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

European Championships - Day 1

Now I must admit this was one of the events that I said I wasn't going to attend, just to keep the wife happy - not that she ever is - put the snooker cue down dear. I'm glad I did go though, as it's it's one of the last big shoots of the season, last chance to have a drink and a chat on the evening after the first days shoot, well you get to have a drink and a chat if your southern shooting mate turn's up, watching football what kind of poncy southern cheese and biscuits sport is that, anyway I digress.

Arrived pretty late this year, around 8:30, nearly got turned away by some weedy looking security guards - don't you know I've got a gun in the car mate - O.K. I'd probably miss him, thought I'd write that before you lot thought it - top of the hill is it mate, thank you very much, most helpful, prat.

At least the weather looked good, bright clear skies, the sun was shining with just a slight breeze, O.K. can the big man upstairs please arrange for some awful weather next time I shoot cos I'm getting just a little bit p"£$"£ off with writing about a little breeze blowing through.

After booking in it was time to see when I'd be shooting and also who'd be kicking my backside round the course. I was shooting in the morning session but unluckily for me I'd drawn Cyril "Scottish ex Huddersfield - so he aint all bad - pellet pouch fondler" Dyson and Mark "people can never spell my name" Cammocio I was at least going to enjoy getting my arse kicked, too kinky for the website!, enjoy the company - that's better.

Let battle commence, all was going well until the second target extremely hard 37ish yards when I dropped low, so there I was 1 down already! Oh well I didn't want to clear it anyway. The next couple of lanes blurred by, obviously nothing worth mentioning happened, yes you've guessed it I forgot to take my pen and paper with me so I'm trying to remember what happened two weeks after the event!?

Moving on to the Kneelers I was still one down, Mark and Cyril dropped their first targets around here I was very lucky on the longer of the two just scraping inside the top edge, whoever set the targets out certainly wanted to test you on your disciplines

It was weird in the woods, not just because I was with Cyril, but the conditions outside were very bright and the brighter it got outside the duller it got inside the woods, someone please email me and explain it, I know there's a logical explanation there somewhere?

Lane 19 and I got the long one but missed the short one, go figure? At this point Wayne Hudson was just walking back saying he'd double dunked the last lane! Yeah right I believe you, I should have. As I sat down there was obviously more wind on this final lane than on the others that we'd seen so far but I wasn't expecting to miss the face plate completely on the first target!, must have hit something on the way through, keep dreaming Matthew. The second of the two I parallaxed right the way back, nothing in front, err on the side of caution, give it a kill of wind.............Dunk, what!? The pellet struck right on the edge of the face plate, it would've taken around 3 further kills, it was windy but not that windy.

Moving back to Lane 1, I was now way out of contention but so what I was enjoying the day, two short standers later Mark and Cyril leveled the scores, 4 down. First big queue of the shoot the 2nd third and fourth lanes, due to them being almost on top of each other, I managed to drop another target here as did Cyril, Mark had other plans and went to pieces he was now seven down.

At the next lane Mark wasn't happy and was saying he was well out of it, I replied that he wasn't out of it, it'd only take me and Cyril to double dunk a lane and we'd be tied. Cyril who should have been concentrating on hitting targets turned around and thanked me very politely, if you believe that you'll believe anything, for mentioning double dunking targets and then promptly missed the next target, thank you Matthew! - anytime Cyril.

The final two lanes loomed, Mark was seven down, Cyril I think was Eight and I was still five, the only thing I'll say here is Mark and Cyril finished seven and eight down, I however didn't dropping a target on each of the lanes, well done numpty!

After the mornings shoot the top scores were 37's with loads tied on 36 and 35. During the afternoon session, whilst I was sat chewing the fat, before anyone thinks I'm queer it means involved in conversation, with Wayne and Simon Hudson the wind seemed to get a trifle stronger so we didn't expect the scores to better the mornings sessions. We obviously didn't reckon on the current Junior World Champ - Nathan Reeve - coming in on a superb 38 top score from a genuinely top lad.

Evenings Entertainment.

After having a few drinks and discussing the mornings shooting with anybody and everybody it was decided that we should goto the bar area at the main house, there's usually a band on so it's something to do for the rest of the night. Now one thing I always manage to do is be in the wrong place when Wayne does his Elvis Impression - American Trilogy - however not tonight. Some of the lads had talked the band into playing it and allowing him to get up and sing, I take my hat off to you Cos I wouldn't have done it, superb arm movement - not bad singing either it must be said definitely a must see.

European Championships - Day 2

Was surprised, happily it must be said, to find I'd be shooting with Mark again also Russ Spencer from NEFTA. The conditions were very much the same as the previous afternoons, bit stronger wind than the morning session but still very bright - at least it was outside of the wood.

Got a shock, as I wasn't the first to miss a target Russ missing one by just being taken out of the kill with the wind, I missed one on the next lane though! Things did pick up at least for me as the targets seemed to be going over fairly regularly, Russ got the shock of his life though, as we made our way upto towards lanes 17, 18 and 19 he was looking into the carpark when a woman took her top off! Well he didn't know what to do, he was trying to tell Mark without making too much fuss about it - unluckily for Mark he turned round just too late, for someone who's supposedly got bad eyesight he didn't struggle to see them!, must remember still owe her a tenner for doing it.

Russ never quite recovered from the shock as he dropped a couple more targets, Marks Heart beat must have also got faster as he dropped some as well. Walking down to lane 1, the dreaded standers, well they were for Russ as he missed them. I was 3 down by now, Russ and Mark 5 or 6.

Moving back inside the wood, from the bright sunshine crippled Russ as he double dunked target after target I was still going all right until about the third lane when I dropped another, just couldn't seem to settle and I pushed the shot high. Then as if by magic suddenly you couldn't stop Russ from hitting targets! it was too late, for all of us really, as our previous days scores plus todays scores even if we'd stayed clear over the final lanes meant we were never going to trouble the top ten.

Speaking of which the last couple of lanes loomed and I definitely didn't want a repeat of the previous day by dropping two more targets. Well all was well until on the first target of the final lane, the shorter of the two when I was caught out by the wind, damn. Russ and Mark had held it together though. I finished 5 down, Russ and Mark around 9 or 10 although as I haven't got access to the scores this may be wrong.

Many shoot offs ensued but Josh Garwood had won it dropping 4 out of 80 targets, Stu Hancox second and Dorian Falconer third.

BFTA Showdown

It's been all go of late, seem to be shooting all of the time, life's hard isn't it!

Anyway qualified for the second year running, yes Lee I know it took me long enough but I'm like British Rail - get there in the end! The showdown, held at Newbury takes the form of a 20 shot knockout competition, the qualifiers names are put into a hat at the final grandprix and drawn to allocate partners, with there being 1 minute for two targets, sounds fun don't it.

Arriving bright and too early, for my liking, we were surprised to see quite a few people there already the weather looked promising to say the forecast was awful, being hard northerners or stupid northerners - please feel free to make your own minds up here - we were camping for the weekend so first thing was to get Amanda, Sam and Linda to set up base camp, while it was dry. Time to look busy and walk to the top of the hill and book in methinks, "bob the kettle on for me dear whilst your putting the tent up................that wasn't very nice dear!".

Upon booking in I found I was to be partnerless in the first round, it's strange that everyone want's to qualify for the showdown but when the time comes to shoot it nobody turns up. At least Lee Cheese and Biscuits Highton had arrived, I gave him a keyring I'd fetched from Norway for him, he was truly touched by it as he said he'd put it on the motorbikes keyring when he sells it!, just kidding.

Time to shoot, as I didn't have a partner for the first round decided to buddy up with 2 other reprobates, Richard Woods and Dean Robinson just to have a go. They're both mental southerners, I was surprised to come off with a 17, Dean came off with an 18 and Richard 16. Walking back upto the stats tent they were surprised to see they'd drawn each other in the next round and if I got through my next round I'd meet the victor!

There were some surprise knockout's in the first round, if you get knocked out in the first round you go into the plate competition, namely Paul Wilson and Trev Ryan, at least they still had something to play for if I get knocked out of my first round I was out of the competition.

The next round I actually had a real partner, one of my Anschutz team mates Daniel Eley, he had just got through after a very long shoot off and had to literally run up to the firing line and continue shooting. Needless to say he struggled, missing a couple early on, it did go down to the last lane though, I needed both targets for a 19 whilst Dan was hoping I'd miss both to hopefully secure another shootoff. I managed to get both of my targets so it ended 19 - 17.

In the next round I was up against Dean, he'd put Richard out in the last round. I knew I was going to get an early bath when on the first lane I missed face plate completely and at the next on a rabbit target, around 30 odd yards I actually hit it's backside! Needless to say Dean was on top form, my excuse was I knew the winner out of us two would go on to meet Dave Baines, guaranteed outage, I think I ended up with a 14 whilst Dean got 17!

Dean by his own admission didn't engage brain in the next round and Dave Baines went through. Tim Finley, who Dave was due to meet in the next round knocked Stuart Hancox out of so Tim was having a good weekend.

I decided to marshal Dave and Tim as it was going to be a close run thing. Tim shot first and looked super cool, dropping all that was laid out in front of him Dave, didn't so this ended 20 -17 to Tim.

Time for the finals, it was a guaranteed NEFTA winner in both events Tim Finley was due to take on his Ripley team mate Andy Calpin for the showdown whilst another of the Ripley team Paul Wilson was to take on Daystate team shooter Trev Ryan for the plate. Me and Little Kev stayed to watch the first part of the finals, we were under strict instructions not to be late, so we saw Trev miss a target in the first lane and Andy miss his first target in the third or forth. Overall result was Tim Finley took the Showdown, whilst Paul took the plate, Ripley kicked butt.

One final thing, as you'll probably know never rely on my directions well I listened to Kev and ended up in the works unit surrounded by police cars, say no more. Also whilst I didn't set the showdown alight with my amazing crap shooting I did set a record for the slowest bowl at 10 pin bowling that night 2.4 mph, whilst Kev's slowest was around 17!

BFTA Master's

God what an awful nights sleep in the tent, Amanda always leaves the phone on in case someone wants to get in touch, well a rather drunken Lee did at 3 in the morning with a text message that just said BEER, should have been SHANDY but he couldn't spell it. This coupled with the owls hooting, foxes screeching and Kev SNORING in the travel lodge we never quite managed to get back to sleep.

Anyway at 6am Amanda was just going to give Lee a call when I told her it may be better to let sleeping dogs lie, dog being the word! At least the weather had stayed reasonably good during the night, after our hour's trip back from the bowling alley, 20 minutes away if you know where your going - kev's directions again, it'd obviously rained a bit so we weren't looking forward to the mornings conditions, but whilst it was a bit gray it wasn't raining.

After the breakfast, there's nothing like bacon sarnies cooked on calor gas, I realized everybody else appeared to be booked in so off I trudged to the top of the hill to find I was number 47, it was going to be a long day. I was that late booking in the first shooters were just about to start going through, time to go back to the bottom of the hill - the exercise will do me good honest- transfer all my shooting gear into Kev's motor as Amanda and Sam were going shopping then trudge back up again to watch the first few shooters going through.

Whilst the conditions didn't look too bad most of the shooters seemed to be having problems with either the first or the second standing targets, they didn't look too bad both very close together but most people were coming off shaking there heads, must remember to take care on them.

I made it up to around lane 8, watching Paul Wilson and Dave "cracking off" Penman, when the first shooters were coming off with 36's so it was going to be a high scoring day, Wayne "Elvis" Hudson was rumored to be still clear, I don't know what he's been upto recently but his scores have gone through the roof, Paul and Dave were one down at this point.

Time to go get the gun from the bottom of the hill and have a few practice shots, yes I know I should have carried it up earlier and put it in the stats tent but that's logical and I aint. Anyway after trudging back up and even giving myself 10 minutes to recover my pulse was still racing as the practice shots confirmed and to my horror the shooters in my group were being called, damn.

Glad to see a bit of a queue at the first lane, 6 shooters or so, at least my pulse might have calmed down a bit. Phil James joined me and asked if I'd go round with him, you know what even though he's a midlander he's a damn fine chap, christ I'm getting surrounded by em as Steve Page joined us, time to stop joking.

Phil wanted to shoot first, I'm not bothered wether I go first or second - you still miss either way, it'd give me an extra few minutes to get ready anyway. All was going well, both clear, until we reached those first standers - normally if I see someone is going for the wrong target I tell them - both targets were close together and Phil shot the first out of order,I was gutted maybe I wasn't paying enough attention?, he regained his composure and took the target again and dropped it. It was funny I nearly did the same thing but decided to double check, thank god.

The next lane went by in a blur, as I was still p%$&*£ off with myself at letting Phil take out the wrong target. I was still clear as we made our way round the first corner, this is where the wind had really picked up on the previous day so it was time to be extra cautious, Phil got the first target and was nearly caught out with the longer of the two targets as he shouted "Christ that hardly moved!", it must not have moved much as Phil is usually the quiet one on the circuit. Being as skeptical as I am I gave the shorter of the two, around 47 yards, about a kill of wind off the left hand side and down it went the longest of the two you could see there was a few misses on the right of the kill but most of them were on the left so maybe Phil wasn't trying to pull a fast one. Expecting to miss it over the right hand side I gave it around 1/2 inch off the left and pulled the trigger hoping for the best, it moved around 3/4's of an inch, someone's smiling on me up there!

It opened up a bit now, and I spotted Little kev who told me Wayne had finished one down, what! damn fine shooing that man. Ian Taylor was still clear, as we made our way up to the next lane, he was stepping upto the final lane, a pair of standers, I was just saying to Phil I bet he nails these when he dropped the rifle on the longer of the two lifted it again and...............dunk the target stayed put. A few choice expletives later and the shorter of the two targets fell, time for him to take the longer of the two again, just to chase away the demon's, dunk it hit the same spot. I would never in a month of Sunday's bet against I an on standers!

As I mentioned earlier the course opened up a bit and you could see the wind a bit more now, time to give it a bit more. The two on the gate at the bottom I came out about half a kill and down they both went, what's happening? this never happens for me! Phil was still knocking them over as well, only thing I can put my shooting down to was I was enjoying myself, totally relaxed.

Things were still going great as we made our way up to the top and came back on our selves, I prefer not to know how I'm getting on so never look at my card and try to forget about the previous lanes but as we made our way round to the final 10 targets the nerves were kicking in. At a number of the lanes Phil had a little chat after I shot trying to help me settle my nerves, you should have seen the cross hairs!!!!

Little Kev was mulling about behind us as we made our way through these last targets, I couldn't speak to him. He knew how I was doing and kept his distance, I don't think he could speak to me either in case I missed and he'd feel guilty. The last lane loomed, standers, Dave Baines appeared asked how I was doing and walked on it was only after I finished shooting the final two targets and stood up from my lane did I realize what he was doing. I've often spoke to him about how nervous I get when I shoot and he was keeping everyone away from me.

Oh the last two targets nearly forgot..............honest. My nerves were shot as I lifted the rifle, the target some 35 yards, all I could see in my mind was Ian missing it! It seemed like an age, I kept blurring by the kill, up over the top of the target, down below it on the fence, try to relax. All of a sudden the cross hairs were set just above centre of the kill, snatch the trigger, close eyes and pray. Slow motion time the cross hairs settled at the top edge of the kill the pellet following suit and there was nothing I could do about it, split.............and down she goes. I heard Dave saying well done and Steve page mentioning something about a clear, all I could think was there's still one target left! Quickly recock the rifle parallax on the target, 24 yards?, alter the turret and try to aim. Once again the cross was flying about all over the place, time to snatch the trigger and down she goes. Time to get mobbed.

A strange thing happened walking back down to hand my card in, everyone knew what I'd scored, how on earth do they do it? One more 39 came in from Dave Hollingdale, again he'd missed one of the last standers. I'd won, my second clearance ever, I felt strange pleased with myself but well and truly knackered.

Top four were me, Ian Taylor, Wayne Hudson and Dave Hollingdale.

UK Championships - Harriers

After just having spent ten days with two midlanders I hadn't planned to goto the UK Champs, this coupled with the fact the format had changed to a 40 shot main event, 20 shot dump course and 20 silhouette's (an event I said that I'd never shoot again) there didn't seem much point in going, however the girls (Amanda & Sam not Stu & Kev) decided and then told me I'd be attending the event.

Harriers ground is always windy but it was a pleasant surprise to arrive in bright sunshine with only a slight breeze blowing across. To those who have never been before harriers is basically farmland with a couple of ponds on so you generally start off by shooting across water and end up in an open field one knock on effect of the ponds is that the place is swarming with ducks, more of that later.

After booking in I was collared by Pauline Baines, she was on the lookout for a partner to go round the course so she picked me, no discussion "you're shooting with me!". Three shots on the plinking range it'd have to do as she was getting restless.

I actually don't mind shooting with Pauline as I always seem to do well when I go round with her and she always keeps me amused. First problem to contend with, at the very first lane, "I can't shoot?" , "why?", "Them ducks are looking at me!", "What, get a grip woman!" she wouldn't shoot though until they'd moved on.

Getting by the first lane obstacles, I was pleased to see that Pauline was helping me out in the luck department, it was a case of short targets give it edge longer ones give it an inch, woman's inch not a man's. Pauline was struggling a bit, she was still preoccupied by all the wildlife!

Confidence was high until about the 4th lane when I missed the longer of the two targets, the pellet was swept across left to right. John Mcclean who was following with Simon Hudson was still clear and seemed to be unstoppable as did Wayne Hudson on the lane previous to them, he certainly seems to have got it together since getting the sidewheel Leup!

I was O.K. at the next couple of lanes but as soon as confidence returned I dropped another one, Pauline seemed to have settled down and was stringing a few targets together. I heard John miss one of the standers, Wayne however was still clear after them, top geezer, speaking of Wayne, due to the fact of going to Norway I couldn't attend a shoot at Dowry Hill, he was on top form there scoring a superb 29ex30 on the main and 18ex20 on the silhouette's, well done mate!

Moving round the bottom of the shoot I was still 2 down when we got to the second set of kneelers, oh well I didn't want to finish on 38 anyway - naff score. I'd missed the second of them, just couldn't get comfy for the shot, I know I could have moved round and got comfy but as I've always said hindsight is a wonderful thing. Stuart Hancox was walking off with a 3, how the hell does he do it?

The targets were now placed out in the open fields again and just as I was getting into my stride one of targets failed to obey, even when Pauline shouted at it to tell it to fall (she looks after me when we shoot round together), the shot had gone straight even thought the wind had been gusting across.

At the third from last lane we met up with my old pal, the crocodile target, I don't think I've ever hit it until today that is down it went yes, yes, go on my son. The targets now moved around into another open field, boy did you have to keep aware of the wind I didn't have anymore problems as all of the targets fell obediently so I finished on a 4, Pauline had dropped 15, John finished 5 as did Wayne.

Time for a break before doing the Dump shoot, walking around I bumped into Julie ho had heard that I wouldn't shoot the silhouette's, she wasn't best pleased, neither was Stu. Stories were coming back about the dump shoot, minute square kill zones splattered targets, etc, etc, it didn't sound fun.

All too soon it was time to start the dump shoot, first problem was to stop Pauline from chasing the ducks, she was trying to see how close she could get to them you see, they weren't amused so every time she got within a couple of feet they'd fly off. At the first target I'd just rangefound it when a whistle went, at the all clear I loaded my gun and fired just for the shot to miss high, I hadn't dialled! It wouldn't have been so bad but Stu Hancox and Chris Large were following us round, so after much mickey taking I re-dialled and dropped it with the second shot, (the dump shoot is ten targets, minute kills, 2 shots at each target).

At the second lane the target was silhouetted against the sun so it was a case of guess the range then guess where the kill was, amazingly I managed to connect both times. I seem to remember it was around the fourth lane where I double dunked a target not a good idea, luckily for me Stuart missed that one also!

Even though the targets seemed to have ridiculously small kills they kept on going over, that was until I reached the one with the square kill zone! I should have had a go standing but didn't think and 2 dunks later I was 5 down. Even though I was annoyed by that target I was determined that I would miss any more, luckily I didn't.

Time for another break while Pauline queued for the silhouette's, Stu kept looking at me and telling me to do them, Pauline and Julie even joined in. Pauline wanted a smoke before she shot the silhouette's so told me to do them, Stuart was just finishing the chicken's so I relented and did them.

It's strange doing something that I said I'd never do again, the funny thing was as soon as I dropped the rifle onto the first chuck it seemed locked on, no movement whatsoever. I must admit though I struggled to pull the trigger so after one hell of a snatch it was nice to see the first chicken had gone. Four more chucks followed.

Onto the pigs, "I likes them piggies I do", all 5 went. Turkey's the first went the second didn't, I gave it some wind and there wasn't any, doh, turkey's 3, 4, 5, went though. Now I knew the top score was 18 and the nerves got to me as soon as I aimed at the first Ram, god was I wavering! The only comment I'll make about the rams is I missed the last one, to tie on 18.

I went and put my gun away only to be told 10 minutes later I was in a shoot off for second place in A on the main and for top score on the silhouette's. It was to be the main event shoot off first, Little Kev was marshaling and he picked one hell of a target to use, target 2 on the dump shoot, 40 odd yards in wind with a bloody small kill! The double A graders were shooting off on the 20 yard target and missing it I might add.

I was up against Phil James, a very nice bloke apart from the fact he always tells Amanda where the shops are, Phil went first and dropped the target sat, missed it kneeling and missed it completely standing. I followed suit so we had to shoot again. Phil again first miss, miss, miss, me miss, miss, miss. Time to shoot again, Phil miss, miss, miss he stands up and said "for god sake Matt hit it this time, so being the ever spawny one I promptly went and missed sat but connected with the kneeler!

The second shoot off on the silhouette's I was up against Keith Wooley, the targets were to be the pigs at 30 yards. Keith being the top shot that he is dropped, hit, all 5 me, still shaking from the previous shoot off leveled the cross hairs on the bar to bring it upto the target and slipped the trigger, "I hates them piggies I do!", top shooting Keith. Ian Taylor won the overall title and a new air tank as well.

I'd just like to say thanks to the members of Harriers for putting on one hell of a good shoot, it's a pity there wasn't a few more people there can we also remove the ducks for Pauline next year?

World Championships 2002 - Isfjorden Norway.

What can I say, I was a little apprehensive after booking this holiday / trip to Norway firstly I've never attempted to take any of my guns out of the country and secondly I was sharing lodgings with Stu Hancox, (who should need no introduction - Total Domination!), Little Kev (Who has represented England before - snoring world champ for the past 30 years by all accounts, eh Stu) and Paul "which gun shall I use today" Wheatley...............it was going to be a long 10 days!

We all met at my house on the Sunday to give the 2 midlanders a bit of a break, so after being suitable fed and watered it was time to say goodbye to the old bread-knife, funny thing was, she carried all my bags out to the car as soon as Paul had arrived?!? she was obviously going to miss me.

At Newcastle we met up with the reprobates sorry other competitors from England and found out the ferry was running 3 hours late due to technical difficulties, what do they mean technical difficulties?, it didn't sound good, but at least they compensated us by giving us a hot-dog and drink. Speaking of food Stu, when he's nervous must eat, cos even though we'd had something to eat at my house, as soon as we arrived at the ferry port he was tucking into his sarnies, sandwiches to those who don't understand. 6 or 7 sarnies later + food provided by the ferry company and the ferry arrived and we were taken through to customs with a woman shouting "this line for the people with weapons!" you should have seen the looks on the other passengers faces.

In customs we were asked for the paperwork for the rifles and then to show the customs officials our serial numbers, so we unpacked the gun cases thinking we were to be led to a separate room, think again, in front of all the other passengers we had to get the guns out and show the officials the serial numbers, I wasn't best pleased - neither were the other passengers judging by some of the looks we were given. All too soon we were led onto the boat to begin the trip.

Ferry travel, you either love it or hate it. Angela Grim's face, when we were half way across the north sea, said it all and she definitely fell into the latter category. Mind you if you'd seen me and Stu's faces when we'd been for a meal in the restaurant and been presented with the bill, £21 a head for a buffet, I spose that would have been similar to Angela's.

On arriving at Bergen the only thing we had to hand in was a temporary import licence for the guns, so there you go travelling abroad with weapons aint that bad.

Time to fast forward to the actual competition, as I'm sure you're getting bored by now, well to the Thursday nights meet and great night.

Pre-shoot meet and Greet.

This is one hell of a good idea and something, I think, that should be adopted by all of the hosts of the event in the future, granted we didn't actually meet and greet anybody, English in one corner the German's in another the Scottish in the middle with the Irish and the Norwegian's floating around in between us all.

The Ripley boys had some T-shirts printed especially for the competition, in typical understated style - Ripley tour of domination, so they had to be worn to the meet and greet night I donned my England top, what must the others have thought?

Stu was team captain and the English team was picked, I was surprised and shocked to hear my name mentioned, o.k. they were desperate I'll admit it. The team consisted of Stu, me, Cliffy "Dreadlocks" Church, Monty, Steve Franklin, Dave Doe, Angela Grim and Andy Knott. God did I start to feel the pressure after being picked, but more of that later.

As it was to be the first days competition it was an early night for us all, yeah right, as we aiming to be the first on the practice range the following morning.

Total Domination - Day 1.

After the previous early night we were raring to go and get started so after checking my gun out on the practice range and spending 30 mins checking zero and then rechecking it it was time to start. The day was bright with little or no breeze so scores were going to be high.

We already knew who were competing against and also our start lanes as this had already been pre-drawn and detailed in the hand books we had all been given when we arrived at our accommodation, another nice touch that we could do with copying!

The course was set in fairly dense woodland on the top half which then opened up a bit on the bottom half, the course didn't look too bad in fact I was confident of a half decent score, which was good COs I didn't want to let the rest of the team down.

Arriving at lane 12, my starting position my partner arrived - Gerhard Einwag one of the German's. First problem, being an ignorant English man I can't speak a word of German and Gerhard couldn't speak a word of English - this was not going to be fun. We quickly established some sort of understanding between us, he was going to shoot first on this lane then we'd swap round for the next, he was a grandad and that was about it, he did present me with one of his club badges which was ever so kind - I got his address and promised to send one across to him on my return to England I think he understood.

The start of the match came, two whistles to start shooting one to stop - how confusing is that!, Gerhard got the first two targets, me............o.k. match nerves I didn't the first one fell the second however struck not where I aimed. The shot was steady and felt good but it had moved across, I hadn't seen anything moving but obviously there was!

Targets 25 + 26 fell obediently, they did for Gerhard too however target 27 I must have mis-ranged as the pellet struck high whilst 28 fell. Germany 0 England 2, doh! Gerhard must have felt sorry for me as he gave me a lesson in German swear words, schiz???!?!?, as target 28 stayed up, also at the next lane target 29 stayed up too it was now 2-2.

At the next lane again Gerhard faltered as he missed target 31, Germany 3 England 2. I don't know whether the competition was getting to me or not COs I couldn't get a clear sight picture and I could see my hits on the kill scraping in the top and bottom, at least the targets were falling.

More German swear words ensued as Gerhard missed targets 38 and 43, Germany 5 England 2. It was around target 48 that the wheels started to fall off my wagon as it stayed up - again I missed way high on a relatively easy target, luckily for me, Gerhard missed target 49 so I maintained my lead, Germany 6 England 3.

Things went from bad to worse for me as I'd heard the rest of the team were doing what was expected of them and knocking targets over, whilst I................................................................... wasn't.

It seemed to be all the midrange targets that I couldn't get, around 40 - 45 yards (hindsight's wonderful isn't it) but at the time I couldn't see a pattern to the misses. Targets 3, 7, 11, 12, 17 and 20 all stayed up I'd lost it big style Gerhard meanwhile stayed focussed on the job at hand and missed one more target. Germany 7 England 9 - GUTTED!

I was inconsolable, it's difficult to explain how you feel inside when you represent and let down a team, let alone one on the world stage. I'd failed at what I'd set out to do and that was to beat whoever I was with.

Back at our cabin Lee "Northern Monkey" Highton phoned to console me, wrong time and place mate - sorry. I wasn't bothered about my score just letting the other 7 down, if only they hadn't picked me.......Stu being the top bloke that he is talked me through the match to try and work out where I 'd gone wrong, we ended up putting it down to the scope I however feel the scopes fine it's just the numpty behind it.

Total Domination - Day 2.

After another early night, again yeah right, we again got upto the plinking range bright and early, everything again checked out o.k. the boards were coming in the same as the other competitors, all clicks were fine, how will the numpty behind the machine cope today?

The weather was pretty much the same as yesterday, very bright sunshine on the plinking range with just a hint of a breeze blowing across.

Up against another German, J. Hermann - sorry can't remember your first name as I was still fuming from the first day also forgot to take piece of paper to write down any misses so I apologise for the short report, started on the standers. Got both of these, Hermann was unlucky and missed both, there was no way I was going to surrender this lead!

The same at the next lane and the next and the next , was beginning to like Hermann then he went and hit one, damn. The targets on this day had been moved further out, any that the majority of people had missed were left alone though.

All too soon I was struggling to hit targets, the ones I got were generally splits the ones I missed were closer than the previous days but still definitely mis-ranged. Good thing for me Hermann was struggling big time. By the end of the competition I'd dropped 6 Hermann 28. I still wasn't happy as I felt I'd messed a golden opportunity to redeem myself.

Total Domination - Day 3.

Forgot my notepad again, so this is going to be short as well, you'll have to wait for Stuarts highlights in the mags.

After yet another early night, you definitely don't believe that one, and another early practice session I realised I was with Steve "Spring Gunner" Garrett, he was vying for another world title and by his own admission was bricking it as the competition had proved pretty tough.

Again the targets had been moved back and the course resembled a good grand-prix course, the weather was the same yet again apart from a bit more noticeable breeze. We started on lane 23, looking back at lane 22 we were to finish on a set of decent standers, oh good.

I started off quite well, I managed not to miss anything until target 50, think about it I actually managed to hit the previous 5 targets, aint I good. Yet again a poxy 40 yarder that I'd ranged at 45 and it struck high out of the kill! Steve was still clear.

I went and missed another around lane 4, Steve felt guilty as he was talking to the marshall at the time but it wasn't his fault, just another miss-range on a 40 odd yard target , oh well there's always next week.

Steve was doing well but he then went and lost the plot, possibly due to his nerves as he was shaking quite a bit missing a couple of easy ones. Word came round that Stuart was doing well so it just seemed like the title was his as Steve Franklin was struggling, if you can call missing 6 targets struggling?

All was still going well until around lane 13 when it stared to rain and get windy, time to think a bit. These were also good targets as they looked side by side but one was bolted to a tree a couple of yards in front of the other, judging by the misses a lot of people didn't see this, luckily for me I did. Lane 14 was similar apart from they were the same distance and again they both went! Lane 15 the wind really kicked in and I dropped another target it would have needed a couple of inch's off kill to hit it I gave around an inch and a half and it split on the right, arrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhhh! Steve obviously understands wind better than me Cos he got them both.

The next lane was a set of standers I got the short one but the longer one, 30'ish yards, it needed you to aim just out of the kill on the right needless to say I gave it edge of kill only to see my shot go in a group of shots on the left hand side.

Time to move into the reducers these were quite difficult as the wind was howling through and the rain was getting heavier needless to say I missed another one to finish the day on 5 Steve finished on 11 to take the world spring gun title, damn good shooting sir.

Stuart had lost the plot on the final couple of lanes , he even thought he'd lost the title as he'd been told Richard Beaugie was only 2 down, luckily for Stuart, Richard had missed three so it would be down to a shoot off.


There were many shoot offs to decided the final placing's but the most important one was to decide the 2002 world champion. Stuart shot first and missed the longer of 2 very long standers Richard cleared them. Now the kneelers and Stuart cleared all four, Richard by his own admission was struggling with his kneelers and unfortunately missed these so Stuart retained his title. The England team had dominated the teams event, me I came last out of the team, lesson learned the hard way. The guys and gals at the top of our sport, I just can't understand how they do it, not only week in week out but even when the spotlight is on them in the world stage, maybe it's because I'm relatively new to the sport, who knows?


If this is what can be achieved by a small club in Norway then there can be surely no excuses when next years, or any future years events, are held, it certainly was an eye opener for all who attended. Simple things, as they often do, impressed me like the meet and greet and the presentation evening held after a sit down meal. A word must also be mentioned about the trophies absolutely stunning.

Many thanks to Andy Kays and also all the other members of Isfjorden Field Target Club for making this event so special, I'll certainly be back when it's held in Norway again.

Snide Rumours

Rumour has it that Stu Hancox partied every night of the championships, consuming alcohol one night and being found sat cross legged in the middle of the road outside the pub (rumour also has it that's what cost him the miss on the Saturday), playing cards one night until 3a.m., talking to the grass as he wobbled his way back to the cabin on the Sunday night, "Oops, Hello, Grass" then proceeding to wobble across to the centre of the road, granted he doesn't drink and he'd allegedly had 7 pints also the world champs cup had been filled for him to drink!?! God did he look rough the next morning, in fact if you're reading this Stu maybe you out to try partying every night before a shoot?

How do you baffle the German's? go Baaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh! when a veteran welsh geezer goes upto collect his prize!

NEFTA Closed.

Nice to go to a local shoot, whilst I do enjoy going round the country it is nice not to travel too far sometimes.

Huntington, what a place, can we have a grand prix there next year, oh please, please, go on. Superb mature woodland that offers so much potential, after speaking to one of the guy's from the club hopefully it's going to undergo some major changes to help it realise it.

The day started, well at 11 O'Clock when we arrived, bright with just the merest hint of a breeze blowing through the trees , the last time I'd visited this place it was all covered in snow! Back to the story due to the fact we'd arrived quite late it was a case of grab guns, find anyone who hadn't shot already and start shooting. Tim Finley drew the short straw and ended up shooting round with me & Amanda. Yes she did actually shoot, wonders will never cease.

Tim shot first. Amanda next, then me. First two targets dropped for Tim, bad omen, Amanda hits one and misses the next luckily for me both targets drop. The next lane Tim drops both, this is going to get boring, Amanda drops both so do I. Next lane Tim does guess what, Amanda misses both targets completely Matt doesn't enagage brain and misses one but hits the next.

Need to take time out now to thank Tim as he helped Amanda a lot because after she managed to miss the next, god knows how many targets he realised she was a turn out on her scope, me I was just leaving her to it, he also gave her a lot of help with her scope, so thanks Tim as you certainly made Amanda's day.

Anyway we got to a lane with a very long target on and Tim missed, he is human honest, Amanda missed the long one but got the shortest and I ranged the first one 57 yards? no can't be give it 55 aim top of kill, luckily I'd aimed top of kill cos otherwise I'd have missed, as I saw the pellet split on the bottom edge.

Moving out from the first bit of forest there was a tricky lane set out in the open, give it plenty of windage, and down both targets fall. The next lane was back into the forest again but it was noticeably the wind had changed direction I managed to drop the first two targets but at the next lane there was a target set part way up a tree, gave it an inch only for it to clear the kill - doh!

Amanda was enjoying herself now as she was hitting a few targets, Tim the indestructable was still only one down. I don't know what he's been upto but he seems to have found his form /enthusiasm for the sport once again. Down the bottom of this section of forest the course turned back on itself for the final couple of lanes, there was only one dodgy moment for me and that was the final target, again set in a tree, with an audience watching , the wind had decided to pick up and I just couldn't make my mind up what to do with it, oh just give it edge! I actually followed the pellet through the air in slow motion I could see it moving across the kill, all the time I was thinking noooooooooooo, but just as it reached the middle of the kill it stopped moving across and hit the centre, why can't they all be that obediant. I finished on an amazing, for me, 38 Tim on 39 and Amanda with a superb 18.

At the presentation Amanda was pleasently suprised, no not only by Andy being stripped to just a pair of shorts! I had to hold her back - honest, but she had taken fourth place in C grade, she was well happy. Tim was involved in a four man shoot-off for second place but man of the match was Ian Taylor with a superb clearance. Time for me to start packing for Norway - see you soon.

Daystate Hunter Shoot

Not much for me to report on here didn't shoot the event, attended it though.

The event was run to the usual high standards, set by Redfearn's, pretty much everyone who attended the event left with a smile on their faces and that is what the event was all about.

Got to try the new range of Daystate Rifles, that MK 3 sure is nice, also had a good look at the Bushnell range of scopes.

N.S.R.A. Championships - Bisley.

After the trials and tribulations of going round the country shooting comps it's always nice to have a week off, at least that was the idea. 30 minutes after leaving Doveridge the text messages started "Oh please say you'll come to Bisley to shoot, we'd be lost without you, oh great one!" more like "You Northern monkey &*%"!""!*%& come to Bisley!" So it was at 4:45a.m. the alarm went off on the Sunday and we laid there thinking are we mad or what?

Paul was camping for the weekend, as this shoot also coincided with the Commonwealth games, speaking of which I'd like to thank the national media for getting behind the competitors in the shooting arena, aint I good at digressing. As I was saying, before I rudely interrupted myself, Paul was camping for the weekend as he was intending having a look at all the events I was just interested in having a good look at the pistol shooting cos I'd like to have a go at it during the winter. Digressing again, int Bisley Brilllllllliant if ever you get the chance to go and you've never been before do so.

Why did I go to Bisley, oh yes the FT Shoot! Arriving at Bisley to glorious sunshine it was always going to be a good day, quite a few northerners had turned up, well 3 proper northerners, me + Amanda and Paul W and a handful of midlanders, you've just got to remember that anything north of Watford is classed as a pukka, I'm beginning to sound like Lee's pin up bloke - Jamie "Cheese and Biscuits" Oliver - everyday!, Northerner to the Bisley lads!

The course was set out in kind of the reverse of the grandprix that was held there earlier on in the year, it started in Lee's home, the swamp area, the first two targets didn't seem too bad but Paul managed to miss dial the first, at least that's what I thought as he missed it the next one struck somewhere on the target, he didn't see where. I sat down and did the same, at least I saw where my two pellets went. The next lane again the targets didn't seem too bad Paul proceeded to miss them both, I miss the first one again high so time to knock 3 clicks off and down the target falls. Unluckily for us Lee was marshalling so he was shouting and bawling at us Northern *£"$%^* for missing such easy targets saying how he was going to clear it today, we'll see.

At the next lane I'd obviously got things sorted and the targets started to fall Paul was still struggling first he knocked five yards off his ranging still not good enough eventually at I think the eight target he started to hit things, he'd knocked the equivalent of eight yards off!

As I said I'd started to hit things now, at least when I remembered to knock three clicks off, I had however managed to miss too many, I'd dropped five, to be in any serious contention as Monty and Cliffy came back with a 35 and a 34? they were on their way to query a target, there was no way on this earth I wasn't going to drop any more.

Moving out of the swamp area to the first bit of wooded area, how nice it was to get under some shade, I miss dialled some more targets - engage brain before shooting me thinks - Paul was on fire he stormed through this section in fact I don't think he missed any!

Time to move back out into the blazing sunshine, "cor blimey mister, luv a duck" - in northern speak "isn't it warm". Paul missed a couple when we came out into the open, I however was back to hitting the targets, thank god. Down this home straight I again didn't engage brain and missed some stupid targets Paul, after missing the earlier ones didn't put a foot wrong and duly cleared the rest of the course. I finished on a 29 I think Paul finished on a 26.

Time to have a drink, whilst waiting for Lee to come back we decided to slope off to one of the many bars on site, Monty was sat at his car so we asked if he wanted anything and just to confirm what's always been known about southerners he asked for a shandy!!! Not wanting to look like a tourist I though it better that I too had a shandy, don't want to upset the locals!

Returning to the cars just before leaving Lee was behaving very sheepish, "how did you get on Lee?", "%$^^&*!" Time to go home!

G.P.6 - Doveridge.

Obviously I'm not the only one to issue wrong directions - firstly Steve Page, then Dave Baines gave me some directions with the wrong junction off the M1, it's funny how us northerners struggle with A's at junctions!!

We'd been warned before about the weather at Doveridge and after struggling in the conditions on the Saturday practising, up North, I certainly expected the worst. Amanda wasn't too bothered as the wives, girlfriends, other halfs, whatever you want to call them had organised a picnic with enough drink to sink a battleship. All I can say is it's surprising what you learn about people after they've had a drink or three, white chocolate magnum anybody??

The day had started well, the sun was shining, the sky was blue all the way down the country, that is until you got to Doveridge, all of a sudden the sky turned grey the temperature dropped about 10 degree's and the wind picked up. Little Kev greeted us and told me to book in before the weather got any worse! Whilst waiting to book in tales about the showdown held there abounded, how people coming off with 4 targets had won their rounds!! It looked windy but not that bad.

Even though I'd booked in, I decided to marshall first to get an idea of what was happening. Barry Longbottom was the first through, makes a change from Dave & Trev - apparently their car had broken down so they were a tad late. Barry doubled his score on my lane, lane 4, from 1 to 2! Stuart Hancox came through and left with 3 ex 8, this didn't look good if the current world champ leaves lane four with 3ex8 what hope do us mere mortals have?

Lanes 1 to 4 were set across a bit of a pond and whilst it was noticeable that the reeds weren't moving I'm certain I saw people surfing on the skim of the water as it was howling through, many a blank face did I see leaving the pond area. The weather conditions sure dictated the scores, whilst the first five or six shooters through were struggling, the next 10 or 15 all came to my lane and left on 6ex8, then came another period of really low scores. Thankfully my marshalling stint came and went rather quickly, not usually the case if you marshal first although I think it was a case that most of the shooters wanted to get the shoot over and done with so hurried through.

Now then when should I shoot? Should I hang on a bit longer and hope the weather gets a better or should I shoot now?, all the locals were recommending that I should go round ASAP, I needed a drink and something to eat first. Amanda and the ladies, I'll bet they've never been called that before - god I'm going to get some stick when they read this, had been on the wine and nibbles If Lee "Pauline" Highton had have known there was cheese and biscuits on offer he'd have been straight across, let alone the possibility of drunk women!

Fed up at listening to the drunkards so went round the course, was following Wayne Hudson with Pauline Baines jabbering behind so even if I shot awful I'd at least have a laugh or too. The first lane had a target set on the floor in a field, with the second set up in a tree and with the wind howling I was surprised to see Wayne drop the first too targets. Not that I'm saying anything about his shooting, it was just an awful first lane in those conditions. Time to sit down, now how much to give the first, 45 yard'ish give it second dot on the left hand edge of kill, down she goes. Second target 2nd dot again and much to Bobby banks's surprise, he was marshalling, the target falls flat. Who said Doveridge was a hard course!

It didn't last long as at the very next target I split on the right hand side, the paddle went back put came forward under the pressure of the water on the reset cord, oh well didn't want to clear the course anyway. Things picked up again as all the next targets fell, even those awful kneelers! To say confidence was high was an understatement, came off the first 4 lanes thinking 39 isn't a bad score after all.

Target 9, where do we begin, shall we say it was a 42 yarder, it was windy and not many people had hit it? Or shall we just leave it with that I didn't engage brain so the target stayed up? The first option I think! 42 bleedin yards, yes there's a strong wind, I'd normally would have given it 1/2 inch off kill, but decided to be safe and give it edge of plate fully expecting that if it missed it'd be on the left hand side of the target, wrong. The pellet cleared the kill and only just grazed the right hand edge! Time to re-asses the situation, next target 40 yards more acute angle in the wind gave it shed loads, that means a lot, down it went. Oh well 38, I can cope with that.

The next lane, a set of standers, was good. The trick was to pull the trigger as you blurred by the direction of the target and just hope you hit the faceplate. Must admit to being pleasantly surprised at getting these two targets, yes I know they were only 17 & 22 yards but in that wind. Targets 13, 14 and 15 all fell obediently and the confidence was returning. I think up to this point Pauline Baines had hit a couple of targets, Lee "how now brown cow - I'll just have Cheese and Biscuits" Highton came by muttering something about 17 and no it isn't his age, the misses on the day or IQ.

Major brain fart, I totally lost the wind. Yes, I agree that sentence could have been funnier but it's late at night I've had a hard days work and my fingers are hurting from all this damn typing. Where was I, target 16, 50 yards give it lots, damn pellet cuts through the air like an extremely aerodynamic pellet should and flys straight, target 17's pellet is still going, in fact if anybody finds a .177 calibre Daystate pellet lying around could they return it please. Now then 36 yeah I don't mind giving the other competitors a chance.

Targets 18 & 19 don't even go there 47 & 40 yards give them edge of plate only for the pellets to clear the kill, was closer on the 47 yarder though! I blame Pauline for missing these as she's going on about her trousers falling down! Target 20 fell, amazing. 34 must try harder next week!

Not really believing what had happened on the previous couple of lanes I approached targets 21 & 22 with more caution, sod it give it second dot as if by magic the targets fall. Pauline was starting to mutter that she was going to shoot for herself now and the targets started to fall for her too!

23, 24 & 25 again managed to elude my pellets, whilst they fell obediently for Pauline p'haps I should follow her lead and shoot myself, sorry shoot for myself. Was starting to panic a bit as the thought of Pauline beating me reared it's ugly head. 31 there's no way she could catch me is there? Quickly dismissing that thought target 26 a 52 yard target fell, thank god.

My luck was holding out right up until I sat down to the next lane a longer target, somewhere around 52 yards went dead straight and it's mate at around 42 only just hit plate! Maybe there'll be a special trophy to the person with the most misses at the last event? No Lee's probably got that.

The standers at the next lane deserve a paragraph in their own right so here goes. The first was mounted sideways on halfway up/down a tree at 42 yards, the gun feels right the cross hairs barely move and dink the target stays up, The second around 30 yards falls obediently. Pauline strolls up still muttering that she's shooting for herself, loads the gun gets blown violently all over the place whilst trying to hold her trousers up, she looked like she was conducting an orchestra with the gun for god's sake, and the damn target falls so does the closer one. The nerves are really getting to me and I promptly miss the next two targets whilst Pauline drops them, the targets that is! 26 oh well I didn't want to win a grand prix this year anyway - Pauline how many have you got so far!?!

Time to really concentrate as Pauline has now cleared the last 12 or so targets, whilst I .......................haven't. Trev Ryan came across to see how I was doing he could see I was distressed, he was totally in awe of Pauline and was definitely watching the technique. I'd had enough so thought I'll give the rest 2nd dot off the right hand side of the kill and the targets started to drop - why hadn't I just done this the whole way through, naw too obvious. Anyway the last of the targets came and went and I finished on a 26 not too bad when you look at how some of the faces had done, but could have been better oh well there's always next week.

Nearly forgot to mention Pauline cleared the rest of the course to finish on a 24, rumour has it that she's taken Lee's place in the team for next year, I wonder who started that rumour?

Also nearly forgot to mention throughout the grand prix series I've been shooting for Anschutz, hang on a mo just need to check I've spelt it correctly now where did I put that gun, and after the last event we were in fourth place behind Air Arms, by one point, so we needed to beat them to finish third. Luckily some of our teams shooters weren't as crap as me and we finished second on the day behind Ripley thus allowing Anschutz to overtake Air Arms in and also for us to finish just one point behind Daystate in second. I'd just like to thank my fellow team mates - Daniel Eley, Russell Grew, John Briscoe, Little Dave Corns (have you seen the size, heightwise, of this guy), James Griffiths, Dave Doe, Cliff Church and Colin Eaton oh and Dave Welham and the rest of the Airmaster's/Anschutz team. Overall Team Positions were :- Ripley, Daystate, Anschutz, Air Arms and Zenith.

G.P.5 - Redfearn's.

Twas Saturday evening all was calm, then the sirens started, were we being invaded? No. Had there been a nuclear accident? No. The Bisley lad's were en route! aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!

What can I say, you allow the animals out of the zoo, get em special passes to go unchecked at border control (watford), book a table for 14 give em the wrong directions to the restaurant and all they do is phone you up while you're sat outside the restaurant and nag you until you have to go and find them! Things I'll do just to try and scupper the Bisley lad's efforts at beating me. I did actually ask if they'd bothered to bring a map with them all you could get from them was "Why do we need a map when we've got your directions?" Probably more like we're daft shandy drinking southerners, this should get their backs up, we don't know how to read directions let alone maps.

Moving swiftly on, oh time to go off on another tangent, did I mention that Lee "How now brown cow, I'll have cheese and biscuits for my desert and a pint of shandy, please" Highton had qualified for the showdown. I only realised after the tenth, no twentieth time I'd been text the previous week!!

Forecasts were not looking good for the day of the shoot, it was due to start off dry but deteriorate as the day progressed. Sure enough the day, if you could call it day (we went to bed at 1:15 a.m. and got up at 6:20a.m.-not recommended) started off dry but as usual the weather forecasters got it wrong as the day just got better and better.

As we arrived we were congratulated on being able to find the shoot, especially as I'd been navigating - the Bisley crew had obviously been spreading malicious rumours, I pity Paul Wheatley as he's my travelling partner for going to the worlds, they did say it was in Northampton didn't they?!?

Redfearn's has an amazing ground for holding shoot's very dark woodland, then every so often you'll make your way into bright sunshine very tough course, although some didn't think so! Arriving reasonably early meant a reasonable shoot number for a change 48!! People had obviously seen the weather forecast, damn those weather forecasters!

When we were called to shoot David "Monkey Man 3 today" Baines was coming off, 3 down, Tim Finley showed true class having cleared the course, he really is re-establishing his position within the sport after a couple of seasons, by his standards, off the pace. Not wanting to shoot first, I let Gary "jackass" Hingley go first then Little Kev, at least if they went first I'd be able to gauge how difficult the shoot was.

The first lane didn't look too bad, both visibly 40 odd yards away, not much between them, Gary hit the first and missed the shorter second one, Kev did the same, things were not looking good. Me I sat down and dropped the pair, although it must be said I took extra care on the second shot!

Kev, seemed to be struggling with his rangefinding he dropped quite a few early on, me I was fine up until target 9 when I lost direction - somewhere around 35a or was it 35, get it, ranged it at 55 just for the shot to strike high out of the kill, doh!! Target 10 went down nicely but on target 11 a huge distance of 46 yards saw me have another brain fart and snatch at the shot!

Target 18, now this one baffles me I range it at 52 this is confirmed at 52 using a laser rangefinder and the shot struck high. Only thing I can think of it was a duff pellet one of the Bisley lads must have slipped it into my pouch - ooh err.. Kev was doing a lot better now, in fact a hell of a lot better as targets were falling regularly, couldn't comment on Gary as he was way in front now.

Lee was marshalling, over the other side of the course and he stuck 4 fingers up at me, now either he was re-enforcing a two-finger salute or it meant he'd dropped four, still not sure as I haven't seen the results.

Targets were feeling sorry for me as they kept on falling, doesn't happen very often, that is until target 27, yet again I got the range correct but the pellet struck high, must have been another duff pellet from the Bisley lads. I was now four down, same as Lee, there was no way I was going to drop another! Amazingly I didn't, the only target I was unsure of was 31 the 15 yarder set at one hell of an angle up a tree and that's a huge understatement.

Time to nip back get something to eat and marshall, just arrived at the food wagon to be greeted by the hostess with the mostess, Rick - he'll make someone a wonderful wife one of these days, managed to get the last of the bacon, sorry Sid "He came, he saw, he went home hungry" Bennett. those bacon sarnies were loverrrrrrrrrrrly.

Had what must arguably have been the best lane to marshall, lane 13, one hell of a sun trap, time to strip off, heck if I can't win a shoot by normal means I might as well win it by foul and they don't come much fouler than me with hardly any clothes on!

Tony Cook was one of the first to come through my lane with his new Ripley, superb piece of kit! Tony's one of the sports gents no matter how he shoots or what goes wrong with his guns, and believe me he's had the worse luck of anyone I know, he just laughs. Speaking of which, this new Ripley of his, he'd just fitted a sling and swivels and was carrying it over his shoulder when the top swivel snapped depositing his new rifle on the ground, all the time he's telling me this he was laughing. If it had been me I'd have been in tears, mind you I am an honorary soft southern…………….

The scores that were coming through looked extremely good, I lost count of the number of people who got to lane 13 four down, there were a few two down as well Paul Wilson being one. Steve Gallop was having a bit of a nightmare, he's got reg problems at the moment, knowing Steve these won't last long as he's one hell of an engineer. After he'd been to lane 13 though he went and cleared the rest of the course.

I was just cooking nicely when Steve Page came and replaced me, he'd been four down at lane 13 then dropped a further 3 targets to finish on a 33, not like Steve at all. Walking back to the car I bumped into Harry from Redfearn's, shooting a tx200, someone was just remarking he could do with a new pair of glasses just for him to turn round and say these were his new pair, less than a week old! Time to take them back, methinks?

All too soon the shoot was over, it seemed to go on uneventful, I suppose when you put the time and effort into a course it pays dividends on the day of the shoot, very few whistles / stoppages, hardly any whinging.

On returning to the stats tent I found out I was due to be in a shoot-off for second place with somebody called Lee Highton, whoever he is obviously too scared to face me as he run off home. Can't think why he only lives 41/2 hours away, somewhere around Junction 35a? So I took 2nd place in A grade, hurrah I hear you're all shouting all except the Bisley crew…………………..sorry Boys & Jen.

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P.S. Lee did you know I'd qualified???

G.P.4 - Iceni.

After the previous shoot it was a pleasure to see, when getting up at 5:45 a.m., the sun was out smiling with just a slight breeze to cool things. The gun had just about dried out, and the pellets had gone white and furry, perfect for a days competition.

Upon arriving the day took on it's familiar routine, Lee "Soft Southern ****" Highton wanders up to meet and greet us, after the usual insults he shows off his qualifying gun the LR90 and declares to everyone that today's the day that he joins the county's elite shooters and if he doesn't he's gonna batter everyone who mentions qualifying round the head with it, just kidding. At this point Moses walks up and asks if we knew that he'd qualified and asked if Lee had! I aint going to write the response.

Upon booking in I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was number 77, not too bad considering how late we'd set off and considering the number of cars. The shooters were filtering through without too much trouble, scores were looking very good so if Lee was going to qualify it'd take an extra special effort, don't you think it's good how I'm building his part in the story I'll bet you can't wait to read on and see how Lee manages to save the world, get the girl, qualify and live happily ever after!

Time to walk the course. The shoot was set in mature woodland at the bottom of the plinking range, god what a difference in temperature there was, from bright sunshine to underneath the canopies of trees, it was certainly going to play havoc with the Leupy users, more specifically me. The targets didn't look too difficult although some were set down dark tunnels, they didn't seem too bad until I got to the first kneeling lane! First target 50 odd yards, confirmed at 51 yards with a laser rangefinder, after the shoot, what a target. Moving along to the sander's there was an equally as long stander, that was enough for me, time to go back to the plinking range and practice.

All too soon my number was called, scores that had filtered back looked very good Lee had done a 35 (would it be enough?) Dave "Where's the shooting competition mate" Baines did a 38, can I go home now? Check the gun on the plinking chrono 784 time to move down to the shoot chrono, moses had earlier been turned away to alter the power on his gun, he always runs well within the limit so I was a little worried about my rifle. Anyway it seems the chrono's were reading very close together, I got a 789, at least that was a good result.

The first target set up a tree about 25 yards away looked simple enough and down it went, I should have quit whilst I was ahead, the second set slightly downhill I struggled to parallax and up it stayed, time for excuse #1 It's a new scope, only had it 6 months, and I'm having problems getting used to it. Target number 3 I had the same problem with, seem to remember I got it at 55 yards and hit it high so it must have been 51/52 yards. Luckily number 4 went down, 50 % aren't I doing well. Ian Taylor was clear and after telling him what I was getting them at he said I was way out.

The 50% theme continued for the next couple of lanes, I hit target 5 missed 6, 7 and got 8! Lane 5 down they both went, wa-hey! first clear lane boy am I on a roll, don't stop me now I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball............sorry about the queen song at least with you reading this you can't hear me singing it.

I knew it couldn't last as I miss the next target high and hit the next one after that, just above 50% now, damn I'm good! The confidence continued with the next shot but faltered on target 14 and 15 as I missed them both low, time to wrap the gun & scope round the nearest tree, anybody want a cheap banana shaped Anschutz & 20-50 Leup?

Suitably modified, it fits me a lot better now - honest, targets 16, 17 and 18 fell obligingly, hadn't they read the script? Target 19 had as it stubbornly stayed there laughing - 60% crap. Then something happened, Moses must have had a word with him upstairs, targets started to fall. No matter how hard I tried the targets fell, whooooooooopppppppppppppeeeeeeeee!!!

Oh where shall I aim on this target, oh straight down the middle, and this oooohhhhhh let me think, straight down the middle. Lane 14 a whistle had been given cos one of the kneelers, target 28 had moved and you could see daylight. I had to check the target through the scope, " Spot on Mate", the marshall returns and blows for a restart, time for brain fart, go for the target, drop it, only to be told I've shot 28 not 27, oh well didn't want to finish on 32 did I!!!! Made sure it went down again the second time, bleeding thing!

Engaged brain for the rest of the course and cleared it, jolly good show I can hear you all saying - yeah right. So finished on a 31 not happy, don't think I'll be back here in a long time, set off home at 4:30 arrived back at 8:30 not a good trip back at all.

Back to Lee, as mentioned earlier he was shooting his self proclaimed qualifying gun and finished on a 35, jammy git, well done that man. He'd managed to slay the dragons, kill the ninjas, stopped the madman who was trying to take over the world and get the girl, I'm getting carried away now - the men in white coats have come, but did he qualify? Well when he left he'd been and told everyone that he had, now bearing in mind that he left before the final shooters had finished and he doesn't have access to a computer don't you think it'd be funny to tell him that four people had come in with 36's and that as he wasn't there for the shoot offs and the others on 35 were, he didn't qualify, I'll leave that upto the Bisley lads to decide..................watch this space.

P.S. Forgot to add..........You've finally made it in life, got a high flying job paying loads-a-money, you live in a mansion house with a gravel drive all is well. Then one morning you're rudely awoken, knowing the people concerned, at an unearthly hour, by some gun-toting nutters (to the untrained eye of course) who then proceed to handbrake turn on your drive-way when they realise they've taken the wrong turning!!

P.P.S. If you break down at the side of the road, the car not the person driving, please put hazard's on so that when I drive by, I at least know what you're doing P.W!!


G.P. 3 - Tawd Vale.

A local shoot for me, well if you can call 80 odd miles local. It's a good job I always carry the wet weather gear with me everywhere I go cos as soon as I got to Manchester the heaven's opened and it started to rain. Question - Has anybody ever been to Manchester and it not rain?

On arriving the Bisley lads greeted us, looked like they'd just jumped in a swimming pool fully dressed, at least it Qualified the fact that it was raining. Lee was moaning about having to come north of Watford, he'd forgot his passport, in fact he was so far north not only did he have his wet gear on but seven other layers to combat the cold. All this pointed to the fact that Lee was not qualified at Geography or qualified as a weather man. Anyway enough of pointing out that Lee hadn't qualified for the showdown up to this point!

The weather seemed to abate for a few minutes, but there was no way I was taking any of the gear off, time to book in. Number 58 and that was at 8:15!!!! The day started with the normal pre-shoot briefing which seemed to last for ages, although it must be said that it covered everything fully, just could have done with a bit of condensing and a bit more volume.

Upon returning to the carpark, Trev Ryan was just removing his gun with it's newly covered stock, by Hydro-graphics, bemoaning the fact that it'd get wet, Dave Baines was dutifully giving him some stick. All was well until he discovered the breech clamp screw still in his case, seems the gun aint too happy about being dressed in camo?!

Time for the first gripe, that's all I seem to be doing at the moment but oh well here goes. During the briefing we were made aware that you couldn't walk the course whilst people were shooting. What are you supposed to do until you start shooting? It certainly annoyed a lot of people, not just myself.

Whilst waiting to shoot the heaven's opened again, just as I was due to goto the practice range, there was no way I was getting the Anschutz out in this weather not until I was due to shoot at least! Paul Weatley, a glutten for punishment, was on the practice range with his GC2, doesn't he know it's not supposed to get wet? So it was time to go and annoy him and see how he was getting on. By all accounts the practicing wasn't difficult, however, rangefinding and target acquisition was! Time for him to swap to the Feinwerkbau P70 with a Leup on top.

Indications looked quite promising for the shoot, master "use the force" Baines came through and he'd dropped 4 or 5, mental note must remember to get a notepad and pen to take notes with as my short term memories getting worse! Now where was I, see what I mean, Stuart Hancox finished on a 35 and Lee certainly qualified, couldn't resist, his position in the daystate team as he was only 5 down with 3/4 lanes to go.

All too soon, in the pouring rain, it was time to shoot. What a walk to lane one, the paths were a bit lethal I nearly went bottom over chest, can't swear it's a scout camp. Getting to the start of the course I was met by Russ Spencer holding his umbrella trying to protect his gun from the elements, wasn't working! Time to chronograph the gun, can't because my number isn't due to go on, What!! Decide to check the gun anyway, always better to be safe than sorry, 782, nice one. Cards arrive just as I'm putting the gun away, the shot's still registered on the chrono, can I have my card now, no you need to chronograph your gun first, ARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

The rain was still coming down like stair rods, don't understand what that saying means but it'll do for descriptive purposes. The first couple of lanes there didn't seem to be much difference between the length of the targets, they continued to fall so that's all that matters. Lane three, dunk simple target pellet just had other ideas, oh well onwards and downwards. Didn't miss another until I got to lane 6, kneelers, as mentioned on other reports I can't get my head around kneelers so got the easy one and missed the longer harder one.

The wheels started to come off the wagon after lane 6 and I missed a few more. It was strange, the two targets that stick in my mind were when you went out in to the open before dropping down the banking. They didn't seem that difficult you could see the misses on the left hand side of the kills, also the grass moving right to left, give it quarter inch out of the kill, dunk dead straight right the second one, even more misses on the left, give it the same it's got to move a bit, dunk dead straight, b*!?*! - sorry forgot not allowed to swear.

Moving down the banking Moses, Terry Ord, was sat marshalling a kneeling lane first one dunk, second one - wait for this cos it's probably a new excuse for you - I was ranging the target, dialled it in and was just ready to pull the trigger when the wind blew and about 5 yards in front of the target I could see a single cobweb with a leaf on the very end of it. I was just watching this waft about in the wind when phunt, don't Anschutz make stupid noises, I pull the trigger, and dunk the pellet barely hits the plate - another two misses. Obviously by this point the weather had won, I was absolutely soaked and I couldn't care less, honest, where's Lee I'll cheer myself up by asking if he's qualified enough to analyse my guns performance, heehee.

After slip sliding to the bottom of the course things started to pick up and by the end I'd dropped two more to finish on a 30. Was well happy to finish, until I was asked to marshal.

Gripe number two - I don't mind marshalling, but by the time I'd put my gun away and got to my lane, 5 by the way, Stuart Lane had already got to Lane 6 and was looking none too pleased as there was hardly any shooters filtering through COs of the conditions. 2hrs and 5 minutes later after numerous gripes to the lane marshals I was taken off of the lane Stuart was well chuffed for me, NOT. He'd been the most vociferous of the two of us - he asked me to find the chief marshal and tell him to go and relieve him, Stuart, straight away, ooh er missus! So me being me I met up with Russ Spencer again and was chatting away for ten minutes at Lane 4, now remind me what was I supposed to be doing, the rain started a major down pour which reminded me to go back to the stats hut to get Stuart relieved. Waving at Stuart as we walked back to the hut Stuart remarked "Go forth and find the chief marshall" or at least something like that. Upon arrival at the hut I collared the Chief marshal who explained that due to the weather and a slight mix up people weren't being changed. I'd been back at my car for a good 15 minutes more before Stuart had been relieved, at least he had a smile on his face! O.k. I can forgive the mix up but I think there needs to be a better system in place with regard marshalling, I don't know what yet but surely we can get a better way / a way of ensuring everybody marshals during the day!

Ever heard of the saying the sun shines on the righteous, well Dave Welham must have somebody up there looking out for him. At 3:30 Dave made his way to the practice range the clouds disappeared and the sun came out! I was speechless, if it had been me waiting until last the rain would just have got worse and worse!

Conclusions - What an awful day, weather wise, good opening sermon by the chief marshal it was long but covered everything, well done. Good ground / shoot would love to go back and shoot there again. I hate marshalling ( in the rain for two hours ) I do. If you're not qualified to do so never go North of Watford! Oh well there's always next week!

Anglo-American - Redfearn's

It's been a funny old shoot, first they change the ground from Castle, in the Midland's, to Redfearn's and then they alter the format back from one day to two!? This event seems to get stick no matter what the organisers do, many people didn't like the single day format preferring the original two day event, me I think if I'm honest I prefer the single days shooting , yes it does feel as though it's slightly rushed but many people, with families, can't attend a two day event. "Enough of the moaning get on with the report!".

The weather on the run up to the event was pretty rubbish with showers and wind so it was never going to be an easy competition. For those who arn't in the know the Anglo-American consists of a 50 shot BFTA course & a 50 shot American course. Sounds simple - just one minor detail - the Americans like small kill zones read for small bleedin minute 7mm - 25mm, yet again doesn't sound too bad but just wait until you're staring at a 7 mm kill zone at 30 yards with a pellet partially blocking it!

Day 1 - Let battle Commence, DOH!

As it's now changed to a two day format shooters were divided into two groups, utilising their gradings, to ensure close competition. Being just in A grade , honest, I was lumbered with / was pleased to find I was shooting with Nick "AA 90% - honest I'm not that good really, I was just consistent over the winter league" Murphy and Bernard "I'm not really into shooting" Rodgers. After sizing each others equipment up it was time get down to it!?!

Bernard shot first 2 ex 2, Nick next 2 ex 2 and finally big useless git Matt 1 ex 2, I said I was lumbered with a pair of ringers! I may have a big gun but I don't know how to use it. I was totally wrong sided on the target, even though there was no visible wind it still shifted. The first target was a lovely centre kill, the second, well one had snook in the left hand side of the kill the other just snook in the right me gave it right hand edge just for it to sneak out right by about an inch (a splitter in Dave Baines book) Oh well I didn't want to clear the course anyway.

Things settled down a bit then all of a sudden I started missing, in fact from target 1 to target number 10 I only hit 3!! I could see where they were going, very high but no matter how many clicks I'd take off they wouldn't settle, eventually after threatening to wrap the gun round a tree + dropping 11 clicks off I started to hit things in fact I cleared the rest of the course! Finishing on 36 god that was rubbish, Nick had finished on 43 and Bernard Rodgers on 28.

Time to sort the gun out, couldn't find Kev straight away - needed his chrono, eventually found him and started to chriono the gun, 780 spot on only thing noticeably was that it wasn't consistent typicly 20 fps between shots, but still no reason for it to be 11 clicks out, so we decided to go back to Pontefract and have a mess about back there.

At Ponte on the practice range I couldn't believe it, spot on, then all of a sudden started missing high. Drop 11 clicks off start hitting things again, time to strip the gun. Eventually strip the gun, hate doing this cos I don't know what I'm doing, and under the breech area is full of oil and the hammer is also smothered in it! Dry it out, refit everything, get a zero and alls well apart from every 5-6 shot it throws a good couple of inch high. Time to clean barrel.....................................After cleaning the barrel for th ethird time, give up and go home.

Day 2 - Do I have to shoot?

Bernard was taken ill and Nick must have had enough of me on the previous days shooting so I was partnerred up with Bernards wife Christine Rodgers and started on Lane 5. After the previous days problems I didn't expect much especially as we're now shooting the smaller kills. The wind had also picked up a bit since yesterday and it appeared more understandable, at least you weren't guessing sides too much!!

Christine was all set to start shooting but in the mad rush to get to lane 5 she'd forgot her pellets, more like she realised who she was up against and realised she could beat me with them. So it was back to the car for her and a sit down for me, meanwhile on lane 4 James Osbourne was on his way to a damn good hiding from Silvia Williams all you could hear was "I'm gonna get beat by a girl" to whih Silvia replied "It's a long time since I was last called a girl!". Upon Christine's return I did the honorable thing and forced her to shoot first, no I didn't I offered to shoot first so she could regain her composure, aint I good? The first 2 shots were harmless enough and the target dropped obediently, Christine was still out of breath and missed the first but got the second. The next lane was a standing lane, at least it was a full size kill, admittedly it had 1/4 of the kill on the left handside showing daylight! Thank god it was a full size kill as I split on the right hand side, don't you find that splits rarely go? I'd certainly like to know how Dave Baines does it! The second shot went centrally.

Moving on a bit James was still shouting about being beaten by a girl, his mother does it quite often so I can't see what the problem is, sorry James had to add that bit in. One memorable lane was a 20mm kill stuck right up a tree, not very far away but the angle was back breaking. Luckily they both went, remember stick chest out as if it weren't all that hard proclaiming "Ooh that was a hard shot - shouldn't have really got that!" whilst all the time thinking flipin heck, for soft sotherners flipin heck = f*!\@'* hell, that was a lucky pair.

I was clear upto the fifth lane a 30 yarder with what looked like a 7 mm, was actually 12mm - didn't look it, kill area......... Dunk.......... Dunk........... What!?! The first split on the right hand edge the other on the left, whilst I'm licking my wounds a bit proclaiming that targets that small shouldn't be included in the comp Christine quietly sits down and drops the target both shots, obviously lucky shots - honest I'm not a sore loser!

At least the weather wasn't getting any worse, there was still a funny breeze going through the trees, but at least it was dry. Moving on to our first standing lane, a hand shaped target proclaiming to be number 1 or at least thats what I thought it meant!, 12 yards 13 mm luckily I got these Christine wasn't so lucky and missed the first high but got the second.

My gun started to play up a bit, good excuse isn't it, and I missed a couple more targets Tony Cook came by three down! Not going to mention the kneelers but the lane after a 52 yard 40 mm kill zone I hit th efirst and missed the second, don't you just hate that!

Lane 20, 35 yards 25 mm kill no wind simpe really, yeah right. Dunk..........Dunk......... First shot moves over to the right, so give it about 1/4 inch outside kill and the second shot lands ontop of the first, Damn. Next lane Aramadillo ranged it at 14 yards struck low, re-ranged it at 12 hit it dead centre, spend a fortune on guns and scopes and I still can't hit poxy metal targets or even range them, time to take up tiddly winks. I won't bore you with the rest of the details, needless to say I shot rubbish to finnish on a 37, 73 overall, useless! Christine finished on 30 for a 63 total.

Overall a good event, not for me but for everyone else, the conclusion read like my report cards at school must try harder. Oh well there's always next week!

P.S. James Osbourne was well and truly battered by Silvia Williams 34 - 40, beaten by a girlie, will he ever hear the last of it???

G.P. 2 - Broadlands.

It's never a good start to the day when you have to travel 160 odd miles to goto a shoot and a quarter of the way in to the journey you are met with heavy showers. Showers that are that bad the road is covered with standing water! Any way upon arriving at Broadlands we pull up alongside a car only for Lee "Top Honorary Northern Monkey Geeza" Highton and James "Another Southern Geeza" Woodhead to wind down their windows and say I wouldn't get out if I was you. I was all right, so was lee, we had waterproofs it didn't look like any of the others had! After donning the appropriate wet weather gear it was time to go wake Paul up, the mad man had camped.

Signs were not good, usually when we, me & Amanda, arrive Paul's usually cooking his breakfast this morning nothing was stirring, Amanda eventually woke him up by quietly talking to him asking if he was awake, more like shouting get up you lazy so and so. Paul stuck his head through the door of the tent looking decidedly the worse for wear, he'd been out with the Welsh lads!

Anyway went down to book in, was in the forties, so due to the fact of the weather being bad I decided to marshall first and try to get away early. Marshalling lane 10, targets 19-20 - one after the kneelers, scores were looking pretty poor. When the likes of Dave Baines comes round and misses the long kneeler on the previous lane and then proceeds to miss both targets on the lane I'm marshalling you know it's hard. Trev Ryan's face was a picture "It's swirling" was all he could say, I think he was 4 down! The weather couldn't make it's mind up one minute it'd be torrential rain the next bright sunshine.

One gripe here, as mentioned before, I don't mind marshalling but I'll never volunteer to Marshall first again - most of the other competitors who marshalled first said the same, we were on there for well over the usual time. To cap it all at the end of the shoot they changed the format to buddy marshalling. For me those who don't Marshall should have their score voided for the shoot, or give them 1 %. We know who does and doesn't Marshall, as a list is kept, so it wouldn't be too hard to check up on. Enough of the rant, back to shooting.

By the time me and Paul had come off the course and gone back up to the cars to get our guns the weather looked a bit brighter all be it windier. News had filtered through that Richard Beaugie had struggled and so had Stuart Hancox (although he claims to have an excuse that he broke his thumb...........Wimp), Dave Baines had kept his cool and finished on a 35 though, so there were some good and some awful scores coming through. General consensus was 30 looked to be a reasonable score.

Due to the bad weather I'd decided to use my 20-50 Leup as it's got extra windage dots on the horizontal cross, but again due to the previous weeks bad weather hadn't had chance to swap it onto my CRX so shot it on my Anschutz. It seemed like a good idea until I got to the chronograph, where it failed, I'd just recharged the gun so after blowing off about 15 shots the gun settled at it's usual 780 fps setting, thank god!

Ian Taylor and Chris Smith were on in front of me and Paul so after watching Ian clear the first two targets it didn't look that bad, Chris hit the close one and missed the long one, Paul sat down with the Feinwerkbau that I'd sold him the previous day and got both - aiming dead straight, mental note :- never sell good guns, me I sat down range found the first, 35 yard reducer, and promptly missed it! The wind was swirling and it totally wrong sided me the second longer shot - bear in mind the wind seemed predominantly going left to right - I gave right hand edge and down it went, maybe I should shoot off 16 shots to allow gun to settle, good excuse for missing first target don't you think??

The next lane Paul dropped both targets again only for me to dunk.........dunk......oh well there's always next week, o.k. I'll shoot 18 shots off after filling the gun. Bad thoughts were crossing my mind but on the third lane I decided to slow down a bit - I was using 45 seconds for both shots - this changed it around for me and the targets started to fall. It was a good decision to shoot with the 20-50 rather than my normal scope as the extra dots certainly came in handy for the longer ones!

The first standing lane was a good one, everything so perfect then the wind blew, lucky for me I pulled the trigger in the wrong place, cos if I'd have pulled it where I'd wanted to I'd have missed both standers. I didn't miss another target until the kneelers, got one missed the other, don't recall which way round - 4 down not doing as bad as I thought I would. Paul was struggling big style after the first two lanes he just couldn't pull it together.

Onto lane 10 and down they both went. Again the wind was howling through, swirling around, so many a time I 'd change my mind at the last minute. People were coming up saying this was the easy part of the course and to wait until getting to the corner, if this was easy I was dreading getting to the corner!

Anyway I dropped another target that just went out of the kill 5 down, but still well chuffed with my scoring. Onto the last lane before moving across the bridge onto the dreaded corner, I think it was lane 13 / 14, not too sure, will have to carry a notepad and pen as my memory aint what it used to be.

The first target fell didn't need any windage, it was funny whilst taking the shot all I could hear was people talking about a pheasant, onto the next target and there was this dirty great male pheasant strutting around in front of the target! I don't know wether I was too engrossed in watching that or what but I totally miss ranged the target - I seem to remember getting it at 50 yards when it was nearer 55. Doh!

The dreaded corner, much was said about this corner and the remaining targets, I was one of the lucky ones I guess, whatever I did the target fell, boy was I glad for that third windage dot.

Onto the final two lanes and I could either finish on a 33 or a 29, the wind howled through and it started to rain - at least it had held off for most of the competition. The first target was set up on a spike, due to the wind I wound the mag right down and gave it shed loads. For none "Northern Monkey's" that means I aimed off the plate by a good few inches.

It's a good job I did wind the mag down, otherwise I wouldn't have seen the pellet fly about 4-5 inches the other side of the target how much wind?!?! The next target was on the floor so I gave it the usual second dot only to see it strike the other side of the kill, at least I hit metal!

So now the final lane, kneelers, could finish on a 31 or a 29, wind was still gusting so as the first was up on another spike gave it the corner of the scope on the kill, again missed the target completely, hoh hum - was well gutted, the next one I wobbled at the right moment and the target fell. Finished on a 30 over the moon. Paul had come off with an 18, but he was also happy and looking forwards to next weeks Anglo-American to be held at Redfearn's ground, places still available see events for further details, Dave "Monkey Man" Baines will be putting the targets high up up in the trees and in Holly bushes, will be a good shoot, just expect extremely small kills....................

Oh, forgot to mention the top score of the day, 36, Josh Garwood and Dorian Falconer tying. Dorian was seen earlier in the day leant up against a tree in the rain!! He was tired, bless him, after doing a 36 in those conditions he was bound to be! Nothing at all to do with the previous evenings pub crawl / pub sit in!

Daniel Ryan Memorial shoot in aid of Turnshaw Special School

FT Shooters are very egocentric, the world revoloves around them, no one or nothing is more important than winning it is the be all and end all, all they care about is winning. Terms often used to describe what we do as a sport, often by the people who have little or no experience of FT. If only they could have been there on Sunday 19th May to witness what went on at this shoot.

Everyone within the sport was shocked when they heard that a member of the fold, Trev Ryan, had lost his son, Daniel, a short while ago. Indeed the number of clubs that sent their condolences showed what a well loved and respected member of our sport Trevor is / has become and when it was announced that this shoot was going ahead, even those who couldn't attend made donations.

Given the previous weeks bad weather I didn't expect the weather to be as good as it turned out to be, I'd seen the forecast earlier on in the week and it had been for heavy showers all weekend. Kev Sayers and his better half, Sam, came up and stopped at my house and he was only too happy for me to make bacon with Sam all weekend (see picture below!).

Upon arriving at Emley's ground we were surprised to see the turnout, you couldn't have asked for anymore, we certainly had problems getting parked! Anyway the day started off with a slight wind blowing across the course, early indications were that whilst it looked a tough course the scores were really high. Dave Baines & Trev Ryan had dropped 4, Stuart "Ripley Man" Hancox was on for a clearance, he'll make a good shot one day maybe even get to win the worlds!?!

When it's such good weather I never feel like shooting even though the breeze was getting stronger but after much badgering, by Kev, plus also hearing that Stuart had cleared the course we thought it would be better to go on now rather than wait any longer.

Approaching the first lane it was obviously not going to be as easy as first thought, people were either missing the first or second targets, I sat down and missed the second. How do the faces of FT manage to do it? I mean there was nothing moving out there, other than my pellet across the Kill zone! Anyway, back to the story. The course made it's way down towards the carpark area, down a set of steps where it gently starts to sweep round the back of the parked cars, now this corner is where I always goto pieces. The wind now seemed to be blowing over your back, admittedly it was quite strong but I banked on it possibly pushing the pellet down, it didn't it went up and across to the left, crashed and burned - another target missed.

Moving along the back of the car park targets were dropping by aiming straight at them and it was going swimmingly until a set of kneelers. What can I say about Kneelers - If anybody can show me how to become a reasonable shot at kneelers then please help me out - they weren't even that particularly long, I just couldn't get comfortable on them. The next two targets again didn't seem too bad but the pellets had other ideas, they came out right! Never in a month of Sundays would I have given them left hand edge.

Again things started to pick up, until Kev definitely killed a target, so whilst waiting for He-man Trev to man handle a huge log and plonk a new target onto it it was time to start with the abuse. You see the thing was as Trev was walking his neck was getting redder and redder, his arms longer and longer. People were speculating how quick he'd be able to move if the whistle had been blown!

Standers are, I find, an acquired taste, you either love them or hate them. I seem to be very lucky when it comes to standing and they both went, god knows how with all the abuse I was getting. Once again though after stringing a few targets together I began to miss big style! I could hit the first but would never get the second!

So it followed right upto and including the final lane, Kev finished on 23ex40 and me on 24, oh well there's always next week!

For competition pics click here


After the shoot the shoot offs were undertaken and the prizes given out, a raffle had also been organised and people collected their winnings, me I spotted that Kev had won a bottle of wine on the raffle and a box of prems! The jammy git he even got four numbers on the previous nights lottery. Three raffle prizes were left unclaimed so a bit of an auction took place for two whilst the final prize was given to Pat Osbourne for being Chef on the day.

One thing to stick in my mind was that, unlike normal competitions, no-one seemed to want to make an early get away the atmosphere was that good people just stood and chatted away!

When I eventually made it home, and also after demolishing Kev's bottle of wine I spoke to Trev to basically go over the days events and ask for a few details about his son for this article, all he could say was "When I got in our lass asked me how it'd gone and she was gobsmacked when I told how many people were there and how much had been raised. I'd just like to thank everybody who contributed / made the effort to attend the event, I'm overwhelmed by it all. I can't say anything else other than Thanks!".

At the last count the event had raised £703, the number of competitors that booked in was 96.

Me & Sam making bacon (not only do they speak funny in the midlands they play strange games!)


GP1 - Bisley

I'd never been to the home of shooting before, Bisley, so was looking forward to it so much so we set off at stupid O'clock, to those who don't understand stupid O'clock = very early in the morning, to ensure we - the better half and I - could make a day of it.

Upon arriving at Bisley I was disappointed to see how small an area it actually took up, not, the shooting ground/camp whatever you want to call it is flippin massive what more can I say, 300 metre ranges, 1200 metre ranges you name it they've got it. I was that much in awe of the site that, even though I arrived for about 8:20 I didn't actually book in until around 9:30'ish and ended up being number 91 boy was I feeling a bit silly at not booking in earlier!

Anyway plenty of time to waste, go watch the guys shooting at the deer targets, with Gary Hingley and Kev Sayers, dialogue goes a bit like this, Gary "Why them wearing those ear deflectors?", Me & Kev "Don't know, mate", Boom, Boom-Boom, Gary & Kev & Me "Oh my gosh that's rather loud!" as our ears start to screech. It wasn't just the noise it was the feeling you got in the gut from the after shock, even though we were stood about 10-15 yards away from them, also when you were watching the shooters who were prone the ferocity of the recoil was lifting their upper bodies off of the ground! Amanda and Kev's other half, Sam, had quickly legged it to Gary's car and shut the doors, they'd decided that they weren't going to stop, the shock of the noise had made them feel like they needed retail therapy.

The plinking range was well laid out, plenty of targets and a chrono, although there didn't seem to be anything moving many people were saying they couldn't get their guns to group. I personnally don't see the problem as I can't get mine to group on the best of days, or rather the gun does it's bit, it's just let down by the prat behind it.

The new format of booking in seems to be running smoothly and I for one applaud any system that allows better movement of competitors through the course. For those that havn't attended a grand prix before I'll explain - On booking in you are allocated a number / Raffle ticket with a shoot number on - shooters numbers are then called out in batches of ten for you to shoot, simple really.

Walking the course it didn't seem too difficult, they never do until you come to shoot them. Only concern in the first ten targets or so seemed to be a stander, it was at close range but set high up in a tree and after seeing some of the faces miss it, confidence wasn't too high. Although saying that early Indications were scores were going to be high, had just heard Bobby Banks had put a 38 in when I was told Tim Finley had beaten it with a 39!

All too soon it was time to shoot, first job was to get the gun chrono'ed. Now on the one at the practice range my gun was close, p'haps too close to the legal limit, after seeing this it was checked on the range chrono and it showed the usual setting of 775-780, however now that I was due to start shooting the range chrono again put the gun just below the limit!

The first lane and after watching the first 4 shooters, of my group, go through and miss either 1 or both of the targets it showed the course wasn't going to be easy. On the longer of the two erred on the side of caution giving inside left hand edge and that's where the pellet went. I kept erring on the side of caution for all of the targets on the first edge of the square course, even got the standers which was a surprise. I don't know about you but I prefer shooting with either strangers or close friends, it seems to concentrate me more, I don't particuarly like shooting alongside a known face from the FT circuit cos the nerves buld up and up. I was being followed by Matthew Knock, back shooting his GC2 after a brief flirtation with a Steyr, Matthew is a great guy we struck up a bit of banter as we went through the course but because I was being followed by a top shot the nerves were building up.

On turning the first corner I was clear and so was Matthew, however on what appeared to be an easy set of targets Dunk, what happened there? No word of a lie a 45'ish yard target moved a good couple of inch right to left, I started OXOing this continued for about three lanes before the nerves went. Now four targtes down I bumped into Richard "Top CRX fixing Geeza" Beaugie who'd cleared the course, amazing shooting can anybody remember when the last Grand Prix course was cleared?

Turning another corner and moving back into the wood I dropped another easy target, didn't see where it went, but was still happy, if I could finish on a 35 would be well chuffed. After leaving the wood, word from my mate Kev filtered round that he'd done a 35 excellant shooting.

Leaving the wood for the home straight the wind seemed to pick up a bit, at least you could see where it was coming from. All was going well until another 45ish yard target and I had a split it looked like it was going to go the paddle went back but no after what seemed like an eternity the paddle made it's way back forward to the face plate! If my name had been Dave Baines it would have gone seriously. Anyway pretty uneventful last couple of lanes as the targets all dropped obediantly. So I finished on a 34.

Walking back to put my gun away, prior to marshalling, I bumped into Stuart Hancox who asked how I'd got on, he'd also dropped 6, all I could say was "Remember at the NEFTA Classic you said to me, 'don't be like me and go from champ to chump in a week' well I have - 34", Stuarts reply was "Well Matt, you've always been chump on the FT course in my eyes", thanks mate!!, oh well theres always next week.

Thanks to all at the Bisley ground for making it a thoroughly enjoyable shoot with very few interuptions.


NEFTA Classic

Superb event, no matter what the weather is like in the lead up to this two day event come the weekend it's usually bright and warm and above all the atmosphere here is second to none. It's only my second time at this event, but if you've never been I can't recommend it highly enough!

The ground is one that is only used once a year so nobody can be assured home advantage, admittedly anybody who is a good standing shot is in with a shout due to the format being a 40 shot ft course coupled with 40 silhouettes each day!, and I think this is partly the appeal to the event.

Day 1

Started shooting on the FT course, due to the amount of preparation put into the design/build of the course the event usually runs without a hitch and there were very few whistles needed, unfortunately myself and Lee "Honorary Northern Monkey" Highton were some of the first to complain. A tree was right in the line of sight on our first set of kneelers, Calpin strolls casually up and hacks the thing down with a machete, might have been quicker with a chain saw but undeterred Andy was soon through it and then proceeded to do a tarzan impression as he clambered up the 10 foot bank in front of us!

Me and Lee started up at the top of the course, I seemed to be dropping low in the Kill zone whilst Lee was just scraping in the very top! Targets were dropping but then we entered the darkest area of the wood and Lee started missing big style, I was all right apart from I think the 6th or 7th shot where I dropped well low (almost cut the string with the pellet, time to start adding a few extra clicks). Apart from a few early whistles the course of fire continued uninterrupted, apart from Lee threatening to bin his gun as soon as we finished, he wasn't doing that bad! initial thoughts were it was due to a lack of lubricant the night before? Anyway I was still one down when we walked down some steps to hear Silvia Williams swearing at a couple of targets, on closer inspection I put it down to the fact the longest looked well over 55 Lee agreed, at least until he ranged it and he swore. To cut a long story short, this over range target was 45, yes 45 yards and it's partner which I'd have put at 45 was at 32!

Whilst I was doing reasonably well John Mclean, who was shooting with Dorian Falconer, told me he was still clear! Anyway we made our way round to the start of the course, Lee had stopped missing them, the new excuse was, wait for this cos I don't think you'll have heard of it before, SUNGLASSES!! Boy did Dave Baines chuckle at that one! Moving up from lane one there didn't seem much wind, it was just a case of err on the side of caution by giving it edge, scores had now started to filter through from the silhouette's James Osbourne had put a 35 in, Cliff Church had had a good one - 33.

When we arrived at our next to last lane, where we hit our first queue,John and Dorian had also caught up, John was still clear and he witnessed Silvia miss the two shots at the lane then Lee, I managed to hit the short one but was just pushed out of the kill on the long one the nerves John must have been feeling not only from being clear but witnessing us miss the targets! Anyway John promptly sat down and dropped both targets for a clearance, I couldn't have been more chuffed for him superb shooting from a top geeza. Onto our last lane I was now two down Lee was ten, pretty uneventful apart from the nerves I was feeling, Luckily for me both targets went and I ended with a 38 with Lee on 30.

Next event for me was marshaling, pretty straight forward enough, only thing I had to do was adjudicate on a target where the pellet had split and then caused a neat mark in the center of the kill, why do they always do that? If it had been Dave Baines the split would have knocked it over! I enjoy marshaling it gives you a chance to see how other people are doing. Scores were looking good, due to the lack of any serious wind so every shot was going to count for me on the silhouette's.

Silhouette's - James's score of 35 was looking untouchable but the big hitters from the silhouette game were due to go on, namely Ian Taylor and Stuart Hancox both had been practicing hard on the run up to the event so it was going to be difficult to predict. Ian started off pretty badly dropping 2 chickens he didn't look like he was settled, definitely not his cool calculated self. Lee was struggling with the wind on these and it looked like the score from James wouldn't be beat, especially when Ian eventually finished on 33. Lee seemed to string a few together but would then loose it, at least he was still smiling!

Before I was due to start I tried to work out who I'd be shooting alongside, oh christ it's Stuart Hancox!!!!! Now I like Stuart but he cracks me up, how are you supposed to shoot alongside him? Stuart started off well missing only one of the ten chicks - Ian was marshaling but was watching every shot. Oh well now it's my turn, right compose yourself, give verbal warning to Stuart to not make you laugh for him to reply "I likes them piggies I do" cue for me to burst out laughing.

All was going well for me, surprisingly so until the eighth chicken, the shot seemed good just the pellet had other ideas and it grazed the chicks beak it moved the target ever so slightly but not enough to knock it over! So I finished with 9ex10. Stuart had cleared his favorite little piggies saying "I likes them COs them big", it sounds funnier in a broad Birmingham accent believe me! Onto them piggies, It's funny but after missing that chick I seemed to calm down, due to Stuart, and the pigs just fell over. Lee was jumping up and down well happy for me.

Before I go any further I must mention Stuart, he'll hate me for saying this but, he helped me more than he'll ever know rather than being the larger than life character that he normally is he started talking to me during the shots and calming me down. Whilst I was wobbling all over on the Turkeys I'd hear "shot" and after clearing the first bank "you did clear them didn't ya?". The next 5 turkeys were the worst but down they went. Stuart finished on a 30 and as he left said good luck! Lee was seriously jumping around and cheering me on, people were looking scared to stand next to him.

Francis DeClermont had joined me on the next lane and by the time I'd hit the first 2 rams he'd fired off his first 5 shots!?! Calm down Francis, Calm Down. The next three rams for me went, luckily? The final bank were awful, you knew people were watching, the way Lee was, at least they weren't watching me! The next five rams went and the person who was more over the moon than me was Lee "Top Geeza - Northern Monkey" Highton.

Time to go home - Top shot of the day goes to John Mclean, I can't say how much it pleased me for John to clear the course, it really couldn't have happened to a nicer man.

Day 2

Not due to start shooting until 12:00 on the silhouette's so did a bit of marshaling. Everyone seemed more relaxed on the second day, although there seemed to be a few sore heads from the previous evenings beverage consumption. My one regret is that yet again I failed to see Wayne doing karaoke!

The weather forecast for the second day was to start off breezy and for the wind to get progressively stronger throughout the day, at least I wouldn't have to face the silhouette's last. Lee was in a jubilant mood so at least we were going to have a bit of fun today.

Things were going well for me on the silhouette's until the sixth bl**dy chicken which decided to stick two fingers up at me. Stuart was yet again at my side, on his way to another 30, talking me through them. It's funny but once again after the first miss everything seemed quite stable, admittedly the wind was buffeting me around but I certainly wasn't suffering from nerves. After dropping a single chick it was onto the pigs, all I can say about them is "I likes them piggies I do!" as they all fell obediently.

Lee was cheering me on again, at least I thought he was, you never can tell, they speak funny darn sarf you know!. The wind was now getting up and it was time to move onto the dreaded turkeys, these are hard enough at the best of times but in wind? Needless to say the first shot missed on the right, plan B. Use first dot, the pellet struck centrally, luckily for me the wind stayed constant and the other 8 fell. The early calmness disappeared, all I could think about was Stuart and those flipin piggies, time for plan C give huggin's of windage! wobbling between second and third windage dot eight of the ten Rams fell. Thankgod that's over. Lee strolled across to shake my hand, he was well happy for me!!

Lee was now on the silhouette's unfortunately the night time lubricant hadn't helped him too much and by his own admission he hated every second of the silhouette's. The wind had got right up and he was blown about all over, he certainly did better than I would have done under those conditions, he finished on 22, you just couldn't keep the gun steady. While Lee had been shooting me and Stuart had been keeping a close eye on Ian Taylor he was certainly showing what a star he is by getting 34 despite being on what is arguably the hardest lane, lane 4. News was filtering through of some early FT scores Dave Baines had done a blinder with a 38 and so had Andy Calpin.

When it was time for us to shoot the FT course things were rapidly going down hill weather wise, it was going to be difficult. Lee had obviously recovered by now and was knocking everything down, me I just couldn't get it right aim straight and it goes across kill, give it wind and the damn thing goes straight.

John Mclean was having another good day we were following him & Dorian and they both seemed to be dropping everything. To say I was having a bad one wasn't strictly true, it didn't get really bad until we made our way round to Lanes 1 - 8, these were the most baffling of all everytime we'd finish shooting them I'd have missed one and Lee would have cleared both targets so I'd ask Lee what he'd done everytime he'd swear blind he went straight for them, me I was giving a good inch off and still going across. By now the abuse had started "Northern Monkey", "Soft Southern Shandy Drinking ******".

Luckily when we made our way back into the wood targets started falling but I'll be honest we came to a set of standers and I missed one, but in my defence everytime I got comfortable for the shot somebody would pull a string that was in front of it! It was funny COs I must have raised the gun and lowered it about five times, Lee decided he had had enough and started shouting and balling "Would the person who keeps pulling the string in front of the standing target please refrain from doing so, as it is upsetting my shooting colleague!" honest that's what he said!

The rest of the Bisley crew came for a wander round to see how we were getting on, what a great bunch of lads definitely salt of the earth, specially GT, JW and Moses. Anyway we finished on a set of kneelers, god I hate kneelers, but down they went so I finished on a 30 with Lee on a superb 36! I went straight to the next lane to see how John had gone on, 35, unluckily he'd finished one short, I was well gutted for him.

Top shot on the day for me was Lee "Honorary Northern Monkey" Highton to come from having a disaster on the silhouette's, by his standards, to do a 36 on the FT in such testing conditions showed true class.

Congratulations to Dave Baines on taking the FT title! For the full results look here. Congratulations and also many thanks to everyone involved in the planning / organization / building of the event it certainly is one of the best in the years calendar. Also many thanks to the companies who helped sponsor / contribute to the event - Daystate - Simmons.


Midland Open

Set at a venue I've never been to before, certainly the facilities were first rate - club house with pool table & excellant sausage sarnies, numerous fishing ponds. The weather started off quite good just an extremely stiff breeze moving across the course of fire, so scores were never expected to be good. Whoever set the courses out certainly deserves a pat on the back besides the main event, there was a sporting shoot, silhouette's and a dump/vermin shoot (if the we'd have known about all the additional shoots going on I'm sure more would have attended). Anyway me and Kev Sayer's tried our luck on the sporting shoot, using kev's tx200, I must say that you become rather spoilt using precharged pneumatic gun's, we certainly had a hell of a lot of fun going back to our roots with the boinger! The scoring for this event was also something I'd not done before, 2 shot's at each target 10 for a knock down, 5 for a faceplate and 0 for a miss. Anyway to stop me waffling on about how I tamed the boinger I fininshed the 50 shot course 30 points down, Kev 65 down.

Feedback from the people on the FT course was coming through and scores did seem fairly respectable 30-32 seemed the average. We gathered our poncy precharrged gun's and headed for the start of the course, full of confidence after the sporting. Anyway first couple of targets were reducer's, so hit, miss, this seemed to carry on for the first ten targets - no matter what I did I just couldn't string two targets together, kev wasn't fairing much better I think he'd got three. Rumour then came down the line that Chris Smith had done a 34 to blow the early leaders away, also a small number of shooters were tied on 33. Overhead the clouds were gathering and I just knew it was going to go down hill rapidly, Halfway along the course I still hadn't got any better I'd only hit around ten targets kev had recovered well and was beating me and it looked even more ominous above us. At the 3/4 stage I'd had enough I just couldn't hit a thing Kev was still picking em off but we realised it was too little too late. We'd just got to the 35'th target and the heaven's opened, it hammered it down, we quickly ran round the final targets and legged it to the car.

I mentioned earlier that a group of shooters had tied their scores, Ian Taylor being one of them, well they had to have a shoot off in the middle of the wind and rain! I'd have said toss a coin but no showing what true proffesionals they are they duly shot off and got pee wet through! HEEEHEEEHEE!

Chris Smith had taken the title with a superb 34, how on earth nobody's approached him with regard sponsorship is beyond me, defifitely a Senior World Champion in the making. I fnished on a grand total of 18ex40, but was thankful I'd remaind relativelty dry. Oh well there's always next week!


Welsh Open

Set at the same venue as the final Grand Prix last year this certainly was never going to be easy. Early scores coming off were Stuart Hancock's 29ex40, Bobby had suffered a blow out. I'd set off at 5:00a.m. and to be honest after such a long drive didn't feel like shooting straight away so after setting up my new toy ( Feinwerkbau P70). It's strange you know, you get a new toy on the Thursday evening before a major comp, get a zero point for it on the Friday evening, set the parallax wheel and dialling marks on the Saturday and even though you know you shouldn't use the gun in competition you can't stop yourself using it on the Sunday. It would have been daft to use it on a flat calm day but when the winds were gusting like it was in Wales, it really wasn't a good test for the new rifle.

Before I get started with how inept I am at this game of shooting, I'd just like to say it was nice, after travelling a couple hundred miles, not to just have the main event to shoot there was certainly side shoots a plenty.

Anyway after showing myself up on the pistol course, nobody told me I needed to fill it up before shooting, doh! It was off to the main event. Now usually getting to the start of the course is a fairly easy task, not when you're shooting something that not many people have seen before! Twenty minutes after setting off to the course, 2-300 yards away I eventually got there. Word on the course was that even though about sixty shooters had gone through before only one person had hit the rat target set in the field.

The first two targets seemed fairly straight forward, give the first one right hand edge 45 ish yards…..DUNK windage would have been perfect but the pellet had other ideas and struck low oh well I didn't want to clear the course anyway. Second target falls. To anybody who attended last years grand prix the course utilised the far end of last years ground the part where you are almost facing the top carpark / field.

As I was just coming off the first lane, news filtered through that Richard Beaugie had finished with a 30 now that was going to be a tough score to beat! Anyway second lane managed to get those but certainly wasn't setting the field on fire with the new gun, maybe I should have shot the CRX. Finished the first 8 on 50%.

The wind was awful, often changing many times whilst you were sat, often Tim, I was shooting with Tim Williams, would say he gave this side and I'd go the complete opposite! There was certainly no patterns to it, apart from the patterns on the targets. Another indication of how difficult it is when you see the faceplate splattered all across it - high, low, left, right.

Anyway, eventually get to the standers, it took me and Tim 5 minutes to find them both, first one was quite easy to see 20 yards straight out in front, the second, my god, 10 yards straight down almost at your feet! Doesn't sound too difficult but when you're stood out in the open timing the shot release was crucial the first one was o.k., but when you're looking almost at your feet on 40 mag and being buffeted by wind it's suprising no one toppled over the edge of the banking - it certainly felt like you were going to.

Finally we arrive at the dreaded Rat target, still only one person had hit it with what Tim described as a split, Paul had gone before us and missed the target completely, Sylvia Williams had hit metal somewhere, Tim sat down and reckoned to have given too much. So what do you do? Simple crank the mag right down (35*) give it second windage dot - low and behold the target falls! Right I'm going home now! Onto the second target and down that goes too!?! How the hell? Everyone was quick to say how good a shot and how well planned that was - yeah this is field target shooting after all - words such as "Jammy B……" were heard.

Anyway up the back end of the course things started to improve a bit for me, Tim was still beating me by Miles that Zenith is a superb piece of kit, but it didn't matter even though the course was a killer the company was great and the weather was stunning, never thought I'd say that about Wales! The wind seemed to die down a bit and you could aim dead on for a few targets then it came back with changeable gusts yet again. The course finished out in the open field, similar to the grand prix from last year, I got the long one but missed the short one.

Overall Richard took the title with the 30 ex 40, sorry I didn't stay for the presentation but with a three hour journey ahead of me I needed to be on my way. Thanks to all involved with the setting up and running of the course and side events will definitely be back next year.

Me, I finished on 23ex40, Tim beat me by 4 to end on a 27, Paul on 20? Sylvia sorry I forgot to ask how she'd got on……………… Oh well there's always next week.


Warwickshire Open

Not a very well attended event, but thoroughly enjoyed by those who did. Set at a ground that I'd never attended before, Purly Chase, the location was stunning the course was great my shooting wasn't!

After the previous week's problems with wind and low scores, you start the course with high expectations get to the first lane Dunk, b******s, granted there was wind there but nothing compared with the previous week. It still moved the best part of an inch and a half. Second Target falls……..this doesn't bode well and this is supposed to be the easy part of the course. Oh well onwards and upwards………

Second Lane Hit the first target miss the second, maybe going out last night coming home at 2:30 then up at 5:00 isn't a good idea when travelling 100's of miles and then shooting the next day!! Third lane Paul, Wheatley my travelling companion for the day, has to wake me up to take the next shot…another 50% lane.

So it continues after hitting 5 ex 10 on the easy part of the course, it was time to knuckle down and try to make it not a complete waste of a day. Although by this point there was no way I could catch the leaders. Luckily for me it started to get a bit chilly which soon woke me up and I started to hit targets in fact out of the next ten targets I only dropped one! Oh what might have been….

The final ten now loom, in what was said to be the hardest part on the course, just give plenty off target and they'll go. For once this works targets are falling all around and again I miss one from this final ten to finish on a 23ex30.

Bobby Banks finishes on another high note by winning the comp. His parting words being that he's going for the triple with the Welsh open the following week. Mine "Oh well there's always next week!".


BFTA Championships - Inter-Regional's

It's always quite special being picked to represent your region, you've worked hard during the winter with the reward being a new cap and a trip to Newbury. Well it seems quite special until you realise you've a 2 1/2 hour drive, setting off at 06:00 in the morning, still you've a good weekends shooting ahead of you, when you get there, so why complain.

Nice to see Paul Wilson's got a new car, after the engine gave out on his old one, it go's well too, don't know what he's burning in it though I think it must be powered by an aga with the amount of smoke coming out the back. 30 seconds later put the foot down and get by Paul as it's very difficult trying to see him braking with all the smoke, plus the wind screen is now covered in oil!!!

Arriving at the ground, skidding on the grass due to the trail of oil left behind by Paul, we were greeted by a sunny if very windy ground, it's now time to leave the wife to put the tent up and for me to get some practice in. It's a hard life being a shooter you know.

Early indications were that it was a very tough course. When Dave "3 Today" Baines comes off with a score in the twenties then its bad! Shooting round with little Kev, as I call him, I hit the first target, 50 odd yards needed about 3 inch off plate, set out in the open field came to the close one and missed it! Kev missed them both. Second lane Kev missed both again and I dropped them, the targets that is, this continued up through the first 8 targets with kev on 0 and me on 5. At this point a rather bemused Ian Taylor was being beaten 3-2. I ain't going to bore you with the rest of the comp needless to say it was a killer I finished on 24 Kev had 15..... oh well there's always tomorrow. Overall there were only 4 scores that broke 30! Bobby Banks, as he puts it "Showing there's life in the old dog yet" with an amazing 34, took the title.


The main point to the weekend, for me at least, the BFTA Champs is good but I prefer the team event. The day started with what seemed to be less wind than the previous when the shooters were halfway round the course the scores were looking exceptional, Dave Baines was down three with just the home straight to contend with. The home straight, what can be said about it? It was a bar steward, think about it, say it quickly! Once again scores were low, very few 30+ although it has to be said more than the Saturday.

I shot round with Steve Gallop, very nice chap if you have to buy a Steyr seek him out, Steve was managing to knock a fair few targets down, me, well I managed 3 out of the first 8, ho hum. It was strange even though there seemed to be less wind we were giving huge amounts, I missed 3 35 yardish targets, the first I gave right hand edge - it cleared the kill and a ended up a good inch the other side, the second I gave it an inch off the kill - again the shot ended a good inch over the other side the final shot I gave a huge amount, not admitting how much, - the pellet split on the far side of the kill. Steve was seriously showing me how to shoot, he'd dropped three. Then at the top end of the course dunk......dunk....... I sat down and down the targets went, hurrah at long last.

The second part of the course definitely seemed harder than the first, when we got to the stander's I'd made a bit of ground up on Steve, although I was never going to get anywhere near him it must be said, first stander 27 yards walk in the park dunk second stander 37 yards goes over. Let me just go over that again.......short easy stander stays up.......long hard stander goes down?????

Anyway down to the last two lanes, 1st target 52ish yards straight in front down a hill wind blowing straight across it - left to right, think, think, give it a good foot of wind......Steve misses by giving it too much, yeah I believe you, he then misses the second. I sit down, look at the first target and all of the misses are on the left, maybe Steve was telling the truth?? Dare I give it a couple of inch off kill....Dunk pellets only moved maybe an inch. Right then second target give it an inch, didn't hit face plate, think it's still going now! Final lane, looks the same as the day before, give them both 3 inch of wind, Dunk......Dunk......Oh well there's always next week.


Whilst waiting for the final shooters to come in the stand off began, it happens every year, all teams seem to separate and try to work out who's winning, what scores they need from the final shooters, etc, etc. Amanda packs the tent away, ooh this camping's hard work you know. Anyway the scores are totted up and it seems the midlanders have beaten NEFTA on the count back rule. The midlanders, in their usual modest, restrained ways extend their sympathy to the NEFTA shooters! Me, I realise, I cost the NEFTA the title, poxy 27 yard stander, sorry boys.