When Hawke's Bay pistol shooter Julian Lawton heard his club would be hosting this week's nationals it was a signal.
A signal for the 62-year-old Hawke's Bay Sports Hall of Famer and former Commonwealth Games representative to end a two-year retirement, albeit temporarily.
"The plan was to get in some training so I would be competitive. I was too busy with my organiser-match director role to train and it showed in my scores today," Lawton said after day one of the four-day nationals which end on Sunday.
He finished 12th in the 50m pistol event which saw fellow Bay competitor Steve Moy finish 11th. However, Lawton's disappointment evaporated fast as he watched some of the country's talented youngsters in the field of 70 competitors.
One was 23-year-old Thomas Nobes of Whangarei.
"Thomas has come through the junior ranks and is at the stage where I was 25 years ago. I'm picking he will do well at the business end of the 50m as well as in the men's air pistol event," Lawton said.
National junior champion Melanie Hesseling, who boards at Napier Girls' High School and represents the Hamilton club, is expected to be a force in her junior events on Sunday. Her mother Andrea Bald was in action yesterday.
These are the first nationals the Hawke's Bay club has hosted since 1989. Rapid fire and women's air pistol events are scheduled for today.
Lawton pointed out there was a strong chance the Bay club will be allocated next year's nationals also.