, Seonaid McIntosh got the better of double Olympian sister Jen to win the Women's Air Rifle title. From a Manx perspective, though, the airgun events highlighted a  rich seam of talent: Kathryn Holden,  age 10 and Josh Holden, age 12.

They are the children of Nathan Holden who is a well-known face on the air pistol scene. The youngsters were entered at the last minute to help boost numbers for the pistol competition but they handed their grown-up rivals a bloody nose instead. And special mention must go to young Wesley Reed who did himself proud in his first-ever air rifle event and showed great maturity to turn down a place in the final as he felt he was a slow shooter and not confident he could match the pace of a final. He will be back, for sure and all the better for waiting.

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