Narrandera Clay Target Club president John Blain is “gutted” at the thought of being the last president of this 70-year-old club which is now no more.
There are a number of factors that have caused the club’s demise, including dwindling numbers of members via natural attrition.
“Members with young families have their obligations outside of the sport and older members are no longer in a position to come. It got to the point visiting shooters were outnumbering the Narrandera club members hosting a shooting event,” Mr Blain said.
Mr Blain believes the waivering fortunes of the club over the years has had a knock-on effect on Narrandera in financial terms.
“I can remember when the club was strong and at the end of the day’s shoot, Narrandera club members would invite visitors down to one of the pubs for drinks and socialising,” he said. “I guess you could add fuel meals and accommodation into that mix as well.”
As far as what he will miss the most it would be the social aspect, the chance to show hospitality to visiting shooters and the camaraderie of the local club members to get things built such as “our wonderful little club house.”
“As well as that the wonderful relationship we have had with our neighbours, the Pony Club and the racecourse, which have been very good to us,” Mr Blain said.
Whilst resigned to the fact the Narrandera club is no more, he hopes that another club might rise from the ashes.
“If we can find another site for a club to shoot at and we can find enough people to be able to comfortably fill all the necessary positions both committee wise and range wise, it would be great with the resurgence of clay target shooting to see it take off in Narrandera again.”
Mr Blain said he enjoyed playing host to visiting shooters and always took it upon himself to ensure that visitors were taken care of.
“When I went visiting another club it was my turn to relax and enjoy my shooting,” he said.
In its heyday Narrandera had 45 shooters and every weekend it held a shoot it had around 60 shooters in attendance.
“I regarded that as a yard stick for how well we were doing our jobs at the club,” he said.
Mr Blain started shooting at the Narrandera club in 1971.
“I literally got involved in the club following an invitation from a local member,” he said. “I stayed involved all those years because I got a lot of satisfaction out of my shooting and I wanted to feel as though I was putting something back into the club.”
Saddened at the demise of the club, Mr Blain is happy to see other small clubs in the district going from strength to strength.
“The Barellan club is proactive in bringing up junior shooters from their district, they have a lot of depth,” he said. “Barellan has always been very strong and Junee has put in an extra trap.
“At a recent event Junee had 30 shooters in attendance, which is a fantastic turnout for any local club.”