SCOTTISH SMALLBORE RIFLE ASSOCIATION
HALL OF FAME
Donald is a versatile shooter and has represented Scotland many times at prone, 3-positions and air rifle. He is currently ranked fourth on the all-time list of caps, which is due only, he says, to making himself available for any and all matches when called upon. This implies that his services were called upon quite a lot, and it says something for his dedication and love of the sport that he seldom refused the call. He has won Gold Medals at two Commonwealth Shooting Federation Championships, but was disappointed not to win a medal at his only Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002.
His versatility is emphasised by the fact that he has been Scottish Champion at all three ISSF rifle disciplines and is the only Scottish male shooter to have represented Scotland at all four NSRA Home Countries internationals in the same year (2 prone plus 3P and air rifle)
Donald came from a shooting family as his father was a member of the Elgin Miniature Rifle Club and was also the Secretary of the Moray & Nairn county association. Donald was frequently drafted in to help his dad run county shoots before he was even old enough to hold a rifle, but would get to fire ten shots with his dad's rifle off a sandbag at the end of the day. He started prone shooting for real in 1978 at the age of 12 at the Elgin club using a BSA 12/15 for a few years, progressing to his father's old BSA Mk II which he used until going to Edinburgh University in 1984. His very last card shot at Elgin before that was his very first 100!
Donald started shooting air rifle in about 1981 while still at Elgin under the supervision of the late, great Peter Sneddon, who helped him very much and was the first one to show him that there was a world beyond the local leagues and internal competitions shot at Elgin, and also introduced him to this crazy thing called 3P. Using a very thin Tucker jacket, jeans and trainers, and being thin and scrawny (difficult to believe now!) success did not come early, but on joining the Edinburgh University Rifle Club the fact that he had shot standing before meant that he was encouraged/cajoled/bullied by established 3P and air rifle shooters Simon Riley and Cliff Ogle into getting more involved. His first visit to the Scottish Air Rifle Championships in 1985 was an eye-opener and made a big impression.
With more arm twisting he took up 3P in 1986 more seriously, and he was quickly invited to join the Scottish Development squad. Shooting at Edinburgh University, and helping to create EU Alumni, in the mid/late 1980s was an amazing experience for him. The University club was totally dominant on the British Universities scene, and he Captained the team for an unbeaten season in 1987/8. Cliff Ogle had shot at his first Commonwealth Games in 1982, then again in 1986 and Donald was surrounded by talented, enthusiastic and passionate people who really believed that they could become international performers. Many did exactly that - from that original group Bill Murray, Gordon Winch, Shirley Smith (whom Donald was to marry), Tricia Littlechild and John Oliphant all went to Commonwealth Games, and some beyond that to World Cup, European & World Championships in coming years, as did later arrivals such as Martin Sinclair, Lynda Marlow and Susan Jackson, many of them returning with medals. He was destined to join this elite group himself.
Donald (or "Mac" as he was universally known then, to distinguish him from the two other Donalds in the club) attended his first Scottish Meeting at Lauder in 1986, commuting daily from Edinburgh and admits to drinking far too much beer every evening. He missed the Earl Haig final because of a cross shot in the first stage, but was part of the EU Alumni team that won the Pullar Targe for the Scottish 50m Team Championships, a trophy his dad had won with Elgin just four years before, so that is a special memory. His first Bisley Meeting was a year later, and while he didn't perform very well he does remember Cliff Ogle winning the Roberts on a tie-shoot. It all just seemed so normal that his friends and clubmates actually went places and won things, and had no idea what a special environment he was in the midst of.
The first time Donald shot for Scotland was in the Army Match in 1988, shooting 3P. He had just graduated from University and had started working for a living at Ferranti in Edinburgh. He trained hard for this match but was disappointed only to shoot 1090 but made up for it the next day with 1115, a personal best by a considerable margin.
Donald's first full international cap came at the Commonwealth Shooting Federation (European Division) Championships (aka "Mini-Games") in Wales in 1989, again shooting 3x40. It was NSRA three-card targets, which were set very low so it was a struggle to adapt his positions to this rather strange setup, but he wasn't too embarrassed despite the somewhat intimidating presence of team-mates Alister Allan and John Knowles. By this time he had acquired at huge expense a leather jacket just like those used by Malcolm Cooper and Alister Allan at the 1988 Olympics - although his colour scheme was to say the least a little louder! - and a pair of proper shooting trousers as well. This match came at the end of a wonderful summer, where he had shot in non-cap matches at the Ulster Games, against the Army at Bassingbourne near Cambridge, in the SSRA's Inter-Region Match and NSRA Squad Trials at Bisley.
He was on his way, and although he didn't reach
as far as the inspirational Malcolm Cooper (whom he never met but admired from
afar), his journey was further than most. He cites Edinburgh University/EU
Alumni team-mates Cliff Ogle and Simon Riley as inspiration figures (in very
different ways!) without whom he would not have become an international shooter,
and dedicates his career to
"Shirley McIntosh, my wife, my hero and the rock my shooting career was built
on. The day she won her Gold in Victoria was probably the best day in all
my years of involvement with shooting, far superseding anything I ever
achieved." Such a selfless sentiment from no mean shooter.
Donald (r) with Martin Sinclair after receiving their Gold Medals in the Pairs at the CSF Championships in 1999 at Auckland.
Donald loves shooting kneeling (or so he says).
Involvement with Great Britain shooting has come Donald's way as well. He was a member of the GB team in the Roberts match at Bisley in 2001 and was the coach to the Pershing match team which travelled to the USA in 2005, and has made four appearances in the Dewar team. He has been active on the ISSF shooting front as well, having shot in four World Cups. Since he retired from international shooting in 2003 he has become a coach and has taken both Scotland and GB teams to many international championships including Commonwealth Games, World Cups and World and European Championships.
Outside active participation in the sport where he continues, at time of writing, to shoot with Callander and Alloa RCs, Donald runs a successful shooting supplies operation from his base in Falkirk, and he lists his interests as family, music and occasional hill walking. His pet hate is NSRA multi-bull indoor targets.