Sharp shooters reap the spoils

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2022
Ashburton Cadet Unit staff sergeant May Penjulie, left, accepts the South Island ‘The Victory Trophy’ shield from New Zealand Cadet Forces South Island area advisor staff sergeant Carl Ahradsen.
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Ashburton Cadet Unit has taken possession of the coverted Ranfurly-Shield of shooting – ‘The Victory Trophy’ – a South Island-wide trophy for Canterbury Defence Cadets.

They also have the New Zealand Gunson Challenge Trophy. It was recognition of their victory in sharp shooting competitions late last year involving all three cadet corps nationwide – army, air and navy.

Ashburton Cadet Unit’s major Cezarne Rodgers said the unit had three teams entered in the national shooting competition, eventually won by her unit’s Gunson team A.

‘‘Team A actually took out the Gunson trophy which is the top shooting trophy for the cadet corp across New Zealand, and also were in the running, and took out, the South Island title,’’ she said.

Ashburton Cadet Unit lance corporal Ashleigh Clarke accepts the national Gunson Challenge Trophy from New Zealand Cadet Forces South Island area advisor staff sergeant Carl Ahradsen.

‘‘The South Island one (The Victory Trophy) is for the top unit in the South Island.’’

It was added bonus to beat Air Training Corps No.17 (City of Christchurch) Squadron for the South Island title. The city unit came second.

It was ‘‘awesome because the weekend before we shot at the same time on the same range with them, and so there was a little bit of rivalry between us and 17 Squadron’’.

They had squared off with their best shooters and the team score had ended in a dead draw, she said.

It was considered a great victory then to have taken the win the following week.

New Zealand Cadet Forces South Island area advisor staff sergeant Carl Ahradsen, based at Burnham, presented the two trophies to the unit during a recent Thursday’s training.

The South Island ‘The Victory Trophy’ shield was accepted by staff sergeant May Penjulie and the pure silver Gunson Challenge Trophy by lance corporal Ashleigh Clarke.

The shield which dates back to at least 1908, has been won many times by teams from Ashburton, including Ashburton High School in 1913, and since then Ashburton College and Ashburton Cadet Unit.

Major Rodgers has laid down a challenge to this year’s cadets saying it was ‘‘great work by those people who were in the (winning) shooting team … let’s see if we can hold on to both of these (titles) this year.’’

The unit, which celebrated its 135th anniversary last year, is keen for new members aged from Year 9, or aged 13 who may be interested in the armed forces as a future or who enjoy the outdoors, target shooting, first aid, navigation, and seeking to further develop self-discipline, confidence and teamwork.