Rifle Club

The Rifle Club is run by the Watsonian FP Club which provides qualified coaches for members. The Club coaches members in self-discipline, concentration, self-motivation and the ability to be competitive.

The FP Club includes several International shooters, including Commonwealth Games medal winners and a former World Junior Champion who freely pass on their advice and experience to School Club members.

The School Club boasts many Scottish and British Junior Champions. New members are invited to join in September, at the beginning of the winter indoor season.

The main intake is from S1 and S2 although applications are accepted from all years. Club equipment is, undoubtedly, the best of any rifle club in Scotland allowing members to achieve a high standard without investing in expensive equipment.

Recent News

Session 2018/19

Lothians' Champions

The new Lothians Ladies' Champion is Isabel Stark (S6) who won a very tight final on a re-gauge of the targets. Neasa O’Connell (S5) had a more comfortable win in the Lothians Junior Championship.

In the Inexpert A Class, David Lee (S2) finished in 1st place with Jack Glen (S6) in 3rd place. In the B section, Conor Haughney (S2) finished in 3rd place.

Isabel and Neasa represented Lothian in the National County Team Women’s League. They made a significant contribution to the success of the Team in winning their Division.

The Teams for the Scottish Schools' International Match were announced in the last report. Scotland finished second to England and ahead of Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Isabel was equal top scorer from all the Teams with an excellent 199 ex 200.

Session 2017/18

The Scottish Air Rifle Championships were held this year in the sports hall at Napier University. The event attracted competitors from all of the Home Countries and from Norway. Isabel Stark (S5) had an excellent day winning the Silver Medal in both B Class and the Women’s Junior Final. In her first major competition Neasa O’Connell (S4) won the Bronze Medal in the Women’s Junior Final. The investment in Air Rifle kit two years ago , with the help of the Thrift Shop , is paying dividends.

The winner of the Lothian’s Junior Championship (smallbore) was James Topley (S5) beating Isabel and Neasa by one point. Lucy Richards (S2) was placed third in the Inexpert A Class and in B Class first , second and third places were won by Jack Glen , Euan Soutar (both S5) and Sary Fagiha (S2).   

Ian Thomson

Session 2016/17

Impressive Season

The School Team has won the Strathcona Shield for the Scottish Junior Indoor Championships for the second year in succession. The win was by only one point out of 600 this year. The Team was Georgia Gooch (S6), Robin Shand (S6), Isabel Stark (S4), Sam Coates (S4), Magnus Carswell (S4), Fraser Sutherland (S6) and Aidan Allan (S4).

The Lothians' Junior Championship was won this year by Isabel Stark with Magnus Carswell in second place. Fraser Sutherland, Aaron Donaldson and Rory Donaldson also won medals in the Inexpert Competition.

The Neil Darker School Championship was won for the second time by Georgia Gooch who was just ahead of Isabel Stark. The Handicap section of the Competition was won by Rory Donaldson (S2) with Danny Sinclair (S2) the runner-up. 

Following a very impressive season, the award for Best Improvement has been won by Neasa O’Connell.

Double for Isabel

Isabel Stark (S4) has won both the small-bore rifle shooting Scottish Junior Championship and the British U16 Championship. This is the first time that a Watson's pupil has won both trophies in the same season, in the history of the Club.

She continued her excellent performance by travelling to Wigan and winning her Class in the 50m Open Shoot. 

The Scottish Schools' Teams for the Home Countries International Match were selected recently. The A Team includes Georgia Gooch, Robin Shand (both S6) and Isabel and the B Team includes Magnus Carswell and Sam Coates (both S4).

The Watsonian Rifle Club Open Competition was held in December. We had the largest entry for many years, which is encouraging. Several pupils were successful. Rory Donaldson (S6) won E Class in his first open competition. Robin Shand won the U18 Junior Trophy and Neasa O'Connell (S3) won the U15 Trophy.

Scottish Squad Promotions

Following the Squad Selection Meetings, Georgia Gooch (S6) has been promoted from the Scottish Junior Squad to the Fast Track Squad, which sits just under the Scotland A Squad and is part of the Scottish High-Performance Squad. She is now being coached by an Olympic Coach from Norway.

Isabel Stark (S4) has joined Robin Shand (S5) in the Scottish Junior Squad.

Georgia, Robin and Isabel represent Lothian in the County Teams and have been joined this season by Magnus Carswell (S4) and Aidan Allan (S4).

Session 2015/16

Georgia Gooch (S6) won five trophies and a special medal at the Scottish Outdoor Championships. She also won the silver medal in the Scottish Junior Championship and the Trophy for the top Scottish resident. Neasa O'Connell (S3) won the Scottish Junior U15 Championship. Georgia, Robin Shand (S6) and Magnus Carswell (S4) won the Scottish Junior Team Championship. Steven Brown (Class of 2016), Georgia and Robin won the Robin Levack Trophy in the 50m Team Championship.

At the Scottish 50m Championships, Steven won the Men's Junior Championship and Georgia won the Women's Junior Championship beating several members of the GB Junior Squad.

In the British Championships, Isabel Stark (S4) won the Silver medal and Robin won in his class. Our team – Georgia, Robin and Isabel – were placed second.

Steven was part of the team that won the bronze medal in the men's prone event during Junior International Week at Bisley. Georgia was selected to represent GB Juniors (team of 10). She was also selected to represent the GB Schools' Team and has been invited to compete in the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Championships.

Prize winners

Daniel ‘does the double’, May 2014

Following his win in the Scottish Junior Outdoor Championship Daniel Gutteridge (S6) has won the Scottish Junior Indoor Championship. It is a very rare occurrence for someone to win both in the same season.

The School team – Daniel Gutteridge and David Lee (both S6), David Virgo and Rebecca Scott (both S5), Steven Brown (S4), and Georgia Gooch and Fraser Sutherland (both S3) – has won the prestigious Strathcona Shield for the top school/cadet team in Scotland. They also won Division 5 of the British Schools’ U18 League.

Steven Brown had individual success winning the Lothians’ Junior Championship.

The internal Club competitions were all closely fought this season. Daniel Gutteridge won the Neil Darker School Championship beating Georgia Gooch into second place. Robin Shand (S3) won the Handicap Competition, shot concurrently with the Championship. Stephen Brown was the clear winner of the Best Improvement Trophy and Finlay Taylor (S3) won the trophy for the Best Beginner from a competitive and enthusiastic group of beginners.

Fraser Sutherland, Rebecca Scott, David Lee, Daniel Gutteridge and Robin Shand won monthly medals.

National Success for Rifle Club, March 2014

Our U15 team – Georgia Gooch, Fraser Sutherland, Robin Shand (all S3) and Harry Sanderson (S2) – was awarded the Roderick Salmon Memorial Trophy when they won the U15 Junior Winter Competition. It is more than 10 years since a Watson's team won this trophy.

There have also been successes in local competitions.

At the Balerno and Currie Open, Daniel Gutteridge (S6) won C Class and Steven Brown (S4) was second in D Class. Daniel also won the Junior Competition, with Steven winning the silver medal.

The Watsonian Rifle Club Open Competition attracts competitors from all over the country and is very competitive. Several pupils had successful scores including Steven Brown, who won the D Class, with David Virgo (S5) coming third. Robin Shand was the winner of E Class, with Fraser Sutherland runner-up. Georgia Gooch won the Stewart Cup for the U15 Competition, with Robin Shand runner-up. Our A Team had a very close match finally winning the Junior Team competition over Merchiston Castle by only 3 points out of 1800. The team members were Daniel Gutteridge, David Virgo and Georgia Gooch. 

Three Championship Trophies

During the 2012/13 summer holidays, six pupils attended the Scottish Outdoor Championships at Lauder. Daniel Gutteridge, David Virgo, Steven Brown, David Lee, Georgia Gooch and Rebecca Scott experienced a major championship for the first time. Lack of experience did not prevent the shooters from having a successful week, winning three trophies. Daniel won the Scottish Junior U18 Championship, Steven won the Scottish Junior U15 Championship and the team of Daniel, Steven and David won the Scottish Junior Team Championship.

The outdoor season if finished for this year so this term we are back in the indoor range.

November 2012

Results in from the British Schools' Smallbore Rifle Association Autumn leagues show that George Watsons U18 team of Jack Sime, Ross Newell, Daniel Gutteridge, David Virgo and Michael Stainton are currently in 1st place, with three more rounds of competition to go it is all to play for.

The U15 team of Georgia Gooch, Claire Baker, Rebecca Scott and Steven Brown are currently 2nd within their league, with very few points separating 1st and 2nd place and two rounds of competition remaining a continued strong performance from each team member will make for and interesting final.

The School Club was formed in 1970 when the Combined Cadet Force was disbanded

Until that time there was a long tradition of target shooting through the CCF, using Army issue equipment and focussing on small-bore shooting during the winter and full-bore shooting in the summer months. The highlight of the year was the annual trip to Bisley to compete in the British Schools' Full-bore Championship.

From 1970 onwards the Club focussed on small-bore and shoots in the original cadet range which was built in 1935. Upgrades have provided a modern and comfortable facility with eight firing points. The main competitions are indoor leagues against other clubs and schools during the winter and we encourage members to shoot outdoor in the summer. All members are encouraged to shoot competitively.