John Matthews at the IRB Rimfire NSW Championships
John Matthews at the IRB Rimfire NSW Championships SSAA

Maclean sharp-shooter to represent Australia at World Titles

SHOOTING: Clarence Valley shooting sensation John Matthews has gained selection for team Australia after a formidable showing at the Australian Championships on the Seaham Range over the weekend.

Matthews, a member of Grafton SSAA Club, placed 5th in the International Rimfire Benchrest event which, in combination with his previous results, qualified him for the 2020 Australian B team at the world titles.

North Coast shooting legend and two time world champion John Radford said Matthews had to battle "atrocious wind conditions”.

"He didn't have a real good first day but on the second day when conditions got really bad he fought his way back. He showed true grit and shot brilliantly to get 5th place,” Radford said.

Matthews was ecstatic to claim the score that put him in contention for Australian selection.

"I was very happy with the result. I was up near the top after the first qualifier so I knew I was in for a good opportunity,” Matthews said.

The Maclean shooter will don the green and gold once again after a team gold result in Portugal in 2017.

"It's a different feeling this time, having been picked before I'm still very excited but it's all a little more down to earth. I know what to expect whereas before I was more nervous.” he said.

Radford said it's a difficult sport to make progress in due to financial restraints and a lack of coverage but he said Matthews is a shooter that could come close to his own success.

"It's hard because it's a sport that doesn't get much publicity, you have to pay your own way. There are really big costs involved and a lot of it is your own preparation and training,” Radford said.

Matthews will now begin the rigorous training routine in the lead-up to the event.

"Once you qualify things are different, I wasn't doing a lot of shooting up to this point but now I'll need to buckle down and the fun begins. I've got to find ammunition that works for me, I have some now but I'll need to find more which can be tough to do,” he said.

"I'll need to look for two or three thousand rounds for practice, it's not a matter of occasionally shooting, now I need to get really stuck in.

"The easy part is over, now the hard part begins.”

Matthews said he was thankful to have Radford around as he aims high in the years to come.

"John (Radford) has had quite a big influence on me and it's been very helpful having him around,” he said.