My family has a long tradition of fullbore rifle shooting with substantial links to South Africa. My Grandfather Major Tom Anstey, captained the 1953 GB Team to South Africa whilst my father, Major David Scott-Langley, was Adjutant to the 1963 GB Team. In 1993 I made my first trip to South Africa as a member of that year’s Great Britain Rifle Team. I knew at that time that we were the first officially sanctioned international sporting team to visit the country since the end of Apartheid, but I did not know that thirty years later I would be returning for my eighth SABU Meeting as Captain of Great Britain.
I am thrilled to have been appointed as the GB Palma Captain for 2024 and have been working with a large training squad for the last 2 years. The Palma Team for 2024 will comprise 25 people, and the National Rifle Association of Great Britain has afforded me the opportunity to take an enlarged GB team in 2023 to assist with that selection. I am exceedingly grateful for this opportunity, and excited by the prospect. I am ably supported by my team officers in this endeavour; Nick Tremlett (previously Captain of the GB Team to SA in 2017) is my Vice-Captain and Derek Lowe, Adjutant for the 2017 tour, is again taking up that role.
I am delighted that this year’s team has been selected from a squad which represented the wide demographic of fullbore target rifle shooting in the UK. When the oldest squad member turned 70, the youngest was still a teenager, thus the squad covered seven decades and included representatives from all four home nations. In addition to the wealth of experience of the five Queen’s Prize winners, five Commonwealth Games medallists and a former individual World Champion, I am excited to be able to include five new touring caps.
Taking a team abroad (in two consecutive years) is an expensive undertaking, even after the generous support of the National Rifle Association and their Overseas Teams Fund, and I am therefore extremely grateful to those companies and individuals who have supported the team along the way; we could not have done this without you. Equally, I will also be eternally grateful to the team member’s partners and families for their support in allowing us to tour and represent Great Britain in these important matches.
Finally, I hope that this series of matches will serve as a useful test event for the World Championships to be held in Bloemfontein in 2024, and I wish SABU every success with their planning. It will be wonderful to have so many overseas competitors from all age groups competing once again on an international stage after the last two years of pandemic.
Being selected to represent your country is a great honour accorded to few, and I know the members of the 2023 GB Team are determined to represent GB with distinction in South Africa. Good shooting and good luck to all.
Captain – Great Britain Rifle Team, South Africa 2023