Editor’s note: Ray Gross, the U.S. Rifle Team (F-T/R) Captain provided a match report from this year’s F-Class World Championship. That's Mr. Gross holding the Richardson Trophy in the picture above.
A total of 17 countries were represented at the 2017 F-Class World Championships. Seven countries sent teams to Canada to compete in the Richardson Trophy Match―the Team World Championship for F-T/R. Six countries sent teams to compete in the F-Open Team World Championship.
The U.S. Rifle Team at a morning meeting during the match.
F-Class has two divisions―F-T/R, which is shot with a .308 Win. and bipod, and F-Open, which is shot off a rest with any caliber less than 8 mm.
Gritty Determination: F-T/R Team World Championship
The two-day team match came down to the very last yardline. The Australians were up 11 points to start the day and the Canadians were six points behind. We made up two points at 700 meters, and shot even with the Australians at 800 meters. This left us nine points down going into the final 900 meter stage.
U.S. Rifle Team member Paul Phillips.
The Aussies chose to start shooting right away in what looked like easy conditions and we waited, hoping for better. While we waited the team stayed focused. Luck was on our side, it calmed down and the shooters and coaches performed flawlessly, making up the nine points and finally pulling ahead in the last few minutes of the match.
Derek Rodgers and Steve Hardin on the firing line.
The U.S. was the last team on the line shooting and everyone was behind us watching. After two days of very close competition, the match was not decided until our last two shooters. Our final shooter started with only 12 minutes left in the match. He ended up finished his string of 15 shots in about five minutes. He only dropped two points, giving a six point victory to the U.S. team.
The U.S. Rifle Team competing in the 800 yard Richardson Match.
The team was so focused on delivering our best performance that we weren't sure how the other teams had finished. After the last shot the Australian captain came over and congratulated me. They had been watching our score and knew that we had won the match.
The team's gritty determination had paid off, making it had been one of the most exciting matches that I've ever been a part of. Everyone on the U.S. team should be proud that they did not let our slim chances discourage them going into that last yard line. They stayed focused and each delivered a top performance.