Team Diary Wednesday 1st April 2009

Another early start and one of the “Big matches” of the tour – the RSA International for teams of 12 firing 15 to count at 800m and 900m. But first the small matter of the State Presidents first stage, a Queens 1 – which, combined with the second stage, comprises the shoots from which the finalists are selected for the shoot on the final Saturday. Therefore it’s important we get off to a decent start. Not everyone gave themselves a chance of doing just that. Mary Boston got to the firing point only to discover that she had left her shooting jacket in her bedroom at the hotel. Nevertheless various “knights in shining armour” came to her rescue. The Captain sprang into action strapping her into Steven Penrose’s jacket with his belt (after which she duly got her 35 at 300m) and Emil Praslick then gave her a lift back to the hotel in double quick time courtesy of his rental Mercedes so she could shoot 500m and 600m. Of course Mary played her part in obliging with a 105 ex 105, but it is likely that the “mug of the day” nominating committee will not be so generous.

David Luckman was our high man with 105.16 and Derek Lowe was third overall. Mary’s score was good enough to give her 10th place overall – not bad for a girl having a blonde moment! Before the big match we also shot the Municipal Cup, 2 +10 at 800m. As the temperature rose and the fickle winds played havoc with everyone’s “inner coach”, the Scottish Sword Champion and coach extraordinaire Matt Ensor mastered the conditions on the very right hand end of the range. Despite his 50.4, this was not good enough to get him in the medals, coming 8th. Nevertheless, his one point dropped on the day was good enough to give him 2 nd place in the daily aggregate with 154.11, behind B Hayter of South Africa with 154.17. With one day to go, Matty is leading the Grand Aggregate with 4 off ahead of Dave Luckman on 5 off, and Paul Sykes on 6 off. A fantastic English 1 2 3 4 also sees Jon Underwood lying in equal 4th, but with the highest V count!

Onto the RSA International Match, the first of the two ‘Big Ones’ this week. See elsewhere on our website for the team details.

The high temperatures and the strong winds (from behind the shooters, and therefore onto the face of the target) made life difficult for shooter and markers alike. When it came to the match, Richard Van Lingen the Referee decided the course of fire would have to be shortened to 10 to count at 800m while sticking with 15 to count at 900m. We got off to a reasonable start at 800m although the heat remained a challenge to be overcome in addition to the fickle winds. At the half way stage, we were 8 points off, level with the USA and one point ahead of the South Africans. The other home Nations teams and the Channel Islands were already someway off the pace at this stage.

We shifted targets back at 900m, which put us at a slight disadvantage being right between two sets of flags while the USA and the South Africans were adjacent to a flag line. As the temperature cooled the winds died but so did the light making the decision as to how best to use the allotted time an finely balanced trade off. More points leaked away than we would have liked while the Americans were shooting very steadily.

By the end they could afford to miss the target and still win which was just as well as their last man did just that with his last to count after a coaching stop/go mishap. We were already finished at 31 off and this put them 28 off. After a few tense moments trying to discover what South Africans had scored, we realised that they too were 31 off. We were really pleased to learn that we had 20 more V’s than they did, placing us second. This was some reward for a good all-round performance but not quite the one we wanted. Nevertheless, second place and beating South Africa on their home ground was a good feeling.

After the mid-week prize giving, the US team invited us back to their “tent” on the range for a Braai serving the meat they had successfully shot on the Sunday. Wildebeest, Gemsbok and Hartebeest were all sampled in various ways – kebabs, steak and sausage to mention a few – under the warm South African sky with accompanying pyrotechnics of a lightening storm. A special way to round off a day of International Competition in SA.


State Presidents 1st Stage (2&7 @ 300,500 & 600m)

1 Dave Luckman (England) 105.16
2 TB Hayter (South Africa) 105.14
3 Derek Lowe (England) 105.12
8 Nick Tremlett (England) 105.10
9 Stephen Penrose (England) 105.10
10 Mary Boston (England) 105.08

RSA International Match (2&10 @ 800m, 2&15 @ 900m)

  1. USA 1472.157
  2. England 1469.155
  3. South Africa 1469.135

Grand Aggregate (1 day to go)

  1. MJ Ensor (England) 411.42
  2. DC Luckman (England) 410.50
  3. PD Sykes (England) 409.37
  4. = JC Underwood (England) 408.51
Day 15 – RSA International Match