the years shooting has been the Isle of Man's most successful sport at
Common- wealth level"
On the Commonwealth trail
. . .
The Isle of Man has taken part in its own right in the Commonwealth Games
since 1958, when they were held in Cardiff. It was a successful first
attempt, as well, with Stuart Slack winning the Bronze Medal in the gruelling
cycling road race.
There was an eight year wait, however, until 1966 before shooters were
included in the team. The Games were held that year in Jamaica and Ted
Corlett produced the best shooting result, finishing 9th in the 50 metre Prone
Rifle event. 1966 also saw the Isle of Man's first Gold Medal and it
came again in the cycling road race when Peter Buckley was
first across the line.
1970, in Edinburgh, saw the only occasion when the Island has followed up
with a medal in two consecutive Games, with Alex Jackson's success taking
Bronze in the swimming events. For Manx shooting, though, the 1970
Edinburgh Games were significant for another reason: they saw the last
non-shooting medal to be won by
Isle of Man athletes for 36 years!
(right) on the medal dais with gold medallist Alister Allan (Scotland)
and silver medallist Bill Watkins (Wales). Commonwealth Games,
The shooting success started in 1978 when the Games moved to Edmonton,
Alberta. It came in the 50 metre Prone Rifle event when Stewart
Watterson won Bronze. On that occasion medals were decided over the
aggregate of two 60 shot matches, spread over two days.
While there was another eight years to wait for a further Commonwealth
medal, Manx rifle shooting nevertheless received a boost
three years after Edmonton when Peter Quirk won the Gold Medal in the 1981
CSF(ED) Championships held in Scotland.
With the return of the Games to Edinburgh in 1986, the Island's shooting
sport enjoyed its first Commonwealth Gold Medal success. It came in the
clay target Skeet event, won by talented young Manxman, Nigel Kelly.
1994 saw the Games travel back to Canada, to Victoria, the capital of
British Columbia. Though no medals were won, these Games were notable for
Harry Creevy's performance in equalling the British record for 40 shots
prone. He turned in a score of 399 ex 400 in the first stage of the 3 x
40 match. Harry also reached the final of the prone event that year,
eventually finishing sixth.
Watterson & Harry Creevy (centre). New Delhi,
The following year, 1995, saw the first
Commonwealth Shooting Championships, organised by the National Rifle
Association of India and staged in New Delhi. It also saw Double Gold
Medal success for the Isle of Man with Stewart Watterson winning the
individual 50 metre Prone Rifle and then combining with Harry Creevy to repeat
the exercise in the Prone Pairs event. The achievement caused the Isle
of Man to finish 7th in the medal table, ahead of countries such as Scotland,
South Africa, New Zealand and Northern Ireland.
Two years further on and the Commonwealth
Shooting Championships were held in Lankowi, Malaysia, as a test event for the
following year's Commonwealth Games. Harry Creevy put the Island's name
in the record books this time with the Bronze in the 50 metre Prone.
It was the following year, 1998, however,
that the Isle of Man won its very first Commonwealth Games Silver Medal.
The man in the spotlight this time was Dave Moore, who fought his way through
a tense Final for his 2nd place. Close behind Dave, securing
his second successive 6th place, was Harry Creevy.
The next Commonwealth medal to come home to
the Isle of Man was won again by Harry Creevy. This time at the 1999
Commonwealth Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, and the colour again was
Bronze. The summer of 2002, however, did see Harry achieve his third
successive Commonwealth Games 50 metre Prone Rifle Final in the Manchester/Bisley
gathering. He finished 8th.
|Trevor Boyles &
David "Wilfy" Walton|
Moving on now to Melbourne,
Australia and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Things were getting tense at
the Lilydale shooting ground on the first day of competition with Australia,
Canada and India eyeing up the medals. It was the Manx pairing of Trevor
Boyles and David "Wilfy" Walton, however, who fired up Team Isle of
Man by striding in and claiming Bronze in the Mens Trap pairs event, pushing
India into 4th place. It was the Island's first Trap medal and was to
set the scene for the best ever Games.
Things were to reach fever pitch
in the Isle of Man camp two days later when exciting young cyclist Mark
Cavendish forced his way across the line at the head of the field to take Gold
on the track in the Mens Scratch race.
For the first time, the Isle of Man
had secured two medals in a Commonwealth Games.