At the time of the 2nd Boer War of 1899-1902, it was made apparent that marksmanship in the British Army needed to be improved. The British Rifle Association was formed with the aim of bringing “into one association all civilians who want to be able to defend their country in case of invasion.” So it was that the Daresbury Rifle Club was formed in 1909.
Membership was open to anyone over 16 years of age on payment of an annual subscription of 2/6d and 110 men and 27 women became members in the first few months. Sir Gilbert Greenall, the landowner, provided the site for the ranges at Daresbury Stone Quarry on Keckwick Hill.
Members could enter competitions to win trophies, or perhaps be selected for one of the club teams. The Greenall Challenge Cup was presented to the member with the highest average score over the season.
The ladies seem to have lost interest in the club by 1914, because the parish magazine reported that the committee wished to revise the ladies’ section. In order to encourage them, it states that if ladies wished to choose an afternoon, then the committee would arrange for a range officer to provide tuition. They would be eligible to take part in club competitions, and form teams to compete against other Ladies Clubs. Also, there were facilities for making tea at the Range!
By 1916 all the club competitions had to be abandoned as so many members had enlisted in the forces. However, the range continued to be used, and sometimes shooting matches were held between convalescent soldiers at the Oaklands and Dutton hospitals.
How popular shooting continued to be, after so many years of war and so many lives lost, is debatable. Daresbury Rifle Club had closed by 1929, when the remaining funds of the club, which amounted to £6/16/5d, were handed over to the Parish Rooms committee, for the benefit of the activities carried on there.