Scottish Southern Counties Association: The origins of the Scottish Southern Counties Association
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Origins & Evolution
The Field Day
The origins of the SSCA go back many years, and it evolved into that from two preceding organisations.
The earliest known reference is on a trophy entitled ‘Berwickshire Miniature Rifle Association, League Challenge Shield presented by subscribers to the Association in 1912’. Records have been lost in the intervening years but we do know that that Association changed its name to ‘Border Rifle League’ in 1961, and in 1997 it again changed its name to ‘Scottish Southern Counties Association’. Its catchment area expanded from the former traditional Borders counties of Berwickshire, Selkirkshire, Roxburghshire and Peeblesshire to include the ‘new’ region of Dumfries & Galloway.
That change came about to allow teams representing the area to enter the NSRA’s County Leagues. Previously, the Border Rifle League was an ineligible body to enter such leagues and there was pressure from shooters in the area to be able to shoot in County teams and the expansion of the catchment area meant that members of the Dumfries club added to the number of eligible team members. Teams were entered for some years after that until the numbers of available shooters declined in the early 2000s due to clubs closing and participation ceased, possibly in 2008.
In 2020 SSCA merged with the Lothian Smallbore Shooting Association to form the Lothian & Borders Target Shooting Association. By that time only Dumfries and Hawick remained in the SSCA area (and Dumfries actually use a range in Carlisle although most if not all of its members reside in Scotland) so it made sense for them to be able to join a larger body. This now means that shooters resident in the former SSCA area are again eligible to shoot in County teams but this time under the LBTSA banner.
There used to be smallbore rifle clubs all over the Borders area in the past but the clubs at Duns, Gretna, Sinclairshill, Grantshouse, Longformacus, Gala, Eyemouth, Westruther, Nenthorn, Reston, Gordon, Leitholm, Oxton, Kelso and Earlston are long gone. There may well have been others (including Cummersdale and Carlisle Railways just over the border). Berwick RBL, Lauder, Jedburgh RBL, Selkirk, Dumfries and Hawick, were the later survivors, with only the latter two still running at time of writing. Lauder merged into Selkirk which then merged into Hawick after Selkirk were summarily turfed out of their range in 2016. It was in the basement of a school and the writing had been on the wall for some time but they had managed to stave off previous eviction notices.
Berwick Royal British Legion RC (to give it its Sunday name) was the dominant club for many years until it closed its doors for the last time in about 2016. In their heyday they were hard to beat in the winter and summer leagues and also at the Field Day, where they regularly won the team competition and its members won many of the individual competitions over the years.
(The Site Administrator would like to thank Michael Middlemiss for providing additional information for this article)