History of the Club.
Torfaen Rifle Club, was formed early in 1983.
The purpose and main aim of the club was to obtain a suitable piece of land to build an outdoor 50 metre shooting range incorporating .22 and air weapon ranges.
A lot of research and effort was put in to try and achieve our goal.
The original membership was drawn from local clubs, South Wales Switchgear, Cwmbran and Spencer Works who all knew of the need of an outdoor facility. Although it must be said that the majority of the membership came from the parent club ICI Fibres Pontypool.
When ICI Fibres closed the sports and social complex, including the indoor shooting range, the priorities of Torfaen Rifle Club had to be changed to find an alternative shooting range.
Finance is a major factor in any club, I can remember the final meeting of ICI Fibres rifle club when all the shares of the assets was given out, £31 issued to each member. We all accepted our cheques, trooped up to Paul who was our first Treasurer and handed it straight over. This was the financial base of the club.
At this time we travelled back and fore to the Army camp at Cwrt-y-Gollen near Crickhowell, in wind, rain and snow.
The Sports and social complex was closed and became a local Country Club. Builders, wanting to install snooker tables had destroyed the original shooting facility, and then found that they didn’t have the necessary headroom.
The New owners (at a cost of £1,000) agreed for us to use the old indoor range. We then had to gut, rebuild and re-licence the range, at our own expense.
Unfortunately, it was only a short-lived home as the Country Club went bankrupt after only 18 months and in May 1987 we were homeless again.
This was the most important 18 months in the club’s history. It galvanised the club, Gwent Police rifle club and new members joined us,
We were successful in National competitions and had a strong nucleus to drive us on.
In order for the Club to survive, arrangements were made to share/borrow facilities at:
South Wales Switchgear Rifle Club, Blackwood.
Invicta Rifle Club, In Avonmouth, Bristol.
Not a satisfactory situation, but at least the Club survived whilst the search for a permanent indoor range was undertaken.
It was the negotiations with Torfaen Borough Council that provided us with a new home underneath the grandstand at Pontypool Park. The range was constructed mainly by members and with the help of local industry, Torfaen Borough Council, The Sports Council for Wales and the National Smallbore Rifle Association.
This took the best part of two years to construct also battling on with the shooting side of things, as we were still competing in national and individual competitions.
The range was opened in December 1990, and provided us with a secure home on which to build our membership.
In its first year, with sixteen founder members, Torfaen Rifle Club achieved a standard that has since been built upon during its history.
The first year‘s achievements included members winning:
The Welsh Short range Individual Championship.
The Welsh Long range Individual Championship.
The Scottish Short range Individual Championship.
Also two junior members represented the Welsh Schools team in the British Schools International match.
With increasing membership and the club winning the prestigious Spooner cup at the National Championships at Bisley 1985, the club really started its forward thrust for success.
The following winter the club won its first Welsh league championship.
The summer saw Club members in Scotland for the Commonwealth Games, where both members brought home a bronze medal to the club. With the Club Captain guiding us, in the leagues of 1986/87, the club shot the first of our British record scores and won silver medals in both the News of the World (team of six) and Boroughs and Watts (team of four). This year also saw all the teams winning awards.
Within the 24 years the club has been at our home at Pontypool Park it has increased its membership in a range that now allows rifle shooting, in the prone, three positional positions, air weapon shooting and for a time pistol shooting.
The growth resulted in nearly thirty team entries per shooting season. (Plenty of work for the Club captain?).
During this time the club has won many National Team Honours including:
British Team of 4 championships (three times).
British Team of 6 championships shot at Bedford.
British Team of 8 Championships.
Cities and Boroughs (representing the County Borough) three times, team 10 and 8 with a record score .
Cities and Boroughs runners up four times.
Ladies British league Championship Div one. (Three times).
British league championships all the top divisions including division one.
British record scores.
Wales and Mon. Div one twenty three times, plus Div two, three and four.
There are so many achievements, too many to fully list;
British Indoor and Outdoor Champions. (Three positions and prone).
Welsh Champions. Indoor and Outdoor.
British Team members.
Commonwealth Gold Medallist.
Welsh Commonwealth Games Medallists.
Members competing all around the world at Edinburgh, Auckland, Victoria, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpa, Sydney, Melbourne and again Auckland.
We also run one of the best attended 50m outdoor club open meetings in Britain. Our April 2017 at Long Ashton, Bristol was attended by 91 shooters representing 31 clubs. These events are all shot on electronic targets.