A PURPLE patch netted James Hayden a career best run of clay target shooting state titles recently.
The 22 year-old Noorat Gun Club member won four state titles in the space of a month in early October and early November in two different states.
First he won the open Champion of Champions at the New South Wales State Trap Carnival at Wagga on October 3.
He then backed up by winning three titles at the Victorian Clay Target Shooting State Titles at Echuca on November 6.
Hayden’s four titles took his career tally to eight, an achievement he said he was proud of.
“It’s probably the most wins I’ve had in one year,” he said.
“I’ve sort of won one a year for the last three or four years and this year I’ve just had a good patch and won four.
“It’s been a bit of a surprise, I haven’t shot as much in other years but it seems to be working.”
At Echuca, Hayden competed in five events – single barrel championship, double barrel championship, points championship, double rise championship and handicap.
“I won the double rise and I won the high gun which is the best score over the five events,” Hayden said.
“I shot 339 out of 350 for the high gun and for the double rise I shot 49/50.
“Across the weekend I shot pretty consistent scores apart from the handicap.
“It was a bit windy so the scores were expected to be a bit low during the day.”
Hayden also won the team high gun title, with his efforts enough to earn him a berth in the five man state team bound for the Down the Line National Trap Championships in Wagga.
He said he was thrilled to make it once again and was set to be joined by a pair of familiar faces for what he said should be a good carnival.
“There were two other fellas from Noorat that made the team as well, Andrew Smith and Tim Kosch,” Hayden said.
“I’ve made it a couple of times but I’m pretty sure it’s their first time.
“I’ve made it the last five years (and I know what to expect) so it’ll be a little bit nerve-racking for them and a bit of a different experience.”
Hayden, Smith and Kosch will head to Wagga in March next year.
Smith and Kosch also competed at Echuca, with Smith winning the AA points championship, while Kosch was second in the AA single barrel championship.
Smith’s sister Penny was also victorious at the event, with the Bookaar shooter taking out the ladies’ single barrel championship.
Noorat’s Phil Grainger also won at the New South Wales carnival alongside Hayden.