Richard Wilson with his medals.
ISLAND shooters Richard Wilson and Matt Reed produced the goods in Jersey to help Team England to a dominant display at the Commonwealth Shooting Federation’s European Division Championship.
Richard, 47, of Queens Road, Newport, and Matt, 24, of Godshill, had both been selected to represent their country in 50m prone rifle and 50m free pistol respectively, taking on athletes from the home nations, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Richard, a seasoned pro at national and international level, had to call on all his experience and knowledge to win gold in the 50m prone rifle.
In the initial round, he finished second, three points behind Northern Ireland’s Gary Duff. But in the final he overturned the three-point deficit — a huge achievement at this level — to win gold by just 0.1 of a point.
A day earlier he and Austin Wiltshire had earned England a team silver as well, to start a great weekend.
"It was really good," said Richard. "I went into the competition on the back of a good result and I think the confidence definitely helped at the crucial moment. I knew Gary hadn’t shot many finals whereas I had, and I knew I had it in me to shoot well. And in the end, I think Team England were dominant across many of the disciplines, which is great news.
"I don’t know if I will be at the next Commonwealth Games, I just have to hope my form continues as it is now. You never know."
Matt, as a development member of the squad, was ineligible to win any medals but his performance made the selectors wish he had been a full team member, as he would have won a bronze, and his score would have combined with individual gold medal winner Adrian Sims to earn England a clear team gold as well.
Matt also took part in the air pistol event but an early fault, where he dispelled air from his pistol without a cartridge, earned him a ten-point penalty which he couldn’t claw back and he finished ninth.
"I was really pleased with how it went but I didn’t realise until I was on my way that, as a development shooter, I couldn’t win a medal. That was disappointing but I put that aside and had a good shoot, and it was a great experience.
"Next year will come round and I aim to be good enough to qualify for the full team. It’s the start of the process of becoming a Commonwealth Games athlete."