Diary Sunday 1st
Once again we rose early and departed for the range at 8.15 to receive our rifles from the police and to prepare for the match which was to start around 9. The match consisted of a Queens II course of fire and the main match would consist of teams of 8. However, to make sure we were all getting as much practice as possible, a team of four was entered alongside. As this was our last match before the main matches in Guyana we decided to use the full coaching line up of Bruce and Chris on the targets and Dick as main for the 8 and the four coaches from within themselves.
300 yards got underway with a very light head wind ranging from 1/4 to 3/4’s right wind. There were certainly some nerves on show from those who were getting their first caps and again the humidity and sight picture conditions were tricky. Top performers were Laura Kennedy in the 8 and Martin Liversage in the 4.
We got started at 500 yards around midday with the sun at its peak. Again the predominant wind was from the right but now we had a head wind moving towards us from the bottom of the valley and a tail wind coming in from the top of the valley and meeting in the middle. This did make conditions a bit more interesting for the coaches as the wind began to fish tail dependent on which stream was more dominant at any given moment. We also had to contend with some accurate but very slow marking, prolonging our exposure to the heat. Particular mention should be made of Phil Chapman-Sheath who shot an impressive 50.8 despite the target taking over a minute to mark each shot.
After 500 the team welcomed the opportunity to retreat to an air conditioned room for lunch. This was again a meal from the local Chinese. During our time on the range, our team police officers had of course taken the time to make friends with their local counterparts who were assigned to guard the range. All the police in Trinidad carry side arms and it wasn’t long before the subject of having ago with one was broached. As it turned out they didn’t take much persuading and it wasn’t long before we were all heading to the pistol range to have a go with a Glock 9mm coached by the Trinidad Police’s senior pistol coach. A lot of fun was had by everyone as we fired 5 round groups in different positions on a figure target.
After the fun of pistol shooting at lunch we quickly had to get back down to business for the start of 600 yards at 3.15. By this time thunder could be heard not far in the distance and rolling dark clouds marking the start of another tropical rain storm could be seen heading towards us. We were keen therefore to get through our shots as quickly as we could while maintaining accuracy to ensure we were all finished before the heavens opened. At 600 the predominant wind was again from the right but this time the tail wind had picked up a bit more strength with a few gusts making some unusual wind conditions in the middle of the range. With much of the left side of the range sheltered by trees, the flags were not great indicators and could often be seen pointing in different directions on different parts of the range. At this point the alongside 4 who were trying very hard to beat the other two England targets and who were a point up going into 600, were out matched by the main teams superior coaching but still put in a strong shooting performance. In the end the England team emerged as the comfortable victors with a winning margin of 101 points.
Once the match was finished we moved indoors to pack up our rifles again. This time we needed to pack them securely for flight as they would be held by the local police until our return from Tobago in 5 days time. It was at this time that we also got the opportunity to thank the markers who were cadets and the Captain presented them all with one of our tour pin badges.
After packing up we adjourned to the TRA clubhouse for sundowners and a prize giving. As mentioned yesterday “Dangerous Laura Kennedy” took the lions share of the medals from day 1 and was presented with a trophy for her efforts on day two as well. Our Captain then presented some momentous to thank both the TRA and Norris for hosting us as well as the range officer for his hard work over the two days.
After admiring the fireflies that could be seen in the grass around the clubhouse, and a few more drinks with the local shooters we headed back to the hotel for a late night swim in the pool and celebratory drinks to finish off our rum supplies.