Dunk.............Dunk.............Oh well there's always next week - Tales from the circuit.
The Usual Suspects 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Winter League 13 - Huntingdon

Snow is falling all around, children playing having fun

Winter League 12 - ThornDell

Superb shoot, but very windy.

Winter League 11 - Yellow Bellies

I've finally found a place worse than Emley!!!

Winter League 10 - Manion Park

Started Snowing so didn't bother going.

Winter League 9-

Winter League 8 -

Winter League 7 - Emley Moor

F'ing Cold & F'ing Windy.

Winter League 6 - Yorkshire Marksmen

Blooody Cold & Windy.

Winter League 5 - Hull

Cold & Windy!

Winter League 4 - Pontefract

As ever a popular shoot attended by many from other regions including Scotland and the Midlands.

A good event with the ever present wind causing a few headaches for many shooters. The first event where it was advisable to walk around looking like the michelin man due to the onset of Winter.

Winter League 3 - Codnor

First introduction to mud.

The key to doing well here was to be able to pull the trigger as you slide down the hill.

Memorable moments were James Osbourne, declining to be involved in a shoot off, with his mother Pat after tying on a superb 29ex30. Other memorable part about this course was at the end asking Dave Baines about short stroking my gun, if you've got a faint heart don't do it, in a matter of seconds my gun was in pieces - in the middle of a muddy puddle. Still it shoots a lot better now, it's just a pity the guy behind it can't.

Winter League 2 - Redfearn's

Monkey Man, and I mean it in the best possible way, Baines had been up to his tricks swinging from tree to tree to position some rather high shots.

Overall a good introduction to the winter league shoots with targets set in a variety of conditions from dull to extremely bright, high up to lowdown targets and of course the ever present tricky wind moving throughout the course.

Winter league 1 - Waverley

Superb course lovely conditions, dead easy shoot. Oh forgot to mention was on holiday in Lanzarote.

G.P.9. Midland's

Good course for hiking!! I know FT is derived from hunting but I was knackered before even reaching the start of the course. Talking about the start of the course it was nice to see a new obstacle being introduced to try to keep the scores low, namely a wasps nest at the first lane.

Anyway the course started with 2 targets set out in the field behind the wood, with a brisk left to right wind the number of blank faces from this lane showed the course was never going to easy. Moving steadily upwards through the wood, I now know why we take oxygen bottles with us to shoots, the targets were laid out up trees and down the bottom of the wood.

There was a superb turnout for this event mind you looking at the team score sheet's it's understandable.

Congratulations must be given to the AirArms team and commiserations must goto the Daystate team who put up an excellant fight to ensure it wasn't the one horse race like last year.

G.P.8. Byley

A venue that can only be described as different. Certainly shooting across water is an extremely weird sensation and it definately upset the rangefinding.

The course kept swapping from side to side in order to make you think about the wind direction, speaking of the wind it was baffling to see on shorter range targets pellets moving across the kill zone, yet on the longer range targets fly dead straight.

As I was saying the course kept swapping sides with the first 10 targets set out in the open it was then a move under cover of the wood and then back out into a field to really keep you on your toes, certaily targets were easily lost.

Top score on the day went to James Osbourne with a truly fantastic 39 closely followed by Josh Garwood and Martyn Hutchinson on 38 who were then followed by a large group on 35. Congratulations must goto Simon Hudson from Anston who shot a magnicent 30, bearing in mind he only took the sport up this season it was an amazing score.

G.P.7. Scotland

Scotland, glorious Scotland.

Decided to make a weekend of it up in Scotland, stopped half way up at a travel lodge, never done this before the bath was certainly an experience! When you're talking about going to Scotland and stopping half way up you still got a bloody long way to go in the morning as well.

Still not to be detered we got there eventually to an extremely full muddy field and managed to find a parking spot without too much difficulty. Still having problems with the old gun, but not upset enough to use the wife's, here we go again.

As met previously, the weather conditions started out fairly nice just a strong breese to contend with, the first lane both targets set out in a field, one on the floor the other on a fence, one hit one miss. Second lane hit one miss one. Third lane Hit one bowl it down with rain oops I appear to have lost the second target amidst all of the gloom.

Boy did the rain come down, but undeterred due to the course being a rather good one, targets appeared a lot closer than they were due to the fact they were placed on small hills behind other small hills. Well for the rest of the course it was a case of grin and bear it and eventually scoring 22 I was well pleased.

Top score of the day went to Les Dean with 37, closely followed by a group of 3 shooters all on 36.

G.P.6. Fenlands

Fenlands another great event for me, I had a suspician that my gun was running low, later to be confirmed at 10.5 ftlbs, but the chrono on the course decided to tell me the complete opposite. Anyway stop whinging Matthew and get on with it.

The course designer certainly had a sense of humour, most lanes were set with one low target and one high target with my problem being that I could hit the high target which was being buffeted by a left to right wind but miss the low ones which didn't appear to be buffeted at all. Ho-Hum back to the drawing board me thinks.

It was at this shoot I experienced two of the strangest things ever, Amanda my better half had decided to follow me round and out of the first 6 targets I hit 1 so after asking her if she'd mind awfully going back to the car, no I wasn't that polite, I then proceded to hit the next 5 out of six, lesson learned.

The second weird thing was on the next to the last lane, I think it was a 45-50 yard target set on the floor it was like looking through a kaleidoscope all I could see were bright lights and no Amanda hadn't belted me for being rude ealier, needless to say I missed it.

Top score on the day 36 by Wayne Twelftree and best score must go to Chris Smith from Pontefract with 32, rumour has it he's taught Ian Taylor all he knows, it's good to see Chris putting something back into the sport.

G.P.5. Okehampton

The least said about Okehampton the better. Tip never attempt to set a gun up in blustery conditions, it doesn't work!

IOkehampton has a purposely designed coarse laid out that run's along the side of a wood, they've even got little shooting platforms full of grit, that ends up everywhere, to help you shoot.

The course didn't appear to be that difficult however as I've said previously I should have shot the wifes gun, rather than set my own up on the day. The first four shots were set in an open field and combined with the wind that would be best described as gusty, you were constanly being pushed off kill by the wind so timing the release of shots was paramount.

Again the results show that not everyone struggled on the course with Andy Calpin and Paul Wilson tying on 36 for top spot, Andy just edging Paul out for first place. Result of the day must go to Lee Highton with a magnificent 31.

G.P.4. Pontefract

The first local event for me, held at my own club Pontefract, so dead easy to get to.

The course was rather interesting to say the least, one of the Daystate team certainly thought so, as half way round the course he'd only hit around 4 or 5 of the targets but then went and finished on 24 - amazing considdering the start.

The course started in a wooded area with targets that didn't seem at that far a distance it was the infamous pontefract wind that caused many people to miss. Things went from bad to worse when we moved out into the famous bowl area with the Kray twins claiming many scalps.

Three shooters who didn't struggle, Kevin Jackman, Dave Ramshead and Stuart Hancox tied for first place on 38 closely followed by Daniel Eley on 37 and no less than 10 shooters tied on 36.

G.P.3. C.S.F.T.A.

Arrived at the shoot a bit late, therefore had a bit of waiting around to do but then was asked to do some marshalling prior to shooting which broke the monotany, I know some people moan about having to marshall but as far as I'm concerned if you want to shoot then you should have to marshall.

Anyway eventually got to the first lane and was met with two standers, excellant, first shot managed to connect cleanly but just as I was steadying up on the second the heavens opened and it hammered it down. I digress, the course was shot in two long lines, you made your way down through the mud and when you reached the halfway point made your way back up again.

The targets were a good mixture some in bright light the others in pitch black, to be honest we could have done with some lamping gear as you could just make out the silhouette of the targets and then had to guess where the kill zone was.

Bearing in mind the conditions we shot in there were some extremely high scores coming in throughout the day and for the second time this season Dave Baines was top scorer with 8 shooters one target behind.

G.P.2. Kent Woodsmen

Really good course. Split into two halfs bisected by the long range shoot.

The first part of the shoot was in the top wood and was shot in what can only be described as a sauna! With most targets set at 40+ yards and a breeeze blowing pellets across the face of the targets it's a superb way to settle you in.

The course then made its way out into brilliant sunshine before you had a couple hundred yard hike back into another wood to complete the course. Most memorable target from the course must have been the 40-45 yard standing target, needless to say not many hit this target.

G.P.1. Wales

The first of the Grand Prix events and also to be the first one I have attended in a number of Years.

Expecting the worst, after being told that if there's a heatwave in England you can bet there'll be torrential rain in Wales, also after experiencing rain on the way to the event it was pleasing to see the day unfold to be cool but dry day. As Public Enemy once sang "Don't believe the hype".

The ground is a new one, with previous events being held in sand quarry's and the like. The course meandered it's way down through a densely populated woodland, although the light levels were extremely good with targets proving tricky, especially with the wind.

Early scores seemed varied with a number of the top shots dropping one too many shots and finding themselves off the pace, still it's only the first shoot of the series.