24 August 2019

Another morning dawns beautifully, the team get half an hour more in bed before we set off once more for Connaught Ranges. First order of the day, after breakfast of course, the Commonwealth match.

Everyone is involved, teams of twelve firers, three targets, Adjutant and Match Captain, leaving the balance of the team to shoot for the Under 25 team.

Turbo at his smart, ebullient best as Match Captain, Lovely Lucinda as his efficient Adj. In a dress and heels not normally seen being worn on the range.

Regrettably, the team were not able to repeat their performance of the previous day, with a series of imperfections leading to our loss to both the Canadians and the American “Goodwill” team.

The team had to ask for an extension if needed to our allocated time at 900 metres. Paul Wheeler was unable to shoot for some minutes due to a deer standing in absolutely centrally in his sight line. Something nobody had seen before. Management is considering fining him for not providing venison for the team dinner that evening.

We had an extended lunch whilst Canadian qualification shoots were conducted for team selection to travel to Bisley next year.

The final was a Queen’s III shoot, the wind now having gone through zero and coming in from the right, again, needing a close eye on angle.

Jon Underwood, finished on a most creditable 300 with 30 v’s, pursued manfully by Nigel Ball the Sailor on 298.37. Jon was greeted with applause from the English and a few admirers, with Nigel being congratulated on a 2nd place.

Jon’s smile nearly outshone the afternoon sun as he was warmly congratulated by all and sundry. As tradition demands, he was chaired off the range, a somewhat lighter load than some!

A Piper led the way. Somewhat embarassingly, he got a bit lost and tried to lead the bearer party to the Officers’s Mess, rather than the DCRA building next door. The Chair headed to its proper destination, whilst the Lone Piper, on realising his navigational error, picked up his beat, marched through a flower bed or three and resumed his rightful position at our head.

The customary celebrations then commenced, with Underwood being given a Magnum of “champagne” to get things off to a good start.

Final Saturday evening at Connaught is always busy for a touring team. We returned to our Best Western hotel to shower and don number one uniform prior to returning for prize giving, never the quickest of affairs at any meeting.

Jon Underwood was first up for the Ottawa Regiment, which he won in an Old Guildfordian affair, tie shooting against Paul Wheeler, Jon obviously starting as he meant to go on.

Chris Mitchell took the Champlain Aggregate, the Agg of all the pre Grand shoots.

Nigel Ball the Sailor visited front and centre to collect the President’s, whilst Lucinda Grace Taylor and Clare Halloran won the Ladies Pairs.

A “British Isles” team won the Outlander – Angus Macleod helped us out there!

Our U25’s shot alongside the “Senior” team during the Canada and won their International Short range match.

Most notably, the Campion Pairs were won by a curiously named pair.. the “Buggy Buddies”, aka Ball and Rose. These two had spent the week two stroking around the ranges together and celebrated their win by staying on their “wheels” to collect their prize, leaving a whiff of two stroke oil in the marquee. Generously, our Canadian friends did see the funny side!

Chairing in our Governor General’s winner was our next highlight. We managed to not decapitate him as we brought him into the tent.

Prize giving complete, the team assembled on the steps of the DCRA HQ for a quick couple of photos grabbed as darkness fell.

Team dinner next! Rush back to hotel, quick change, taxis to the restaurant, booked and managed very well by Jamie, who has been managing all sorts of things in the background throught the tour.

Great Meal, our Captain had another Long Island Iced Tea. Lucinda recited a poem that she had written for the team, you will have to ask a team member what it said! What goes on tour, stays on tour.

Various younger members then went on to the Crazy Horse, but that’s a story cold winter chats by a warm fireside…

The Grand Finale
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