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Photo by Andrea Cosgrove


Samantha Whitcombe —

I first started rifle shooting 3 years ago in Year 7, after hearing my teacher speak about it in the school notices. I took an interest in it because I thought of it as something new and different. And also because I liked hunting.

At first, I had some difficulty as I was the youngest person to sign up, but my teacher convinced them to allow me to join. As I attended the school sessions on Wednesdays after school, one of the members of the club (William Drayton, mostly known as Bill) took notice of my commitment and grouping talent in my target cards and offered me extra shooting hours to support me to improve. 

Bill lent me his own rifle to use while practicing, and after a while he encouraged me to join the Paparua Rifle Club. Bill Drayton has helped and still helps me to this day. Denver Wren, Dean Gibbs (who have both shot for New Zealand), and Adam Pottinger, have shared with me their tips and tricks.

It’s definitely possible that I will continue Rifle shooting for the next couple of years. I wouldn’t be where I am now, winning trophies and competing in different competitions if it wasn’t for Bill Drayton.