Sombre farewell for Southern Counties

The final competitive shoot has been held at Southern Counties shooting ground, which has closed its doors to top-level shooting, ending the ground’s 69-year association with the sport.

Southern Counties, which has hosted an ISSF World Cup event and was one of the few Olympic-standard training centres in the UK, announced on its website that from 5 January it would no longer host shooting practice and competitions – though it would still offer lessons and have-a-go shooting for individuals and parties. The Sportsman Gun Centre outlet on site will also remain open.

The final competitive shoot at the ground took place on 4 January, won by Dave Toomer. Reporting for Clay Shooting magazine, Laura Strachan described the “sombre and subdued” atmosphere at the ground: “The layouts were already missing some unessential paraphernalia having been stripped in preparation of the closure – spotting what was missing became a macabre game.

“Love or loathe Southern Counties – and there are plenty on both sides – the closure is a colossal loss to shooting on a local scale, nationally and to the greatest degree, internationally.”

Read the full story in the February issue of Gun Trade News, out now

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