|Dunk.............Dunk.............Oh well there's always next week - Tales from the circuit.|
|The Usual Suspects||1999||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004|
I must admit I like this shoot I do, it's the final big one of the year but it always has a great atmosphere so I wouldn't miss it for the world. I wouldn't miss it for the world? I nearly had to miss it for the brother-in-law's engagement party, which was on the Saturday night! After much begging and also agreeing to be home by 4 p.m. on the Saturday night Amanda relented and agreed I could go.
Saturday - must be back by 4p.m.
Was in the first squad, so should easily be back by four p.m. Arrived to find the normal entrance gate locked and no one around, I always have trouble getting into the ground, so off I drive to the main entrance.
Luckily for me there isn't a queue, well at 7a.m. there isn't likely to be is there, eventually after nearly killing a few pedestrian's I am directed through to a carpark! What the bleedin hell do I want with a normal carpark, speaking to the fat contrlloer, dressed as a carpark attendant he say's oh you're in the wrong area….too damn right I am. So I'm directed to drive straight through the trade stands to the FT course! 10 more dead pedestrian's, a couple of squashed dog's, a few duck's, and two squashed tents later I eventually arrive at our FT encampment! Don't you just love the European's!
Anyway arrived to find it very windy, cold oh and it had forecast rain, course. Do you ever have one of those day's where you know you're going to have a bad old day but you still can't stop yourself from continuing down the road when you'd have been better off going home to bed?
I found out that I was drawn against Little Kev and Tony Cook so at least we could have a laugh whilst we were going round. Tony is one of those guy's that no matter what happen's to him he always just laughs it off, oh a car's just run over your gun Tony, oh well not do my scores any harm hahaha.
Time to start, Kev was pushed into shooting first, then Tony and finally me. First lane Kneeler's, what the f"£$! Who in their right mind want's to start on a kneeling lane? Thinking about it though I'd rather start on a set of kneeler's than an end on one!
Where were we, oh yes, first lane kneeler's, first target was also swaying in the wind! Yes you did read that right, the first target was about 10 foot up a tree and swaying from side to side!
Kev, knocked them both down, whilst Tony missed one and I followed Kev by knocking them both over. Moving to the next lane and again Kev nails them as does Tony whilst I don't. The longer of the two I gave wind to but it didn't need any as the shot went straight, whilst the second just crept in!
It was a weird day, the wind was gusting, but the ones where you'd expect to give wind, didn't want any, whilst the ones that should fly straight were just creeping in the edge of kill.
Moving down through the lanes, it seemed like every time Kev dropped a shot in order to let me catch him up I'd miss one on that lane, whilst Tony stayed two down more than me. It had started to rain, but not just ordinary rain, cold and wet rain rain, I is not a happy bunny.
Reaching the bottom end of the course we were met by people walking to the start of the course saying, we hit one or hit two out of the last six target's, yeah right. After seeing their scorecards though, they weren't lying!
Time to enter the corner of doom, or rather the last six target's, Kev was 2 down, me 4 and Tony 6, so the scores were pretty close. It was now my luck was to change as Kev suddenly decided he didn't like hitting target's and out of these six targets he missed 3 while I missed 1 and I think Tony dropped 2. Who's scared of the corner of doom.
Long walk back to the start, and the rain was disappearing, thankgod, I'm still soaked but we only have a few more lanes to go!
So me and kev are now level and he just seems to go on kamikazee mode, well so did I as well, nothing went right, luckily for me though by the final lane I had just beat Kev by 1 target, to end up 8 down, whilst Tony was laughing at 12 down.
Time is now 12:30, so drop the gun off at the car, give Kev a quick hand spraying the targets, get a bite to eat, meet the trade and home for 4 p.m. That was the pan anyway.
I now know why people don't volunteer for jobs within the BFTA. By 3p.m. I'd been to visit most of the companies that I needed to see, so I walk back to the car, but unfortunately everyone I meet wants to know what's happening within the BFTA about this and that so by 3:45p.m. I eventually manage to jump in my car and exit stage left for a 2 hour trip home! Wifey is not going to be a happy bunny.
Sunday - must try to hit some targets!
Arrived home, yesterday, in plenty of time, honest, it's amazing what a packet of frozen peas will do to lower the swelling from a black eye! Got home at 5:15 p.m. to be honest Amanda expects me to be late so she always sets the curfew an hour before she wants me to get home! Finally got to bed at midnight and then up at 5 to get ready to goto shoot, never again.
Not shooting until the afternoon, so time for a quick walk round the fair with Amanda, Sam, Little Kev and Tony Cook. Was a quick walk round as well, we only made it to the bottom of gunmakers row before we left to go and do what they wanted, whilst we stayed near the gun's!
Speaking to some of the guy's shooting the morning session, it appeared conditions were as hard as the previous day, the forecast was for it to get a lot worse by the afternoon --oh good. Eventually the morning's session was finished, scores weren't bad but compared to previous years they were down right awful!
Thing's were going great for me today until I found out I was shooting with Moses - Terry Ord - and Nathan Reeve. At this event four years ago, moses was christened cos every time he sat down and put his eye to the scope he parted the wind - or rather the wind stopped! Just joking about things going right until I found that I was shooting with these two, don't know if we'd manage to get any shooting done with all the banter going on between us that's all.
Today Nathan was to shoot first, then moses and finally me, if I took the shot's quick enough hopefully the wind would still be calm! Nathan was off to a flyer, well that's a take the p£$$ remark, cos out of the first 4 lanes he was around 50%, me and Terry both clear or maybe one down - writing this two weeks after the event so bear with me!
Then it was like moses had flicked a switch, although he flipped it for Nathan and kept forgetting to leave it off for him and me! Mind you in my defence I had two shot's where as Moses and Nathan had both agreed there was no way I was going to get them as the wind suddenly went crazy! I was thankful for hitting faceplates, it was that bad.
Moving on and we get to the stander's, it's blowing a gail and Nathan loads his gun and the wind disspear's, two shot's taken in 10 seconds. Moses jumps up get's the first but takes his time about it, the wind is starting to reappear, and then nails the second. By the time I get to the lane the winds back upto normal, I also have Bertie, Mark Bassett, chiriping in the background saying you aint gonna get these you useless £$%^. I managed one out of the two so was reasonably happy.
Moving through the course again it was very much like Saturday in that the one's that you'd have thought needed wind, didn't whilst the ones that looked clam required edge of plate. Still it's all good fun, isn't it.
As we approach the final couple of lanes I sit down and the wind disappears so load the gun and start to rangefind, drop a forty yard target at 35 seconds, but by now the wind is here so decided to wait. We get to the final 30 seconds and the wind is just getting stronger and stronger. 20 seconds and I have to shoulder the gun and try to get the crosshairs to stay on faceplate as the wind pushes me from side to side. 10,9,8,7,6,5 and the wind decides to get even faster 4,3,2,1 snatch the trigger at the lefthand side of the faceplate only to not even strike metal! All Moses can say is that's another one you were never going to hit, not in that wind!
Final lane and Nathan misses one to finish on a 27, awful by his standards, Terry get's both to finish on a 28 as do I, I am so glad to finish! For a reason I can't go into I had to take Nathan down to a trade stand, upon returning I was told to get a move on as I was in a shoot off for 15th against Terry Moses Ord and Cliff Burt.
Luckily for me the other shooter's were taking their time's at deciding who was the best shot. 30 minute's later Terry is asked to shoot first standing at three target's, unfortunately he missed all three. I was next but hadn't rangefound the targets so the first at 30 yards I shot thinking it was 35 so missed high, luckily the second and third all went obligingly. Cliff went next and missed the first but got the second it was all down to the final target……..it seemed like an age but could only have been a couple of seconds when Cliff pulled the trigger but unfortunately for him struck the faceplate. So I had taken 15th at the Euro's.
Reflecting on this past year, as arkwright would probably say it's been a funny old year. There's been joy and also sadness but for all the sadness one thing I can say is I'm glad I've got FT in my life as the number of friends myself and Amanda have made this past year have made it all worthwhile, here's to next year.
Showdown / British Master's
We'd, me and Amanda, had driven down on Friday night called off at Alex Rowe's house, Napier, to pick up some brochure's, Friday night rush hour ……….nuff said! At least we'd had a reasonable night's kip and also it meant we only had a five minute drive to arrive at the newbury ground, which made a change.
At the ground we were surprised by the number of people actually there, I mean normally you have around 20 no show's, not this year, I think there was only three that didn't turn up!
First round I'd drawn Graham Taylor, oh well at least it meant I could have a go at retaining the plate title, well he was bound to knock me out. Well that was the idea, unfortunately Graham hadn't been reading my thought's correctly, as he dropped a shot ealry on and then missed a stander to finish 2 down from my clear! A clear, what a way to start the day, maybe I'd win the showdown instead of the plate!
This first round was certainly weird this year, Dave Baines had been knocked out as had Tim Finley - although Tim had actually cleared the course he lost out in the shoot off to Dorian Falconer! Strange some of the top shot's not getting through to the second round.
Had a bit of a wait for the next round, up against Des Edwards, so went and helped Amanda and Sam pack some goody bags for everybody.
Eventually it was time to grab the gun and start to shoot, Des went first and promptly missed one of his first shot's, as did I. For me something just didn't feel right, no matter what I changed - position wise - nothing worked and as we reached the final lane I found I was one behind, with a lane that had a 40 yard target a 50 on it.
Des sat down and only went and missed both targets, the prat!!! What to do? Ranging the first target it was missed all over the face plate, oh wee if in doubt give it nought. I was very lucky with the first shot as it just crept in the left hand side of the target.
Next target and it's fifty yards, again splattered all over the faceplate, what to do, what to do? Give it inside right hand edge, it was one of those shot's where you could follow it to the target and it never moved and down the target falls!! I'd beaten Des 14 -13, How do you go from clearing one course to missing 6 targets?
Anyway next round and I've got James Woodhead, this is where I know I'm bowing out - have you seen James's recent form!!
I was three down by the time, we'd fired eight shot's, James wasn't. there was no way I could recover from this and as we approached the last lane, a kneeler I'd lost. James went on to clear this final lane and as I sat down Mick, James's dad said come on Matt we want these in under 10 seconds. Looking at the two targets there didn't seem to be much between them so I thought what the hell. Loading the gun I snatched the shot off, quickly tried to reload but dropped the pellet, so scrabbled around for another pellet, snatched another shot off dropping the second target in the process. Mick stopped the watch on 10.2 second's! I'd even failed at this!
I was now out of the comp, hey-ho and all that, I would have liked to go another round, cos I'd have met up with Dan Eley, but it wasn't to be.
By the time I'd collected my badge it was time to go find our accommodation, we'd booked a cottage for a few day's so were l;ooking forward to a relaxxing couple of day's.
Congratulation's to Cliff Church on winning the plate competition also to John Chopping on taking the showdown and the Burris scope, excellent!
As I am trade Liaison Officer I got called to a meeting to discuss the forthcoming World Championships in England next year. I would have prefered to have shot early to be honest, but alas it wasn't to be!
By the time I had made my way upto the starting line the wind was starting to appear, oh good! Early indications were you needed to keep your wits about you as the scores that had come off so far were very high, Cliff Church 39ex40 numerous on 38. Anyway, I bumped into Dale Gath who was looking for a shooting partner, so we decided to go around together.
The course started one the left hand side as you walked up through the wood, same course as the one I'd put a 14 ex 20 in the previous day, this wasn't going to be fun!
Dale went first and got the first two targets as did I. At the next Dale again did the business whilst I was caught out by the wind! This was repeated for the next two lanes, no matter what I did it was wrong. Mind you it was a hell of a lot windier than earlier on, even the competitors coming off were saying so! Nathan Reeve was just coming off the course with another 39ex40, excellent shooting!
Anyway as we approached lane 10 Andy Calpin came running upto me saying "I don't know what is in that lube stuff you gave me, but it bleedin works!". The day previous I'd given him some Napier lube to try out when he was practising but Andy being Andy decided to use it in competition! I asked how he'd done, it was a 39ex40 and he was well chuffed, I have got to get me some of this lube!
Moving on I was still three down, but then at one of the lanes in the top part of the wood, I never even hit metal, what had happened? As I PA'd backwards the twig I'd hit on the way through to the target was still wobbling! This isn't going to be my weekend!
Dale was a couple down by now, he couldn't win the shoot but a top 10 place was still a possiblity! Anyway onwards and downwards!
Moving on to the end of the course Dale was three down and me six, unfortunately at the last lane Dale dropped another, if he had he'd it he'd have been in a shoot-off, I cleared the final two targets, congratulated Dale and went to put the gun away.
What can I say about the weekend to sum it up, I don't know really I think the whole year for me has been a bit naff, maybe it's because I have become too involved with running the sport? Who knows?
Oh well there's always next week!
GP6 - Harriers Midland Grand Prix
Was due to be gardening this weekend, she who must be obeyed had instructed me that this is what I was doing on the Friday night - but dear I have a shoot to goto on Sunday, oh come on sweet pea let me goto the shoot.
O.K. it went more like this, "You're not going shooting this weekend because the garden needs finishing!". "But, but, but…..thinking fast….I haven't qualified yet and if I do, you get to goto Monkey World while we're down there.". "O.K. but I'm not going as the garden needs finishing so shoot in the morning and get back before 2 to help and make sure you bleedin qualify!".
I didn't have the heart to tell her I'd already qualified, to be fair I didn't lie as I hadn't heard my name being shouted out at the results at Newbury, neither had I looked at the BFTA website showing the qualifiers…….honest.
So here I am 5 in the morning getting out of bed tripping over everything in the dark trying not to wake t'old cow up, in between snoring she mumbles "So you're going shooting?", Snort, "Be back for two!" S….N….O….R….T. "Yes Dear" I said dutifly.
Arriving at Harriers ground about 8 O'Clock I was greeted by the ever smiling Tony Cook who advised me to park as far away from the shoot as possible if I wanted to get away early, he even guided me into the spot!
As ever it was blowing a gale at Harriers, has anyone ever been there and it hasn't? After the usual meet and greet it was off to book in where I found out there was a Silhouette comp, mini main / vermin shoot and a golden shot as well as the main event, would I like to do them all? Do fat dogs pass wind? That answer fell on deaf ears, well they do speak funny in the midland's you know, so I followed it up with Yep. If I had a quick run round the course I could go straight onto the minimain and finish up with the silhouette's have a bite to eat and a drink and still be away for 2, she did say set off at 2, didn't she?
I couldn't be bothered with the plinking range so it was time for the other duty of taking the P!$$. I was quite happy that people weren't in the mood for p!$$ taking as it just spurred me on some more. Bumped into Holly and Bainesy so discussed the water torture of the rifles that was due to happen later on at the shoot.
Before I knew what was happening we were called to shoot, I'd got lane 18 so had a loooonnnnngggggg'ish walk to the lane. Approaching the lane I could see Carl Davies stood waiting for me to arrive and as I approached could smell his new aftershave, more like could taste his new aftershave. "Jeeeesssuuussss Carl, what's that stink?", all I can say is we were near the bootom pond and this where the ducks obviously go to the toilet, boy it was rank!
Ignoring the smell, Carl wanted to shoot first and it was now that I noticed we were starting on a standing lane. Well I hadn't actually as I couldn't quite focus correctly due to the pungent smell so was thankful Carl was shooting first and noticed the sign.
Two dinks from Carl and it was my turn, you know we pay all this money out for decent optics and it's like money down the drain all because you can't see because your eye's are stinging from the smell of Duck S%"$. Anyway I was happy as I sneaked the first shot high, whilst the second……let's just say that it seemed a good idea, at the time I might add, to pull the trigger with the scope's crosshairs hovering at nine O'Clock outside of the kill!
Moving to the next lane, it was as though someone had sprayed air freshener you couldn't smell a thing or was it that the insides of your nose had been burnt out? Anyway I digress.
Next lane kneelers, someone up there hates me! Think Carl got one of these, on second thought no he missed these as well as they both ended up about an inch below the kill. I was fortunate as the scent of flowers wafted through my nostrils and I managed to get both of these.
We were now facing our first lane of sitters, it was strange as the wind seemed to have disappeared mind you we had started to move round a corner on the course. Anyway we both dropped these targets so it was a good lane.
Moving on through the last few lanes everything was fine as all the targets fell obligingly so little to report here. Time for a long walk back to the start of the course.
The further we walked back to the start of the course the more the wind got up, and as me and Carl faced the first lane we both hadn't a clue where to aim - alright I'm telling porkies here we knew it would be a case of aiming off the left hand side of the kill. Anyway it ended up with Carl giving too much off the left hand side whilst I didn't and split it at 11O'clock.
Another brief word about the course, whilst the bottom of the course seemed fairly open, up at the top we were shooting through gaps in the trees and then out into the open. The wind was strange, cos you could feel it where you were sat but out at the target there didn't seem to be any?
Moving on a few lanes, I hate writing about knocking targets over as it becomes boring and it also sounds like I know what I'm doing when I don't. I'd missed a couple more by the time we'd reached the bottom corner of this section.
We bumped into young Sam Monkman, he was having a good day being seven down, having dropped one at every lane in the section me and Carl were just moving into!
Four lanes togo and we're now back in the Duck Shite smelling section, oh good. I'm still four down whilst Carl is 12 down. Worst case scenario is I'll match his score, that sounds awful!
Anyway the first target is a short one part way up a tree on my left, this one falls nicely. The second is a full 55 yards away with it's string blowing left to right, although the shot is shielded pretty well all the way to the target. It seemed like a good idea to aim just outside the left hand edge of the target. The shot was one of those perfect ones that goes exactly where I aimed, unfortunately I wanted it to move a little to the right! Oh well, five down.
Onto the next lane and again we have another 55 yard target, this time it isn't shielded by anything and again the string is bowing! Learning from the previous lane I aim exactly the same place, slip the trigger and once again another perfect shot that hit's exactly where I aimed. Hey Ho, six down.
Carl was knocking them all down, where as I wasn't. Onto the next lane and thank god I cleared it! As did Carl.
Final lane, one low on the ground the other high up a tree - I'd just watched Carl get the low one and miss the high one. What can I say, should it be that I saw how everyone else's shot had struck about an inch above the kil on the high target so I aimed low to knock it over? Or should I just say that the prat pulling the trigger noticed that everyone else had gone an inch above the kill on the high target so aimed at the centre of the target and missed it cos the pellet struck an inch high above the kill! $%^YHYH%WHEH%^$%
Seven down to Carl's thirteen so quite happy considering the conditions. Walking back upto the start of the course we bumped into Tim Finley who was waiting to shoot his final lane, he was two down!
Got back to the car and it was just 12:30 ish, so still time to do the mini-main and silhouette's! Well there would have been if I didn't spend an hour and half talking about shooting that is.
2O'Clock and I wander across to do the silhouette's, Ian Taylor's shooting them as well as Tim - who finished the main two down the poxy git. Anyway the wind was still blowing and you know you're in trouble when you try to aim at the first chicken and miss it due to the wind. Managed the next four though.
This sequence was repeated on the pigs. The turkey's however were a different kettle of fish, as I missed the first and third! Onto the rams and it's time to give lots of wind, basicly aim at the next ones backside to hit the first and down all five went, that was easy can't see the problem with silhouette shooting……….God I was glad that was over. Time for another break. Well it was 2:45, and Amanda never expects me to set off home when I say I will!
It was about 3:15 when we started the mini main, well joined the queue of eight shooters. I was shooting round with Russ Spencer for the second year in a row.
The mini main, what can we say about this? Which sick ba$%ard came up with the idea of a mini main. It was set out in an open field with bleeding ridiculously small kill zones - some were square and the longest target set out around 45 - 47 yards!
The least said about this event the better, I started off really bad, picked up a bit and missed the final last lane full sized kill zone twice to finish on a 12, Russ had a 10. I enjoyed it really…..no, honest I did.
Finishing the mini main at around 4 p.m. meant I'd just got enough time to do the Water Torture event between Dave Baines and Dave Hollingdale. Basicly this event started because it was said the Daystate MKIII wasn't waterproof, Mr Baines saying it was whilst Holly said it wasn't, so some sick person suggested we get them both to a shoot and pour water over them and their gun's - see pictures - to see which gun broke first.
All I'll say is in the absence of clean drinking water we had to use our only alternative dustbin's ½ full of pond water!
We started off with chronoing the gun's first, all seemed about even here, then the first bucket of water was thrown over them. The gun's were then re-chronoed and it was found Holly's gun was getting lower and lower readings, had his gun broken, but he then realised he hadn't filled it since doing all the comps.
After Holly refilled his gun and the chrono readings were re done another bucket was thrown over the gun's. Unfortunately the second bucket stopped the Daystate from functioning, whilst the Anschutz kept on going.
To try and revive the Daystate another bucket was then thrown over the gun's but unfortunately the Daystate was no more, whilst the Anschutz was still breathing!
Boy this was fun, but it was time for me to go, well it was 5 O'Clock and I was due to be setting off home at 2:30, oh well no tea for me tonight!
GP5 Newbury Grand Prix
Looking at my results so far this year I realised that I needed to go to Newbury and have a good'un otherwise I wouldn't qualify for the showdown and to be fair I like the showdown / Master's weekend. Amanda was nagging me to have a good shoot so I'd qualify as well, nice to have some encouragement until I realised that she was only wanted me to qualify so I'd take her to Monkey World down on the South Coast!
Arrived nice and early, didn't take a wrong turning this year - which makes a change, even though I didn't intend shooting until the afternoon as there was some world champs discussions taking place in the morning.
Weather wise what can we say, it was bloody windy, no it was worse than that it was f'ing windy. Watching the early competitors shooting the top part of the course there were more dunks than dinks in fact there was quite a few ………. Yes, silence as pellets missed faceplates!
Many of the early competitors were laughing saying have you seen the weather forecast for the afternoon you must be mad, to be fair I hadn't so was expecting the worst! It was bad enough at the moment with the wind but if as people were saying the rain was due to hit as well then it would be……what's the word……. Interesting!
Eventually the first competitors came off the course, scores were low but not too bad given the conditions mid to high 30's were the best then Tim Finley came off with a superb 41 and Nathan Reeves with a 40 - these last two scores were going to be hard to beat. It seemed the only thing people were saying was rangefind two or three times to get the distances right, we'll wait and see.
Waiting at the briefing it was announced that there'd been a few lane changes lucky me had my lane changed from 3 to 19 so that meant a long walk to the end of the course shoot a few lanes then another long walk to the start of the course, oh good! One thing it did mean was I'd have a few lanes to get settled before reaching the harder part of the course.
The course took on it's usual shape, it started at the top of the first hill and meandered it's way across whilst moving down the side of this hill. Due to the fact the woodland part of this is fairly sparse it could never be described as easy, but at least it seemed the course designer had looked at the weather forecast and made suitable adjustments to the distance of it.
Arriving at Lane 19 I was pleased to see I was shooting with Graham Snook of Genesis Rifles fame, I'd never shot with Graham before but had spoke to him a few times so knew we'd have a laugh even if we never hit ought. Even better we were the last shooters on the course which meant 6 clear lanes in front so there would be no standing around and waiting, just shoot and straight onto the next lane.
The start was sounded and Graham was to shoot first, which suited me! Graham's first two shot's struck high and missed the kill, mine connected, again slightly high in the kill but not too high to start knocking any clicks off.
At the next lane Graham again struggled and missed the kill's, I usually like shooting second, but this was starting to unsettle me! I managed both which I was pleased about. The strange thing was with these two shots, whilst it appeared there wasn't any wind down the bottom end of the course these two had gone to separate sides of the kill!?
Unperturbed it was onto the next lane Graham got one of them, as did I funnily enough as one of the shot's exited stage left? Again there was no wind, I even followed the pellet flying away from where the cross hairs were how bizarre, well I wasn't thinking that at the time it was more like you ba$£%rd but on the outside all I could do was laugh!
I was still smarting at missing that target as we finished lane 25, I was still one down and Graham had managed to put some good shot's together to make his score a little more respectable - although he wasn't impressed.
Walking back to the start of the course it was obvious we had been on the easy part of the course as many shooter's were struggling big style, although they still didn't sound as bad as the morning scores.
I can't write what Graham said as he shot the first two targets, he missed the first but got the second. When I sat down and looked at the first target all I could do was repeat what Graham had said as very few people had hit the kill and there was a huge group of misses on the faceplate about an inch above the kill! What to do on this first target? Times running out, winds gusting up the hill so it's bound to lift the pellet, oh sod it dial the range aim an inch below the target and out on the left hand side. Well the inch below the target was a good idea, off the left hand side was just stupid as the pellet ended up perfect height wise but an inch off the left hand side of the kill! Damn, bugger, cowing targets. Onto the second and it sails right across the kill, only just hitting the face plate.
From being one down I was now three down! Not a good way for things to be going. Onto the next lane and Graham drops both targets, it's only when he try's to reset them that he realises he's shot one out of lane. Trying not to make the same mistake as Graham I miss the first but get the second - I'd knocked ten yards off the range and still aimed the bottom of the kill, this was after seeing the first pellet miss high!
All I could make out from the these first four targets was that the wind as it came up the hillside was simply pushing the shots high. The daft thing was we were on the top of the hill so you'd have thought that it wouldn't have affected the pellets as much, but it was.
Four down after 14 targets, not exactly the start I was looking for but hey-ho. Moving down this section I dropped another two targets, Graham also shot the wrong target again unfortunately although he hadn't missed much else. To add to all this the rain had started to come down, bnot the best of shooting conditions I hasten to add.
I soon regained composure and started to hit targets again along with Graham and we soon found ourselves approaching the last couple of lanes. It was noticeable now how the wind had slowed right down was it because of the rain, Who knows?
One of our last lanes was a set of kneelers, after watching Graham nail them both I steadied myself on the furthest of the two - only about 35 yards - just out the top of the kill aiming to bring the crosshair down into the centre before releasing the shot. As with all good intentions thing's don't exactly go to plan and I pull the trigger about half inch above the kill - now that was a good shot Matt!
Onto the last lane and Graham misses one of them, due to wind. Now what do I do, there doesn't appear to be any wind but Graham's just missed because of it. Oh sod it just give it inside edge on the kill, the pellet never moved, thank god! I finished 7 down, this was the result I needed, surely I'd qualify with this! Graham, had a disaster, although he had picked up towards the end to finish on a 22 - excellent considering the start.
Walking back up to the start line it seemed that I was on for a good result as a lot of people were 10 or more down, John Noon was 6 down with 3 lanes to go and Dan Eley was 7 down.
As the final shooters came off I realised I had finished joint second, but as I'd just cleaned my gun down I didn't want to get it back out again for the shootoff, so asked Dan if we could use his gun and let him dial for me. I was onto a looser by opting to use his gun, but to be honest I was more happy to know I'd qualified than owt else. Anyway Dan won the shootoff.
To sum up it was a good shoot, I always enjoy shooting at Newbury as it's always been kind to me in the past. It was nice to see a few more people staying for the presentation at the end of the shoot as well, if the sport is to progress any further people do need to stay until the end for the presentation.
Oh well there's always next week to return back to the usual 20 ex 50.
World Field Target Championships 2004
Travelling to Germany
Little Kev, Bobby Banks and Dave Harrison were coming to pick me and then we'd drive to Hull to catch the overnight ferry to Rotterdam and then the idea was the next day we'd make our way slowly to the barracks where we were stopping in Germany.
First thing's first, upon arriving at Hull, before any of the other competitors, it was time to Chat the lady up who was putting the cars on board the boat and tell her not to let any other shooters on board. It was around an hour later, after we'd been on board that Dave Penman came up saying "you £$%^, that woman who was organising the cars wasn't going to let us on you know!", "Nothing to do with us Dave…………honest."
Arrived at the Barracks after an 8 hour drive, christ what a drive - I thought the Italians were bad drivers but they've got nothing on the German's. Initially shocked at the accommodation very basic, but it's cheap and we didn't expect to be spending much time in there anyway. Word to potential sponsors of the England team or indeed sponsor's of shooter's going abroad any chance the trade could fund accommodation whilst we're abroad? Just thought I might as well ask.
Wednesday 21st July Meet and greet
Met up with some of the other competitors in a little restaurant then it was off to the local ice cream shop, quick discussion about what we were expecting to be faced with at the shoot and it was off back to the barracks.
Thursday 22nd July Afternoon Practice:
After being surprised at having a decent nights sleep, we all met up at the practice range. It was a field with cards placed at different ranges, not a real lot you can say about it other than at the back was a large grassy mound that provided us with fun and games with regard wind!
First problem, after all the problems I've been having with the Daystate over the past three or four months Nick Murphy of Zenith Rifles managed to fix it, so I arrive in Germany and somehow I'd managed to strip the thread on my butt hook. Luckily I had a spare in my toolbox.
On to the plinking range.
I was fine with all ranges apart from the 55 yard board. The pellets were striking high above the mark you were aiming at, they'd then catch the wind and either move left or right, you'd then drop 8 or 9 clicks off and the pellets would then drop six inch or so! I was starting to panic but then spoke to Andy Calpin who was experiencing the same so I decided to concentrate on re-checking the shorter ranges. Little Kev was having no problems at all, drilling some superb groups also hitting the spinner at 55 yards standing - one to watch over the weekend me thinks!
There was a civic reception held in the town of Ebern to make us all feel welcome. It was time to meet up with the many friends I've made over the past two years when travelling to Northern Ireland and Norway it was also a time to make new ones as well!
Bobby Banks, England Team Captain, had told me he couldn't pick the person for the final position in the team so he was going to put the four names into a hat and draw it out this way. The names were Nick Murphy, Daniel Eley, James Osbourne and Matthew Hirst. I was well chuffed to be asked to be a reserve even if I didn't get picked!
Anyway the final team was announced, see below, and Daniel Eley had been selected.
Gun Mart / Shooting Sports Team England.
Name: Dave Harrison
Profile: Veteran World Champion 2003, 2004
4th Individual World Championships 2003
Midland Masters Champion 2004
Showdown Plate Winner
Represented AirArms, Ripley
Combination: AirArms EV2, BSA 10-50, Daystate Pellets.
Thoughts on Being Picked for the team: Always considered it a honour to be picked to represent England at my chosen sport. Just hope I as well as the team do well at the championships.
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Andy Calpin
Captains Thoughts: He's been a top 10 shooter for the past 10 years, a regular team member and has always done what was asked of him as a team member.
Name: Andy Calpin
Club: Anston FTC
Profile: World Champion 1999
European Champion 1991, 2002
International Shoot winner 1987
Represented Ripley team for the past 20 years
Combination: Ripley AR5S, Deben, Ripley Pellets.
Thoughts on Being Picked for the team: Nice to be chosen to represent the England team, even though I haven't shot as much this year.
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Ian Taylor
Captains Thoughts: What can I say about Andy that can be printed in a family magazine? He's probably the most naturally talented shooter there has ever been. He's won everything worth winning, more than once and is a superb ambassador for the sport. Finally, he can be counted on to perform whenever shooting as an individual or as part of a team.
Name: Ian Taylor
Profile: World Champion 2003
European Champion 2003
BFTA Champion 2003
NEFTA Classic overall winner 3 times
Represented Ripley team for the past 6 years
Combination: Ripley AR5S, Leupold 20-50, Daystate Pellets.
Thoughts on being picked for the team: Proud to represent England
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Andy Calpin
Captains Thoughts: Current World Champion also first FT shooter to hold all three major titles at the same time.
Name: Daniel Eley
Club: Kent Woodsmen
Profile: BFTA Showdown Winner twice
Runner up at European's 2000
4th World Championships 2004
Represented Anschutz team for the past 4 years
Combination: Welham Anschutz 2002, Leupold 20-50, Daystate Pellets.
Thoughts on being picked for the team: Surprised, Delighted, Proud
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Ian Taylor
Captains Thoughts: He's always been on the brink of the big league and as of late is showing great potential.
Name: Terry "Moses" Ord
Profile: Welsh GP / Open 2004
Sophia Trophy 2002
6th Europeans 2002
Semi-finalist BFTA Showdown 2002
Combination: Feinwerkbau P70FT, Hydrographics white Leupold 20-50, JSB Pellets.
Thoughts on being picked for the team: Made up, well chuffed. My dad's so proud which really makes me happy
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Andy Calpin
Captains Thoughts: A shooter showing tremendous form of late and deserves his place because of this.
Name: James Woodhead
Profile: CSFTA Showdown Champion 2004
Sophia Trophy 2004
Twice finished in top 5 at World Championships
Represented Anschutz team for the past 2 years
Combination: Welham Anschutz 2002, Burris 8-32, JSB Pellets.
Thoughts on being picked for the team: Pleased, Very Happy
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Andy Calpin
Captains Thoughts: Same as Terry, showing great form in the recent GP series.
Name: Tim Williams
Profile: British Champion 2000
Welsh Open Champion twice
5th NEFTA Classic
Emley Moor GP winner 2003
Combination: Zenith, Deben, Daystate Pellets.
Thoughts on being picked for the team: Surprised, because I don't feel I am good enough.
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Andy Calpin
Captains Thoughts: Always performs well in big competitions and currently showing good form.
Name: Nathan Reeve
Club: Abbey FTC
Profile: Junior World Champion 2002 - 2003
BFTA GP Series A grade Champion 2003
Highest score at Inter-regionals 2004
Fifth overall world Championships 2003
Combination: Ripley AR5S, Deben, Daystate Pellets.
Thoughts on being picked for the team: Over the moon to represent England team, my grand dad's very proud as well.
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Andy Calpin
Captains Thoughts: Although only very young his recent form has shown he deserves his chance in the England Squad.
Name: Bobby Banks
Combination: Ripley AR5S, Bausch&Lomb 8-32, Daystate Pellets.
Tips on which team will win: England
Tips on individual to win: Andy Calpin
Captains Thoughts: I've picked a side that has great depth and I hope one that reflects the healthy position of FT in England - a mixture of youth and experience
Friday 23rd July Day One - Let the Battle Commence.
Whilst getting ready for this competition a couple of us had read on the web that the Germans had intended to use a few small kill zones, 15mm upto 15 metre, 20 mm upto 25 metre and 25mm upto 40 metres. It sounded like the Anglo-American competition held at Redfearn's so we weren't too bothered…..boy, how wrong we would be.
Whilst on the subject of the course we also heard rumours that the course was a three mile hike, stupidly we'd envisaged the course to be held in a line, so shooters with a high starting number would be at a disadvantage - afterall they'd have to walk the furthest. Upon arriving we found the course to be laid out in a huge circle thus meaning the ones starting in the middle section would have the longest to walk, guess where I was starting from, Lane 16 day 1, Lane 13 day 2 and Lane 6 day 3.
Course terrain run down, generally the wood was made up of a mature woodland dense in places whilst thinly populated in others. Lane 1 started on the side of the hill next to the trade tents, the shots were both downhill. The course then moved round and up to the top of the hill and once again the shots were set steeply downhill.
You then made your way down concrete steps built into the hill shooting lanes 3, 4 and 5 into the centre of the shoot only then to cross over and shoot out of the circle for lane 6 - this for me was the hardest lane as no matter what I did I just couldn't get comfy at all.
As you carried on walking down, lane 7 was again set so the shot was taken downwards, the second shot on this lane proved very difficult for a lot of people and many had to take it kneeling just to be able to see the kill. At the bottom of the hill lane eight was found, the dreaded stander's!
After a short walk round the back of the wood you were faced with the first uphill shots, again uncomfortable to take. Another short walk took you to what many thought was the start of the hardest parts of the course Lanes 10 to 19. These tended to be set at steep angles uphill, which made breathing very difficult.
Lanes 20, 21 and 22 were set on the opposite side of the road and reminded me a lot of Newbury, mature but slightly thinly populated woodland and the wind was going to be a law unto itself in here, Shots were slightly downhill. Lane 23 swapped over the road again, once more your feet were above your backside so breathing would be made difficult.
Guess what now, another walk and we are approaching the last couple of lanes, Lane 24 was again set quite steeply downhill whilst 25 was shot on the flat.
Time to start shooting, I was glad to have two morning shoots as the previous day had been way too hot for me, even though it was 8 in the morning the car was showing 18 degrees C! Off to Lane 16.
Walking to our respective start lanes surely was an eye opener, it appeared that 40 mm kills were very few and far between in fact many of the lads would come off later on swearing that they'd only seen seven or eight.
Arriving at lane 16 I was shocked to see I'd be finishing on a standing lane, never a good end, well not when they are reduced stander's - 15mm and 25 mm respectively. I was shooting with Ernst Hoober of Steyr, very nice bloke he is. Changing subjects completely, it was nice to speak to him as he explained they are only a very small company but were heavily committed to FT and were only there to see how they could change the LG100 into an even better Ft gun, excellent commitment on their part.
All too soon the start was sounded and I was put into to shoot first, never good on my part but hey-ho. I was surprised to clear the first lane as the cross hairs were dancing all over the place. I knew it wouldn't last long though, as at the next lane I didn't engage my brain as the pellet struck at three O'clock - my only excuse was the kill was one of those that had two reducing plates fitted to it and was off centre. Ernst was struggling slightly but I was trying to help as much as I could on telling him what I was doing and why - I think he was fifty percent.
After the first early miss I was pleasantly surprised when thing's started to go my way, even the first set of stander's fell obligingly. The competition was very intense though, there appeared to be no let up at all, every lane made up of reducers and like I said earlier 40mm kills were few and far between. You had no conciliation that it may get easier as you made your way around the course as everyone you bumped into, who wasn't shooting, kept on about lane such and such with the 15mm kills, standing and kneeling lanes with reducers it was relentless.
I was still one down as we made our way up round to Lane 25 a short 15 mm kill and then one about 20mm at 37 yards'ish. Dialling a complete turn on the turret I got the first but then for some reason kept on dialling and as soon as I released the trigger I knew what I had done, still two down and well chuffed with how the gun was performing.
Now for the long walk upto lane one, medic fetch me an oxygen cylinder!
Lane one was reasonably comfortable as we were shooting downhill seem to remember it was a 15mm kill around 17 yards and then a 50 odd yarder but full size. I can't tell you how weird it was looking at a full size kill. Nailed the both of them, as did Earnst.
Time for a walk to the top of the hill. This again was a very similar lane to the first in that it had a very small reduced target at 20 yards and then one set at around 50 I managed the first but have no idea on the second, it felt a good shot but came out to the left with all the other shot's.. Ernst nailed these.
In fact Ernst nailed all the lanes at the top of the hill whilst I had disasters at every lane to finish this section six down, I was still happy as the gun was surely doing it's stuff - many thanks for fixing it Nick of Zenith rifles - it's the shooter who was over heating a little.
It was then as though someone had flicked a light switch and targets began to fall again, the same as my pellets as I proceeded to spill them everywhere. We had now made our way round the back section of the course and were heading back upto where we had started, this is where I must have blown a fuse cos no matter what I did nothing worked.
We only had six lanes to go and I was six down, I was well happy, the only thing I did notice was how slow the gun felt I think that you definitely needed a fast action on this course, this would certainly allow better pellet placement. The CRX is a damn accurate gun but is woefully slow once the trigger is pulled, well compared with any of the newer robo-gun's and I definitely felt that maybe it's time to move onto something new.
Anyway to cut a long story short I double dunked the kneeling lane, I was all over the place to be fair - just couldn't hold the gun still and snatch the trigger at the correct time. I then proceeded to get fifty percent over the next two lanes and stay clear right up until the final lane where another double dunk sealed my fate to finish 12 down. Ernst had finished on a 22 not bad at all for his first competition.
After the first session it was Ian Taylor who showed his intention of trying to retain his title putting in a superb 43, closely followed by Dan Eley - he's shooting well at the moment - Dave Harrison was also showing the potential of his AirArms EV2 by putting in a respectable 41. You had to feel sorry for James Woodhead, after knowing he was in the England team his reg went down during the competition but he struggled and against all odds still turned in a stunning 35. Nathan Reeve had struggled, maybe it was the pressure of being selected for the team who knows and he came in with a 27 - one day this boy will take the overall title I assure you.
You had to feel sorry for the guy's shooting in the afternoon, no honestly you did it was hot, very hot, I was certainly not looking forward to shooting tomorrow afternoon. Doing the good Samaritan routine a group of us walked the course asking if everyone was ok for water and basically fetched and carried for them.
At the end of this session scores were very high again, Tim Williams took the top score away from Ian with a stocking 44 whilst Andy Calpin put in a 42 and soon to be crowned top Scot - Dave Penman put in an excellent 41.
Night time entertainment
All I can say is bring on the dancing girls!
There was plenty of food and drink to go around and then later on out came the dancing girls, it was funny to watch the audience edge closer and closer to the stage as the girls finished off with the Can-Can.
Let's just hope that next year in England we can put on as good if not better show for all the visiting countries!
Saturday 24th July Day Two - Damage Limitation.
Up at six in the morning, time for a shower then off upto the practice range.
The morning started off very wet, as a torrential shower hit. I was glad to be shooting in the afternoon. Once it had cleared though it was time to walk the course and all I can say is Oh my god, they'd pushed the mini kills even further out we were now talking shots of 15mm right out at 35-40 yards with one or two of these on kneeling lanes! Whoever said the Germans don't have a sense of humour!!
To start us off this morning a horn band was used, this was different but at least it gives you an insight into their culture and history and made the event feel special.
Whilst the day had started off with heavy showers it had soon cleared and the scorching temperatures had returned, not my favourite conditions at all,. Also by the time the first session was nearly at a close the wind started to get up and both myself and Ian Taylor were saying the afternoon was all about Damage Limitation!
Anyway the wind didn't deter many of the morning's competitor's as the scores came rolling in Andy Calpin and Tim Williams finishing one less than the previous day whilst Bobby Banks had beaten his by four.
I was starting on lane 13 and shooting with Andies Sluiter of the Netherlands, after a long walk we found we were starting on a nasty standing lane, the first being 15mm at around 25 yards the second was a 25mm at 35-40 yards - no problem.
Andies shot first and missed both targets I struck at twelve just out of the kill - it's funny the amount of times on the small kills you find the pellet splitting edges and not falling over, well actually it wasn't funny but you know what I mean. The second connected cleanly with the Kill.
The pattern of hit one miss one ensued for me, I was struggling big style. The stupid thing was the shot's felt good there didn't seem to be much wind around the targets - although you could hear it in the tree tops - but the pellets were moving about an inch the other side of the kills!
We bumped into Ian Taylor at Lane 18, he wasn't best pleased at the course but he was still only two down both due to the wind. After speaking to Ian I realised there was no way I was ever going to get anywhere by being cautious so the stupid head was fitted and then the targets started to fall.
I left lane 18 five or six down and as we made our way up the road section whatever I did just worked, oh it's at 52 yarder give it a couple of inch and down she falls, excellent. Andies fairing better in this section as well and he pulled off some remarkable shots.
As we got to Lane 25 all I was thinking was don't make the same mistake as yesterday and over dial, I was thinking this right upto the point where Andies sat down at the lane and I realised both targets had been put out to around 35 yards but then realised they were 15mm kills - at least we could take them sat down!
I was still doing well as we got to Lane 1, well if you think about it I was only half way round the course, think I was still six down. Moving down the steps I felt relaxed, only dropped one more, and started to think forget the damage limitation just enjoy the shoot, oh I speak too soon!
At the bottom of the steps were a pair of stander's 15mm at around 10 yards and a 20-25 very dark pellet splattered kill 37 yards, I missed the first but got the second! Eight down.
Walking round to Lane 9 I was still feeling happy until I met a 50 odd yard target, full size kill. I don't know if it was due to the shock of seeing a full size kill or the fact I was too relaxed on the shot but I never noticed the wind coming across left to right and I only just managed to strike the faceplate.
9 down with three lanes to go, one set of kneelers and one set of stander's. I think the less said about the last few lanes other than Dunk….Dunk. I finished the course 12 down, I was very happy with this as the conditions were harder than the previous day as well as the course being harder. Andies finished on a creditable 21!
After day 2 there was quite a few still in with a shout of the top position although Tim Williams had made it very hard as he was now leading by three targets over Dan Eley and four over Andy Calpin, Ian Taylor and Dave Harrison.
Had to feel sorry for some of the Daystate boys as they had suffered at the hands of the weather and their gun'' had packed up, I made a quick call to Dave Baines to see if he could help out with fixing them but alas it wasn't to be.
There was a bit of a shock as we made our way to hand our cards in as an ambulance had been called and we heard Dave Sargent had been whisked away, he had been bitten by a horse fly and suffered an anaphylactic shock.
Saturday nights entertainment
There was a music festival being held in the town of Ebern, basically there was a band at each end of a very long road with numerous beer tents and food stands in between.
The highlight of tonight's entertainment was whilst watching a band singing, a song in German, I glanced round to see Bobby Banks singing along to it!
Sunday 25th July Day Three - It aint over till the fat lady sings.
Glad to be shooting in the morning again, once again it's very much like the first day flat calm day but it's gonna be a warm'un.
Starting Lane 6 today, but before we start Volker has a special surprise for us, he then get's his walkie-talkie and says "OK now" and bleedin hell the first of three humongous bangs goes off, poor old Ian Taylor nearly dived for cover under the Walther tent! Now our hearts are racing it was time to walk to Lane 6.
I was shooting with another Austrian today Gerd Mannel, we had a good old chat before the start but before long it was time to start shooting.
The course today looked very similar to the previous days, we were expecting it to be harder still but we were in for a bit of a surprise.
Gerd shot first nailing the first short target but missing the second. I was lucky to get both and this is how we stayed down to Lane 8 the short stander and the long one set at 37 yards. I had just watched Gerd miss both and he was asking my advice on how to take standing shots all the time I was thinking I hope to god I get these. I missed the first short one and did my usual trick of continuing to dial round for the second, it seemed like a good idea at the time, honest! So there I am two down to Gerd's three down.
Lanes 9 and 10 came and went easily enough but I managed to drop a couple more shots as we made our way round the back of the course and up the road section. The course today felt a bit easier and it was during the time I felt the course was getting easy that I ended up six down! Reality struck as I realised I missing big style we'd probably only shot 14 or 16 targets and if I didn't sort myself out today was going to be a disaster!
Moving through towards lane 20 things were getting better, Gerd was very inquisitive about how to deal with wind - on the course that is - luckily for me everything I suggested seemed to work. As we made our way up the road section things on the course seemed predictable although the bit of wind that there was seemed to be getting stronger.
Targets were still falling and it was nice to see the German's had been listening to all the comments raised the previous days by putting targets at sensible ranges and with reasonable sized kills. I was still six down as we made our way upto Lane 1 where I bumped into Dave Sargent. He had just come straight from the hospital to the shoot and he said he was a lot better - I don't know the thing's he'll do just to see a woman in uniform!
Lane 1 I managed the first but the wind got up on the second and the pellet ended up well out of the kill on the right handside. Gerd had nailed them both though. I was now seven down, still respectable.
At the next lane I again nailed the first but missed the second, time to try and work out what was happening afterall I am now eight down with three lanes to go I could end up worse than the previous two days - not a good thought!
Moving to the next lane and again disaster strikes, nine down, Gerd is still getting them though, is he giving wind or going straight down the middle? Luckily at the next lane both targets fall, so that leaves me 9 down potential 11 if I have a disaster.
Richard Moore is just leaving my final lane saying "get the second target sorted cos it's lent forward and I've just hit it and it hasn't gone!". I ask Gerd if he'd like the target checked and he's happy to continue and drops both of them.
After seeing Gerd manage them both I settle on the first and down it goes. PA'ing the second I can see it is lent forward but decide to go for it and guess what…….I miss the damn thing, Hey-Ho and all that! A stupid thing to do Matthew.
To be honest I was well pleased to beat my previous day's scores so the fact I missed the last target didn't bother me, yeah right, I was well peeved! Gerd managed a 28 so it his highest score of the competition as well.
James Woodhead, with his knackered reg had shot like a demon - god only knows how to finish today 7 down, so that meant over the weekend he'd beaten me by one. At the top of the board was Daniel Eley, followed by last years champion Ian Taylor. Speaking of Daniel, everyone was busy working out what had to happen on the course to stop him from winning. Basically if Tim Williams Finished on a 8 Tim would win, if he had a nine he would have a shootoff with Dan and any worse Dan would be champ!
Walking back to the cars the wind was picking up for the afternoon session would it be enough to upset the scores only time would tell.
The wind had picked up for the afternoon session and it looked as though it would be hard for anybody to put a good score in. Walking the first section of the course I bumped into Little Kev who was four down and his was the best score I'd heard as everybody else had a blow out - but there was still a long way to go.
The next person I bumped into was Tim Williams who was on a bad one I think he was eight down and Andy Calpin six, again they had half the course to go so could this be Daniel's year?
It seemed like an age for them to get to the final two lanes, god knows what it must have felt like to Dan? Tim sat down at this lane and missed one of the targets so now it was down to the final lane, Tim needing both to get a shoot-off. Andy Calpin had finished six down so he held it together superbly however it meant no matter what happened the best he could finish was second.
I walked upto the final lane just as Tim sat down to take the shots, the tension was immense glad it was him taking the shots not me! Unfortunately it wasn't to be as Tim had missed one, however fortunately for Daniel Eley he now knew he had taken the World field Target Championships 2004 title.
It still wasn't over for Tim as he now faced Andy Calpin in a shoot-off for second and third place. It was a double blow for Tim as his first pellet struck just low and left of the kill zone so he ended up in third spot, true gent that he is Andy was the first to shake Tim's hand.
GunMart/Shooting Sports Team England had taken the team title and the individual positions are laid out below
What can I say? This must rank as one of the hardest courses I have ever shot, the intensity of shooting the small kills every lane was unbelievable - as I write this three days after coming back from the competition my head still hurts.
This shoot, however, wasn't just about the competition it was about the entire package and this is where it really excelled. I would have loved to wax lyrically about every night's entertainment but we'd run out of space, in fact this is the condensed version. I just hope the team behind England's World Championships next year can put together as good if not better competition / entertainment's package afterall wasn't the sport invented across here?
I'd like to thank Gunmart / Shooting Sports for sponsoring the Team England Hat's also Nick Murphey of Zenith rifles for stepping to fix my rifle the week previous to the competition and finally the BDS for the hard work that went onto making this one of the best ever.
Finally got my CRX back and bolted together with it's stock, only a week to go before the worlds so need to get some practice in before we set off on Tuesday.
Arrived bright and early to be greeted by rain, thankyou Lord! As me and Amnda arrived Little Kev was just setting off to start going round the course, I bumped into Chris Large so we agreed to go round the course together.
The course itself was very similar to the GP course they held there the other year, long! Anyway it'd prove good practice for the worlds and with there being little or no wind around it may give me some confidence back in the gun!
Arriving at Lane 1 we were greeted by stander's, excellent. I copied Chris on these by missing the first but getting the second. Just as we'd finished this lane we met up with Daniel Eley so he joined our merry throng. He nailed the stander's the git!
Daniel was like me there to get some practice for the worlds, not that he needed any as he was certainly showing me and Chris how to knock the targets over, he even got the golden target set out at 50 yards it was just a pity he hadn't entered for the golden shot! Plonka
Moving swiftly on, as we made our way out into the open section of the course Daniel was seriously kicking mine and Chris's arses, seem to remember we were both 3 down whilst Dan the Man was clear.
This open section had caused many an established name to hang his head in shame, it was bizzare the wind would blow left to right the pellet would fly right to left! The nightmare then began as I started to miss targets right left and centre, quite literally and by the end of the course I'd finished 8 down to Chris's five and Dan 2 down. He did miss the two easiest targets on the course though a 25 yard stander and a 45 yard sitter!
Whilst waiting for the presentation I had the chance to speak to John Whiscombe, the man behind Whiscombe Rifles. All I can say is they're absolutely stunning rifles he let me have a go with his prototype rifle and it was stunning, for a self contained rifle. I can totally understand why the rifles are held in such high esteem!
Finished the comp, not having shot too good, happy with how the rifle has performed though, just need to sort the idiot behind it now!
Having a few problems with the old gun of late so Nick Murphey of Zenith Rifles had taken it away to have a look at it for me so was due to pick it up from this shoot. Took my Zenith with me to shoot, but event this has been playing me up with the same problem as the CRX, maybe it's me and not the gun's who knows?
Anyway arrived at the shoot before Nick so decided to shoot round the course as this would allow me some time to play with the CRX when it came back. After finding a partner to shoot round with off we went to lane 1.
I've never shot Wendover before so it came as a bit of a shock to find we were shooting alongside a very busy road for the first couple of lanes, well that was my excuse for shooting like a complete prat over these anyway.
Regaining composure after a few early misses I then proceeded to have an absolute disaster of a round, nothing worked. Alright the targets were dark so was I misranging them? Ask my partner, no same ranges as him but the shots were being thrown all over the place.
To cut a long story short, it was a really enjoyable shoot but I think I finished on about 40% no word of a lie 40 odd percent, naff. Little Kev had a good one missing six but was pipped by a bunch of southerners going round at the very end to knock him out of the places. Going to have to watch him at the worlds me thinks.
Took along my spare action in it's hunter stock as there was a hunter comp on as well. I've never shot an official comp so this was new territory for me, what can I say about it?
Nothing much to say really it was a good laugh and I will do the hunter comps at Emley and Redfearn's but it doesn't interest me enough to go round the country and shoot the events, no way. I think the idea is a good one, end of the day we are all shooters, but I'd like to see the targets pushed out to 55 yards fix the scope limit to max of 12 mag and allow any adjustments you want to the scope.
Finished 4th overall in the hunter comp, missed the final target completely as I wasn't prepared to take a prone shot.
Enjoyed the day nonetheless and if any more comps are held at this ground go along you'll enjoy it.
GP4 - Byley
Nice and close shoot for me this one, well it's only an hour and half away, so pretty easy to get to. Things have been looking up for the two of us recently so I was really looking forward to going couple this with the fact I needed to get some practice in for when I go over to Germany, couple this with the fact my gun had developed a slight problem and there was no way I was going to miss this shoot.
Byley, if you've never been before, is a bit of a strange shoot, in that it's a small copse surrounded by open fields in the middle of which are some small ponds. It offers all kinds of shot opportunities although most of these include a weird wind!
The course itself started out in the open, the hard part was trying to keep you head together cos you swap sides that many times it's so damn easy to forget! Anyway the course starts off with a pair of standers, loverly, swaps sides quite a bit combining shots in the wide open to shots across water, uphigh and downlow, until you make your way into the copse and then the shots just get - well er dark.
Anyway, arrived nice and early so managed to get into the morning group - glad I did as things turned out. Starting on Lane 15, I was met by Bobby Banks and the token southerner Mark Ashbury, so it would be a good laugh if nothing else.
The start was sounded followed by the 25 gun / 50 shot salute as people fire a couple of shot's off, still haven't worked out quite why we do this but we always do? Mark was presuured into going first, then me and finally bringing up the rear Bobby, I hate going first.
As I sat down to take my first shots, I was looking at where Mark's pellets had struck I'm not going to say he was lucky but he's a jammy git! With first I gave about a kill of wind off the left hand side and down she went, obligingly - mental note got to stop being so smutty. The second shot, well I hadn't got a clue where to aim so gave it double and luckily that fell too! Things are looking up, maybe my gun aint as bad as what I keep telling people.
At the next lane I had a stupid miss as the pellet dropped an inch or so low below the kill, just like it had been doing - see, I told you the gun had a problem - I nailed the second shot.
This part of the copse seemed to be the densest part, as we'd gone from giving wind to not, strange! Plodding along to the next and yet again the gun dropped low, don't do this to me know for god's sake. Can you remember the episode of Fawlty Tower's where Basil starts to smack his car with the branch off the tree, well I know just how he feels - luckily Mark and Bobby stopped me just in time!!!
By the time we finished shooting five lanes, I was getting my arse well and truly kicked, I just couldn't do anything right, for the record I was 6ex10! Still a long way to go and the scores can only get worse.
The course now changed direction, as did my fortune and targets started to fall. It wasn't until we made our way into the bottom corner, target 43, that things went wrong. Again the pellet plummeted to the same spot! To make matters worse a freak shower hit, well it wasn't a shower it was like 10 -15 minds of torrential rain! The rain made target acquisition difficult to say the least, but for me it made hitting them easier! In fact right upuntil the final target, set low on the floor, everything just fell over, no Amanda they weren't laughing at me.
After this little spell I would say we were all on a level playing field again, well me, Bob and Mark. The confidence just grew in me right up until pulling the trigger on the first stander which struck low! Oh for God's sake, what the hell is going on with this gun - deliberately adding 5 yards on for the second shot and down it goes!
That was it, seriously pi$$ed off, add five yards to everything and give loads of wind. The dummy had finally been spat out…………….along with the teddy, hhhmmmm, blanket, hhhmmmm, mobile, hhhmmmm, nappy, no not the nappy!
Once again my luck changed and things seemed to work for me again, target 10 had funny ideas about the wind and went the opposite direction to where it was blowing but other than this minor problem things were looking good again.
Nine lanes to go and Me and Bob were neck and neck, both 8 down. Oh must mention the chrono as my first shot registered 730 odd the second, just out of curiosity, 780 odd - thankyou my beloved D aystate and with less than a month to go before the world champs!
After the good spell of hitting things the rot soon set back in and a run of four misses, on easy targets, ensured I was going to finish up well out of the running.
Five lanes to go and at long last I hit some more targets, well six more before a run of three misses finally seals the coffin lid on top of me. Bobby seemed to be copying me right up until the last couple of lanes but he had to go and spoil it by beating me by 2, Mark finished on a 28 and I promised I wouldn't mention that he was beaten by his wife………..again, oops too late. Mind you she matched my score as well so I can't say anything!
After shooting, I had a play with my new toy a Walther Dominator, all I can say is wow, what a gun. If it continues to shoot how it is doing during the winter guess what gun I'll be using next season.
Final words : Nothing to say really other than the title sums my shooting up really…….Dunk….Dunk….Oh well there's always next week!
GP3 - Dorset
Again once more events conspired against me - someone up there really hates me at the moment. Amanda and I found out that we had lost our baby on the Friday before the event so any previous thoughts about shooting were thrown out the window - along with many other things I might add. I have never hurt as much as I did the day I was told this, Amanda was the strong one this day, certainly stronger than I was., anyway you don't want to read this., so on with the story…..
As we'd booked the following week off and were due to stay in Dorset it was decided that we may as well go down there to allow us both time to recuperate. Things didn't exactly go swimmingly on the way down, though, as we went under a bridge that had one of those ever so nice income generators sat on top of it, yes the mobile speed camera…….it never rains but it pours!
So there we were in Dorset at midday sat in the cottage wondering what the hell to do when Amanda had the bright idea of going to the shoot, I'd actually arranged to pick up a Dominator from one of the Bisley crew, Colin Davies, not a bad bloke for a southerner……got to say that cos he's lent me the gun to try out before buying it!
Anyway, arrived at the shoot just after the afternoon session had started , poor old Sam - Kev's other half, there she was catching fly's, asleep for the uneducatered people, so what did we do………….yes you've guessed it …….. rolled the car right upto her and pressed the horn. Words didn't seem to fail her as she flew out of her seat……..some people have no sense of humour!
Leaving Amanda with Sam I decided to walk down to the shoot, got to get it over and done with at some point. Making my way down past the cars I bumped into the usual reprobates, the Bisley Crew, after a few words, well what can people say to oneanother, I thought sod this and just went back to the old routine of taking the pi$$. That broke the ice, oh must add Lee had been out shooting with his qualifying girly gun and yes you've guessed it qualified.
Walking onto the course, it was in a similar area to the last GP area, although a lot of hard work had gone into it! The course was laid out in a small copse roughly 50 odd yards wide and thinly populated.with trees couple this with a nasty wind that kept swapping sides all the way through, and you've got one testing course.
Testing course? S'pose I aught to ask Jame Woodhead if it was a testing course or not, he'd done a 48ex50 in the mornin, he's shooting ever so well at the moment, mind you Tim Finley and Richard Woods had pushed him along all the wayending on 47's respectively.
Meeting up with Little Kev, he was on a flyer having only dropped one, Dorian Falconer was still clear though so could Jame's morning shoot be outdone in the afternoon? Nah could it hell as like, Little Kev and Dorian both finishing on 45's along with James Osbourne……useless git's if only I'd shot I'd have shown them……….Honest…….Oh well there's always next week. You never know I might actually get to shoot!
Finally, to those that wished me and Amanda well I thank you all, just goes to show shooter's aint that bad after all, O.K. I'll make an exception for the southern Monkey.
GP2 - Scotland
Was due to goto this Grand prix but found I had no-one to go with so couldn't. Spent the day gardening - what more can I say really! If I'd got a dog I'd have kicked it, instead I had to take the frustration's out on a group of pansies it gave great satisfaction as I dug them up and consigned them to the rubbish bin.
Christ isn't gardening boring you dig a hole shove a plant in then when it dies you dig it up again….what's the point. Here's a thought why don't we just stick out a bunch of synthetic plants, instant all year round colour, low maintenance, if they were electrified whenever the next door neighbours pet comes along to chew or do whatever to the plant it'd only ever do it the once!
I mean what's the point to a garden, I don't see it that often, so it's no use to me. It aint even big enough for a decent shooting range, although with me being surrounded by house's having a shooting range in the back garden probably isn't a good idea!
Waffling now and I didn't mean to…….too busy planting begoni wotsits…….Oh well there's always next week.
The classic is one of my favorite shoots of the year, maybe it's because it's always been good to me, had a 3rd, 1st and a 2nd in the past three years of doing it. Naw come to think of it, it's because you have the chance to wind people up over an entire weekend rather than the usual day!
The format of the shoot is a 40 shot field target course and a 40 shot silhouette shoot each day, so by the end of the weekend you certainly know you've been shooting!!!! For the third year in succession I'd not managed to put much range time in, to practice the silhouette's, but of the time I had been practicing all I kept hearing about was that the Bisley crew were expecting to do well. Seems they hold a regular competition called the Tetley challenge - whoever loses has to make the tea!
On the run up to the weekend I'd been paying particular attention to the weather reports, it was funny all of them seemed to say that the Saturday wouldn't be too bad, just a bit windy. While Sunday would deteriorate and we may experience some showers, at least it would provide some truly excellent silhouette shooting. Speaking of the silhouette's, new for this year was a duck badge this would be awarded if you managed to miss an entire bank - nobody wanted to win these………. Well they didn't at the start of the competition.
Arriving early'ish on Saturday at the shoot's new ground, LNER club at Chesterfield, it seems the weather forecaster's got it slightly wrong by saying it would be a bit windy on the Saturday. It was F'in windy, walking down to the where the silhouette's were being set out you could see the strings blowing nay bending in the wind also a flock of gulls flying backwards overhead!
After booking in and the usual sharing of insults with the Bisley crew, I find out my mate Lee "Honorary Northern Monkey" Highton had cried off, what a wimp. Surely he wasn't afraid of ending up with a duck, mind you with how he shoots he'd have probably ended up with 16 ducks on the silhouette's.
Where was I, oh yes, after booking in it was time to venture onto the practice range, Little Kev was already there showing he'd been practicing the silhouette's. It was my intention to show him that two could play at that game but after hitting 1 ex 5 on the turkey's and 2 ex 5 on the Chicken's I gave up and decided to go lick my wounds! Thank god he was my partner in the two man team hopefully, because of his practicing, he'd be able to pull our score up a bit. Speaking of teams, me and Little Kev had joined with James Griffiths and Des Edwards and a better four man team there isn't, well other than the ones that would undoubtedly beat us.
Somewhere in this story I will get to talk about shooting, honest! Well o.k. then now seems as good a place as anywhere. My partner for the weekend was Mark Ashbury, things were going well when he mentioned that he was a Northerher but then the conversation went downhill a little when he explained he moved darn sarth, irt went further downhill when I noticed he was wearing a Bisley Jacket. Why me? Why do I get lumbered with a soft southern shandy drinking………… Somebody up there hates me.
We were scheduled to start on the FT course first and then finish off the day on the silhouette's, oh good! Arriving at lane 12 we were greeted by lots of wind. Dave Baines was with us marshalling and he advised going straight at em, somehow I don't think so!
All too soon the horn was blown………. Sorry the signal to start shooting was sounded. Mark was volunteered to go first.
From the start Mark was up against it as he missed both his first two shots, first one by not giving enough and the second by giving too much. I got the first but was extremely lucky with the second as it just crept in. I knew it wouldn't last long though, mark missed his next two shots and I missed the first by giving too much wind but nailed the second.
Moving on Mark was still struggling, he did however nail his first target, target 27. To be fair I thought I'd better not upset the southerner so I missed target 27 on purpose……….if you'll believe that you'll believe anything. It was weird, the wind felt like you needed to give it loads but the two targets I'd missed I had given too much.
A brief word about the course, a piece of scrub land that had never been shot before. It started out in the open, in the long grass with many shots up hill, meandered it's way along and ended in a thinly populated wooded area.
Back to the shooting. After the first couple of misses I was going to try to force myself to start giving less wind, but at the next lane both shots only just made it into the kill. I'd only reduced the amount of win d I was giving by about a quarter of a kill! Mark had missed six by now and wasn't having a good'un at all. Daidn't help much with my constant chattering.
Making our way into the wooded area, at least it'd be more shaded from the wind and easier to read…………. The less said about the wooded are the better, needlesss to say I left having dropped three more targets whilst Mark recovered by only dropping two, smug southern git! Time for the long walk back to the start of the course.
After twenty minutes on the oxygen, at the start of the course, our pulse rates were down to about 160bpm so I spose we'd better start shooting. Mark nailed the first two,were as I didn't. One out of two aint bad.
We were starting to hear of nightmares on the silhouette's 18's and 20's being the top scores! What!? That can't be right…….too damn right it was! Only consolation was at least if we were suffering on the main the other s were suffering on the silhouette's. After the relative shade of the wood, I would say it was nice to be back out in the open, but I won't as both me and Mark missed target 4, he gave too much whilst I didn't. At the next lane Mark again gave too much wind whilst both fell for me, the daft thing was when he asked how much wind I'd given, he couldn't believe it - I seem to remember I was off faceplate.
I let my guard down over the next couple of lanes as I dropped two more shots, it seemed every time I tried to create a reasonable gap between me and Mark I'd mess up and end up being one in front! Over confidence, maybe?
Twelve targets to go, doesn't time fly on these forty shot courses. Luckily for me, but not for Mark he hit another rough patch as we headed back to where we started from. I'd decided to stop giving as much wind as when we had started and it seemed to be working, right up to target 14 - well that one went straight. Then on target 16 the wind seemed to die down but the pellet had obviously been deflected in the barrel as it sailed across the faceplate, ho-hum!
Mark was struggling, but still enjoying himself, as he missed 7 of the final 12 targets, the middle section of the course had definitely been his downfall. Overall I was chuffed to have finished 11 down, Mark was 17 down and we still had the silhouette's to go.
Whilst marshalling prior to doing the silhouette's it was notable how much the wind had died down, hopefully by 3p.m. it will have blown itself out.
I must admit the confidence wasn't high whilst waiting to shoot the silhouette's. The wind, whilst notably less fierce, just hadn't died and it was going to be a tough one. Dave Baines was the current high score on these with a 28ex40, not exactly a good score under normal conditions……….but these conditions were far from normal.
Mark was first up. I was right, things hadn't changed - it seemed the shooting wasn't that hard it was just getting somewhere near to the target, that was the problem! After numerous duck calls for mark, all I could think was I hope to god I don't miss any full banks as I was sure to get some right stick.
Time to start on the chicken's, behind me on Lane one was Sid Bennet, boy was he glad to be stood behind me with my 6ft 2" frame doing it's best to block the wind. When the start was called I tried to settle on the right hand side of the first chicken, by the time I'd realised where I was, I was in the middle of Sid's bank of chicks. Leaning back into the wind I nearly fell on top of the guy in front as the wind died, many shooter were onto their third target by now and I'd not fired my first shot!
Time for a radical re-think on the technique, instead of trying to hold the crosshairs on the target and then squeeze the trigger, bring the gun to wherever I want it and snatch at the trigger. Time to put the plan into action. Things were going well upto the fourth Chicken when I snatched and the pellet went straight……. Yes, you read it correctly….we were aiming off the target at 20 yards! After the second bank of five, things were still going well and I was on target to reach/beat 28. Above all else I hadn't got a duck! Kev shouted from the next lane, he was on a good'un nailing 9 pigs, excellent.
Moving onto the pigs, Sid had a quiet word asking how I was hitting whilst he…….wasn't. Anyway I think the less said about the pigs the better! To say they are a lot bigger target they were a damn sight harder to hit than them there chickens. I hates them piggies I do. Think I finished on 6ex10 on the pig's - not good enough, but at least I still didn't have any ducks. Kev had gone quiet, I think he'd dah a nightmare on the Turkey's.
Onto the Turkey's, or bleedin evil little get's as they are now known, you give em wind and the pellet goes straight you aim straight at em and the pellet moves a target. Ended up aiming at the target next to the one I was wanting to hit in order to hit it! I thought 28 was an achieveable score prior to staring to shoot, now I needed to clear the rams to match it, at least I still hadn't got any ducks - by the sounds of all the quacking other people were less fortunate. Ian Taylor, the main man on the silhouette's, had finished on a 26ex40.
Moving onto the rams, the first shot was a case of guess the amount of wind required, decided that to hit the first ram I needed to aim at the middle of the back of target number 2. O.k. truth time, I was wobbling that much I'd inadvertantly aimed at the wrong target when I pulled the trigger. Amazingly the first target fell over.
I'd seen the pellet just hit the first ram, notice I say just cos if it'd been another pellets width across to the left I'd have missed. So it was moving the pellets the length of two rams at 45 yards!
Anyway, I aimed at the third to hit the second, but this time the pellet struck centrally. For the third I aimed at the middle of the fourth, but this time the pellet hit the right hand side of the third target - the wind was decreasing. I was very fortunate to see what was going on so for the fourth I man handled the gun to the gap in between the two rams to get the fourth. With the fifth I aimed at the right hand side and it barely moved more than a couple of pellets widths. Still no ducks, five targets to go - five targets needed.
Not wanting to bore you with the details of the final five targets, suffice to say I fluked them as they all fell obligingly. Joint top score with Dave Baines and Colin Deas………excellent. Many times I hear that you need a good technique for stander's, after Saturday I'd say rubbish all you need is a very fast actioned gun and be able to get the rifle pointing roughly where you want it to.
Anyway it turns out this years must have FT accessory is a duck badge.
The leader board looked like this 1st Dave Baines, 2nd = Ian Taylor and James Woodhead. Me I was fourth 2 targets behind Dave - at least it was nice and close.
The day dawned, luckily the wind didn't, well not until it was time for the first group of silhouette shooter's to start going on, oh and guess what I was one of them.
Luckily for me Ian Taylor, arguably the best silhouette shooter in the U.K., was shooting a couple of groups in front of me so at least I could keep an eye on how he was doing, also stood behind me was Colin Deas - a dark horse after yesterday's performance.
As mentioned earlier the day had started relatively calm but by the time the silhouette's had started the wind was gusting one way then drawing back the opposite way in a blink of an eye - whilst it wasn't as windy it was still as hard as the previous day. At least you could hold the gun relatively steady.
All was going well until the first shot, I was aiming to the right of the first chicken but by the time I pulled the trigger the wind was being drawn back left to right, first miss - not a good start by anyone's standards. I knew Ian had missed a couple of chicks so wasn't too bothered. After nailing a couple of chicks I looked behind me to see that Colin was busy shaking his head as he hadn't hit anything. After finishing the first bank of five, one down - Colin still hadn't hit anything, match nerves perhaps? I was just happy not to have got a duck badge.
Second bank and things went a lot better as all but one fell again, this time the pellet had been taken across to the left. Colin had finally hit a couple after discovering he'd been a turn out, christ I'm glad that hadn't happened to me. Ian was doing well, word came down the lines that he'd only dropped 5 or 6 - with only the rams to go. Me still no duck badge.
Moving onto the pigs, things went better than yesterday, but boy it was hard work. At the side of the firing lines were mini wind socks these were a help, also the wind indicator at the end of your rifle oh and the reset chord attached to the targets were all necessary in keeping on top of the wind. It's ever so strange you know, even though you want to do well thoughts like shall I miss all five targets on purpose just to win a duck badge go through your mind.
Colin had now recovered to start stringing one or two together, by the end of the pigs I was told Ian had finished 8 down for a 32, so that meant I could finish on a 30 and still match him - even if I didn't take the silhouette title if I could match his score…..
The turkey's go by in a blur, I'm still on track for a mid to low 30's score, just need to nail the rams! The wind didn't seem to be too bad, but my first shot dropped between the rams leg, time to add some more clicks. After adding four I struck high on the second rams back, too close for comfort - decided to take the four clicks off as it would seem the wind was lifting and dropping the pellets so stick with the true setting and hope for the best. Steve Hebby was stood behind me talking to me don't really know what he was saying as I was trying to block everything out.
By the end of the first rack of rams I needed three out of the five to match Ian, Colin was now well out of it for the silhouette title - mental note will have to keep an eye on him for the future.
Time for the second and final rack. First shot connects second one lifts over the rams back. Slow down Matthew, third smacks low on the rams stoumach. Fourth drops low, got to get the fifth………slow mooootttttttiiiiiooooonnnnn time it was strange the final shot as I snatched the trigger it was one of those that you follow all the way top the target. It arc'ed lovely, well not that lovely cos I din't plan on it arcing, and it smacked cleanly on the rams head. So I'd finished on a 32 same as Ian, but I'd beat him by two overall - I was well chuffed. Just had to wait for Dave Baines now, as he was the nearest competitor from yesterday.
Time to do some more marshalling, but before I managed to get down to the course I bumped into James Woodhead who was coming off with a 37ex40, giving him an excellent chance of the FT title with a 71ex80. News then filtered through about Jonathon Noon had finished 8 down for the weekend, truly excellent shooting. It was going to be a close one this year.
With such high scores coming off the Field Target course, I wasn't really expecting to be in with a shout of the top 5 places in A grade, but still there's no point giving up before you've started is there?
We were due to start on lane 3, this would be fun - start at the far end, make our way back through the course and then do the long walk back for four targets. What made it even worse was the fact the sun was beating down, it wasn't just hot it was f'ing hot.
Anyway my turn to start first, as said earlier - the sun was beating down and even in the gusting wind we weren't getting any comfort. Immediately to our left we were following Ian Taylor and Steve Gallop, oh good added pressure.
The all in was sounded and remembering what happened yesterday I thought o.k. how much are we going to give it and then halved the distance. Things started to work and targets were a falling, Mark was having a flyer as well.
The course was very similar to the previous days, you started in the open and finished in the wooded area, boy could I not wait to get in the wooded area in a bit of shade. I hates sunshine I do.
As we left lane 3 the shooters on lane 2 walked back to shoot lanes 1, I know why they did it but at the end of the day we are allocated lanes in a shotgun start so you should follow the course and if you have to walk back to shoot one or two lanes then so be it.
Where was I, oh yes, as we left lane 3 Mark was one down. The conditions today seemed far more consistent than yesterday, well certainly a lot more readable maybe it was because the wind wasn't gusting as much…….I don't know. The next target to be missed was target nine, Mark was unfortunate to just give it a bit too much, but it was damned close you could tell from the sound of the strike on the faceplate. I was still clear, I know I can't believe it either.
Meandering round the course we bumped into a couple of other shooters who were fairing better than yesterday but still weren't happy, me I was just glad to be out in the sunshine……….well o.k. I was glad to be outside.
Skipping a few lanes, can't you tell I'm doing well cos otherwise I'd have something to say about the targets, we'd just bumped into Cliffy who'd asked how we were getting on, watched me clear the lane and then walked off saying "you'll do well today boy". I was clear, Mark was 7 down, we'd just reached a 45 yarder with no misses on the faceplate………guess who was the first to miss it. Yep plnker Hirsty, what a prat. I 'd forgotten to play the game, whilst the wind was blowing right to left I aimed straight down the middle cos I foolishly believed that because no-one had missed it they hadn't give it any wind. Well my shot needed me to aim off as the pellet struck half a kill out to the left. It's the curse of Cliffy! Mark poxy bleedin southern git got the damn target though!
Little Kev was walking by so I asked how he was doing, he wouldn't tell me other than to say he was doing better than yesterday. Making our way upto the wooded area we came to target 34 again a reasonable distance target that should have fallen down but didn't, what more can I say other than aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhh. Guess what……………Mark nailed that one as well f£$%in git.
It was pretty un eventful moving upto the final lane other than bumping into Ian Taylor who asked how we were getting on, he was two down the same as me. I needed to beat him by one target on the FT course to get a shoot-off with him - assuming he was top score. Time to go back out into the sunshine, loverly.
Approaching Lane 1, I watched Ian nail both stander's, wasn't hard to believe, as they were pretty short. Pretty short, well they if you haven't just walked ½ a mile carrying 15 pounds of gun and scope. I should have waited a bit longer to fire my two shot's, but it was too hot to make rational decisions… they both went though, as did Marks.
Whilst Mark was taking his standing shots I had a quick look at Lane 2, christ almighty what a lane to finish on - first 52 yards second 47. Why on earth didn't we shoot them when we weren't so knackered? To cap it all I watch as Ian misses the first but gets the second.
Final lane and I need both to hopefully force a shootoff, I seemed to take an age range finding the first target, dialling it and deciding how much wind to give it. It should have been range finding the first target, dialling it and deciding how little wind to give it as the pellet sailed straight as a die, another slow motion shot, and split at two O'clock, that had just potentially cost me the title. The second one fell obediently. Mark did the same, but to be fair we'd both had blinders…. Me finishing three down whilst Mark was eight down. It'd been emotional.
As I put my gun away in the car and made my way down to the silhouette's I was told Bainsey was doing well on them, not really what I wanted to hear but hay-ho. I can't remember who it was that sort of grabbed me and took me to the silhouette range , Bainsey was just finishing his Turkey's and I was told he needed eight of the ten remaining rams to match my score. At the moment he looked up at me,as he made his way to the rams, all I could do was nod at him and then walk away to leave him in piece while he finished - if he win's he win's, I didn't want to be the one that out him off so quietly made my way in to the stat's building.
Steve Hebbey was the first in to congratulate me on taking the silhouette title, then Colin and finally Bainsey, true gent that he is.
Whilst I had won the silhouette's Jonathon Noon the FT and Ian the overall title the four man team result took an age to sort out, seem to remember it needing three recounts! Myself, Little Kev, Des Edward's and James Griffiths had tied with Andy Calpin, Tim Finley, James Osbourne and Jonathon Noon. Time for a shoot off!
I was cajoled into shooting the Turkey's against James Osbourne, Des was to take Andy Calpin on the rams, Little Kev had Tim Finley and James Griffiths was to take on Jonathon all on the FT target's. All that needs to be said about this is, it went on and on and on and on……….. I forget how many shoot-offs took place before it was decided to split the position.
It was nice to take the silhouette title, dare I say even more so than the overall - although that would have been nice. Moral to the story Dunk…..Dunk….Oh well there's always next week.
GP1 - Wales.
My god doesn't it seem to have come round rather quickly? Seems like only last year at about this time we were making our way down to wales for the first Grand Prix - oh….that's right we were.
Well it was the same as the first ever grand prix five years or so ago, well the first one I went to anyway, absolutely hammered it down with rain all the way there only for it to be a lovely day in Wales - how strange is that?
I wasn't bothered about shooting in the morning group, even though I was there in time to shoot it. There was a couple of side shoots there to try out, pistol and also a vermin shoot, first.
Arriving at the sighting in range with my pistol I fired a couple of shots then walked across to where you could book in for the 25 shot course………..only to be told I couldn't use my pistol cos it's got a scope on it. Maybe someone should have said something when they said they sent me the details of what sideshoots were on.
Anyway I was offered a Steyr pistol, it had put the top score in so far, 24 ex 25, so I thought why not…….only slight problem was the gun was set up for crosman premiers and they had run out. In the end I shot it with Daystate's and after all the hassle couldn't be bothered sighting it in so finished on a 12. Mental Note……don't shoot pistol event at Wales. After the pistol farce there was no way I was going to shoot the vermin comp, teddy definatley out of the pram.
It was evident that whilst the rain wasn't in Wales the wind certainly was, many people were just one or two down upto the open part of the course and then appeared to drop noend.
Walking the firing line I was soon blinded by Moses and his amazing dulux white emulsion inspired scope…….what can I say……..nothing really as Tim Finley and Kev Sayers had already handed out every possible insult. It wasn't doing him any harm as he was one down halfway round the course, obviously Tim and Little Kev had been blinded by the bright light as they were both three down.
Moving on quickly I tripped over a few peoples gun's, well I was still blind, I bumped into Trev Ryan who wasn't having a good day through the windy open section he was still laughing though.
At the end of the first session Moses had put a stonking score in of 46, obvious the sponsorship from Dulux has worked, or was it the fact everyone around him was still high from the paint fumes? Cliffy and Stuart Clark were close behind though on 45.
After the shooters briefing I met up with David Jackson and we decided to shoot the comp in a group of two, that Anschutz of his certainly looks wicked. The shoot started and David shot first He missed the first but got the second, I was lucky with the first, lucky because it never made a mark on the faceplate or kill zone but down she went, the second landed just above centre - oh well at least a reasonable start.
These first targets were pretty sheltered so it was a case of just erring on the side of caution by giving inside edge, speaking of which - caution that is not inside edges……. After a few lanes we arrived at the chrono David went through o.k. my Zenith wouldn't register.Numerous shots followed and it still wouldn't register, then it registered a rather too high reading and finally went to not being able to register.
We tried everything re-setting the chrono, new card in front of the sensors even let other guns go through that would register but mine wouldn't. Eventually a couple more shots registered - again too high - so I withdrew from the competition. A couple more shooters came through, all fine and then another shooter failed. I wasn't happy at this point, I can tell you, but I was advised I could continue - if the power was turned down and I'd loose the targets I had previously hit.
After getting Nick to re-set my gun I didn't have time to go and check the zero so guessed at how many clicks would be needed. The next sixteen target went by in a blur as they all fell and I was not happy. We were now moving out into the more open area and the wind had got up and finally I missed one by giving it too much wind. The next two standers I managed two faceplates as I just couldn't hold still. The next lane there were a pair of longish targets and, obviously I hadn't given enough guesstimate clicks as both shots went low.
The course now made it's way up a short slope and we were faced with two targets set on poles, the wind was really howling by now and having watched my two new partners miss both shots it was time to really give em some windage. The first one, seem to think it was around 45 yards I gave it my third windage dot off the left hand side of the plate and down she went, the one at the back I hadn't a clue so gave it edge of scope and I'm sure it still went across!!!! This is just how bizarre this place is, at the next lane there were two targets set slightly further out than the previous two, but they were on the ground . Anyway it was obvious they wouldn't need the same windage so on the first I came into edge of plate, just for the pellet to move about an inch! O.K. I can cope with that but theres no way on earth I can give the longer shot the same windage, more fool me as it again only moved about an inch.
By now a marshall had turned up to take me round the rest of the course, so we basicly ran round the windiest part, funny thing was everything was just falling over for me, well apart from that poxy short target on the next to the last lane, around 35 yards that needed a good kill and a half of wind!
Two lanes to go as we made our way upto the start of the course, can't be arsed with the rest of the story, suffice to say I finished on a 33ex50 after I'd had my targets deducted. Oh good, I suppose I could always say I was suffering from snow blindness….Oh well there's always next week - well a couple of weeks, roll on the classic!
BFTA Championships / Inter Regional's Weekend.
Due to other commitments, namely the Trade Liaison post which I've taken onboard, I haven't shot much over the winter hence the reason the site hasn't been updated also the reason I didn't expect to feature as part of the squad for this years Inter-Regionals, but I was pleasently suprised when at the final winter league I was asked if I was available - course I'm available it's one of the best shoots of the entire season.
Struggling with the gun again my fault really as I haven't shot it competitively for around 4 months, but hey-ho, I was actually due to start shooting my Zenith - however Paul Wilson crashing his car put paid to my stock being inlet - you'd have thought he'd have waited a bit longer before writeing his car off wouldn't you haveing only owned the thing five days! Anyway, as I was saying, the stock wasn't ready so I had to hastily take the scope off the Zenith and fit it back on my CRX, readjust the stock and then resight it all back up - oh the joys of shooting.
Arrived bright and early after some creative driving to the Newbury ground, Amanda and the girls went off shopping, which left me waiting around to shoot last in group 15 luckily I bumped into Nathan "splitter" Reeve, after the usual verbal abuse I found out he was also shooting group 15 - so if nothing else it'd be a laugh.
Walking the course and talking to a few people , many were finding it difficult to cope with the wind, not the strength of it but rather lack of it. It was swapping about coming and going, short targets were taking you across the kill whilst the long ones flew straight - boy was this going to be fun! Scores were still very good under the conditions Early leader Steve Page showing the potential of the EV2 coming in with a 35 then Phil James matching him on 35 then Ian Taylor came in on a 36 showing that he wasn't ready to give up the title he won last year.
As Nathan and I made our way upto the firing line we heard over the grapevine that one of the Bisley crew had come in on a 36 - I was just speculating that is was Graham Taylor, I'd spoke to him earlier and he'd only dropped one target and was more than half way round the course, but no it was his wife Jenny - or rather soon to be ex-wife if she continues to shoot like that.
Starting at Lane 1 Nathan was quickly press ganged into shooting first, target 1 didn't look too bad but target 2 - all I'll say is it was spikey!! Nathan got the first, but dinked the next. The first target fell for me but I was never quite sure over the second, especially when picking up the re-set cord all it did was bow in both directions - oh well nothing else to do but give it straight down the middle, luckily the gods were looking down on me at that moment and down the target fell. Bertie Basset and Tim Finley both looked on surprised and couldn't believe it when they asked where I'd given it on.
Next lane Kneelers, both at a similar distance, god I hate kneelers no matter what I do they always give me grief. Only thing that I can say is the first pellet landed smack bang on the cross hairs, at six O'Clock where I had just dropped them to, and on the second shot I gave it just outside the left hand edge only for the wind to blow it across the Kill.
Onwards and downwards, already two targets down after two lanes how much worse can it get? Short answer is a lot worse as at the next lane the gods once again decided to force the pellet way across the kill although luckily for me target 6 fell. Next lane target 7 the pellet flew across the faceplate, causing much amusement for Nathan - can't think why? Nathan was now two up on me, smug not so little git.
At long last I managed my second clear lane, all I needed to do now is clear the rest of the course. Speaking of clearing courses, if only I'd had a quid for everytime I heard "Gonna clear it again Matt this year?" I'd be a very wealthy man - yes I have cleared two courses at Newbury, however I don't need to be reminded of the fact, rant over, big breath and continue writing.
One of the things I like about Newbury is, due to the fact the ground is so large, you never seem to shoot the same course twice - yes one or two of the lanes may be in similar positions butthats all. The wind seemed to be picking up - at least now it'd give a definite direction to aim off on the targets.
Onto the next lane a long 52 yarder and a shorter 40 odd yards target, Nathan had missed both targets by not giving enough, so when I sat down I thought "right time to give it edge of plate". After wobbling around trying place the cross hairs I slipped the trigger and the pellet went piiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg, as it split smack on the edge of the plate where my cross hairs had been, ho-hum. target 12 fell obediently, as the pellet just snook in the right hand edge of the kill.
Tim Finley and Mark "Bertie" Bassett were both flying being only a couple down, whilst it looked like me and Nathan would be fighting to finish in the top 50, not for want of trying - it must have been windier when we shot that's all! Moving swiftly on I actually managed toclear two lanes before missing target 17 - again the pellet went exactly where it was pointed, unfortunately it was pointed an inch away from the kill. Maybe it's time to knuckle down and try and hit a few more targets?
I was now level with Nathan, him having missed targets 16 & 17, but still less than halfway round the course things were definitely not looking good. After the fairly flat start to the course, it now began to fall away and things definitley seemed to get better. It was aas though someone had flicked a switch as everything became more predictable, if the string was moving give it a couple of inch on the long ones - an inch off kill for the short ones and down the targets fall. Even the light was in the right place to allow you to follow the pellet all the way to the targets, perfect!
Nathan was the first to miss one, target 28, it'd gone straight on him as had target 31. I was fine upto target 31 which only just hit the faceplate - nice shot Matt..........NOT........It's last time I listen to that Nathan I can tell Ya. The tables had now turned a bit as Tim and Bertie were now struggling, but still smiling.....honest.
8 targets to go and I was onre up on Nathan, we both knew we'd finish no-where so just had a bit of a laugh over the final shots of the comp. I was still laughing right upto pulling the trigger on target 36, but as the pellet landed on the cross hairs it wiped the smile write off, soo much for being one up on Nathan. Having just completed the final lane to tie on 8 down we waited for Tim and Bertie to see how they were doing, Tim finished nine down whilst Bertie was down 10.
At the end of the shoot, we were all waiting around for the shoot-off between Jenny Taylor and Ian Taylor. Would Jenny fold under the pressure, would Ian end up in second place like he had the previous weekend at the Frayed Knott? It was obvious Jenny meant business as she dropped the first two kneelers, whilst Ian missed the first but nailed the second, onto the standers. As soon as it was mentioned the next two targets were standers I said to Little Kev that the shoot-off's over as Ian won't miss these two. How wrong could I be, Jenny nailed the first 20 odd yarder but missed the second, Ian missed the short first shot so that was it Jenny Taylor took the 2004 BFTA Championships. Ian being the true gent was the first to congratulate her, whilst the rest of the spectators were the first to remind Ian that it was the second time in two weeks he'd come second.
Weather was similar to the previous day, blustery to say the least and if you combine the occasional shower - well downpour - scores were always going to be low. When you've got the likes of Dave Baines coming off with a 27 and Trev Ryan happy to have scored a 30 things were never going to be easy, but we were there to do a job - the same one as last year and that was to take the Inter-Regional Trophy - secoond place wasn't an option, wow that has all the makings for a film
Anyway, scores were looking tight all day, everytime NEFTA thought they taken the lead the midlands or CSFTA would come in with a decent score to cancel ours out! Anyway it was soon time for me, the last man, to start shooting. For the thousandth time I thanked the people who were still saying "are ya gonna clear it again last year?", well I didn't thank them actually I told em to $%^% off.
James Osbourne was just taking his first shot as I laid my gun down, well I heard the gun but the pellet never connected with anything solid! His second shst managed the face plate, jesus, thicngs were not looking good! After forcing my partner, Mark Griffiths, into shooting first I watched as he missed the first target - at least he hit faceplate - and he got the second. I haven't got a clue how I did it, but both targets fell obediently - maybe a clear was on the cards afterall. This though was still in my head right up until the point where I bent down to pick my gun up and felt my back go.
Trying to sit steady on the next lane I missed the first target, oh well I didn't want to clear the course anyway! One down after four, not bad - not good either -, the course now went into to the wooded area. The wind was blowing, the string was blowing the pellet stayed exactly where I aimed on the edge of the kill. The second shot of the pair did exactly as anticipated, it went across, only thing was I'd given it the inside edge o f the kill and it split on the left hand side leaving the target standing! 50% 3 ex 6.
Mark was now two up on me, not exactly how I wanted things to be going. Moving up the course, every time Mark dropped a target I somehow managed to do the same so he was still two up on me as we neared the summit of the hill. Then all of a sudden he started to miss targets, whilst I was still hitting them. O.K. a bit of poetic licence here, as we got to the top of the hill I found that I'd managed to claw back the two targets that he was in front of me.
Relief was at hand, oops that sounds disgusting - Amanda appeared with a couple of pain killers, wow they were good cos within 5 minutes my back was freeing up but I had this urge to chat Mark to death. It was around this time that the heaven's opened and the wind got up!
Squelching along the top section Mark dropped a couple more targets whilst I suddenly found a bit of form and the targets continued to fall, in fact there wasn't a lot to say really about the top section cos for whatever reason wherever I put the cross hairs the pellet hit the Killzone. Even though it was p$%$ing it down the shooting was quite good , the pellet created one hell of an effect as it cut through the rain on it's way to the target. Must just mention Nathan Reeves, grandad Alan, as up to the top section he was one down!
Making our way back down the other side of the hill, again in the rain, I bumped into Andy Calpin who confirmed it was close, but it looked like we were going to take it - just don't drop anymore targets he said as he left. The pressure was now off me and we soon made our way to the final lane I was ten down and Mark 13 down. The scores stayed the same after an uneventful last lane.
Walking down to the car-park, the standoff had started with only the team captains moving through the different groups to ascertain what scores were knocking about. Bumping into Andy and Trev and confirming I'd finished on a 30 Andy said he was pretty sure we'd done it!
As the results were read out we were still not 100% sure until CSFTA were read out as coming second all I can say is it was a great team effort, hopefully we'll do the treble next year.