Snowden claims Ballinger Belt

Got it at last: A delighted John Snowden claims New Zealand’s oldest sporting trophy.
ROSEMARY McLENNAN
Got it at last: A delighted John Snowden claims New Zealand’s oldest sporting trophy.

Ashburton farmer and Commonwealth Games gold medallist John Snowden won New Zealand's oldest sporting trophy, the Ballinger Belt, on Saturday.

It was Snowden's first Belt win. Snowden, who will turn 44 on January 16, was second in 2006 to Brian Carter and has finished third several times.

On Saturday he went into the 20-strong Queen's final at the top of the board, seven points ahead of nearest contender Australian Jim Bailey.

Shooting over 900 yards Bailey went some way to close the gap but Snowden's lead was too great.

Bailey finished second with Mike Collings of Te Puke third, Upper Hutt Rifle Club's Casey Goldsmith fourth, Masterton's John McLaren fifth and Collings' wife Diane, sixth.

Two years ago Snowden and Mike Collings won gold at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 1000 yards pairs, a match shot in sweltering heat and marred by malfunctioning targets and protests.

On Saturday competitors faced fish-tailing winds, after a week of challenging weather and winds.

(Live Matches)