This weekend (5 May), the Rhodes University Rifle Range will once again be the venue for Eastern Province Small-Bore Rifle Association Championships. About 40 athletes from around the country are expected to compete in the various classes in one of the biggest and strongest fields in recent years.
Last year’s winner, William Reed, and runner up, Basil Human, will be up against fellow Grahamstonian and Rhodes student, Graeme Schmeldt. Schmeldt missed the EP Championships last year, but was in fine form at the National Championships earlier this year, winning a Gold, a Silver, and two Bronze medals in the B-Class. He finished fourth overall in this class and ninth overall in the Wakefield Trophy, earning his Dewar colours in the process. He then went on to represent South Africa in the Dewar postal match. Reed and Human did not compete at this years National Championships.
In the C and D Classes, for the weekend’s EP championship, Rhodes will field a strong squad. Rhodes students Michael Bertasso, Clair McNish and Ethan Sebakwane were the top Junior team at this years Nationals and are once again expected to put in a good performance at this competition.
Bertasso, who won a Gold, three Silver and two Bronze medals on his way to second overall in the D-Class of the National Championship, will unfortunately not be able to compete this weekend, but Sebakwane who finished fourth and McNish who finished sixth overall respectively in D-Class will be there.
At Nationals, these two were split by another Rhodes Rifle Club member, Annelize Connan, who finished fifth overall and won a Bronze medal in one match. They will be up against a strong squad from Victoria West as well as a hand full of other Rhodes Rifle Club members, several of whom will be competing in their first major competition.
F Class is expected to be an equally tight affair. Grahamstown locals Geoff Bagshawe-Smith (Rhodes) and Gerrit Vlok (PJO) will be up against a very competitive field. Bagshawe-Smith won a Gold, four Silvers and a Silver in the JH Briel match on his way to second overall in this class at Nationals, while Vlok won a Silver on his way to eighth overall.
They will be up against Cornelia Roodt from Mpumalanga. Roodt was the overall winner in the F Class at this year’s Nationals, winning Gold in three matches and edging Bagshawe-Smith by two points overall. The field also includes several other athletes who will want to improve on their performances at Nationals, including last years winner Calvyn Vlok.
The event is hosted by Eastern Province Small-Bore Rifle Association and starts at 9am on Saturday morning on the Rhodes University Rifle Range.