Team Diary Saturday 4th April 2009

For once we didn’t have to get up at 5.15am, so instead the team had a leisurely eight o’clock breakfast. As if to prove that the majority of the team was firmly now on South African time, most of the team were gasping for something to eat by the time breakfast started. Bill Richards, following on from yesterday’s diary and despite Stu Young’s close challenge, romped to an easy victory for Mug of the Day.

To fill the time before leaving for the range around noon, various chores were undertaken while the organised or lucky managed to get out to do some shopping. Unfortunately the tiffin-wallah decided that extra food was not needed, which for the latecomers at lunch was a severe misjudgment. Not withstanding a few disgruntlements, the team left on time for the range to pick up the squadding for the third stage of the State President’s Final. Somewhat unusually you were squadded this year on the same target and with the same competitors at 900m as well as 800m. This meant that those next to a line of flags would have had a significant advantage had the wind been it’s usual fickle self. However, this was to be an afternoon of gentle, but shifting zephyrs. The course of fire is a traditional 2 and 15 at both ranges – typical Queen’s III – and the squadding system teams those with similar scores together starting from the middle of the range and fanning outwards. However, the start was a little delayed because this year a number of left-handers had been squadded on the centre targets.

When we did start, the conditions were pretty hot and the light was changing, but there was some very good scoring, particularly from a number of leaders. Going back to 900m, although not confirmed, we believe that the three leading shooters were Ty Cooper (USA) along with our own Parag Patel and the bearded wizard, Nick Tremlett, on one off after the 800m. The second detail was considerably cooler as there was more cloud about but it made wind reading rather tricky as the mirage was not as visible as before and the quite often disagreed with the flags. As he was down a line of flags, David Calvert added a 74 to his 75 at 800m as Ty Cooper struggled in the middle of the range and Parag Patel saw four points leak away. However, Nick Tremlett, also in the middle of the range, came off with a 74 to add to his 75. This was no mean feat as he had been mercilessly ribbed by the rest of the team for dropping all but one of his points in the Grand Aggregate at long range which was not what we’d expect of a man who has won the Hopton eight times in the last ten years. Nick’s score in the third stage was enough to seal the third stage prize by one V-bull to David Calvert and the State president’s trophy with 298 with 29V’s.

David Calvert’s consolation was winning the SA Open championships from Jonny Pants for the eighth time. Immediately after the proceedings finished General Mac announced that the leading three shooters in the Championship would have a drugs test administered immediately after the shoot and on the range. When the authorities realised that there might be some sensitivities amongst competitors and spectators alike at having urine samples taken in this manner, he quickly announced that these would be administered back at SABU HQ. So Nick was duly chaired off the range and onto the back of a pickup truck to be sped to the pub, while various other champions, including David Calvert and the winner of the F-Class competition were similarly chauffeured in a pair of rather nice and well preserved 80 year-old cars. Because the prize- giving wasn’t due to start for a couple of hours, we returned to the hotel for a change of clothes particularly because the awarding of first, second and third places in a number of the competitions means that the prize-giving is never a short and sweet affair. England team members made up five of the top ten in the SABU Championship.

  1. DP Calvert (Ire) 949.96
  2. JC Underwood (Eng) 948.112
  3. TP Breedht (RSA) 948.102
  4. DC Luckman (Eng) 947.107
  5. PM Patel (Eng) 947.98
  6. T Cooper (USA) 947.97
  7. MJ Ensor (Eng) 945.91
  8. PD Sykes (Eng) 945.86
  9. FWA Coetzee (RSA) 944.94
  10. EE Stigant (RSA) 943.93

As they had to sit at the top table throughout the prize giving, the rest of the team, to ensure their proper rehydration after a tiring afternoon, operated a regular cold beer ferrying service.

After the 2-hour plus affair was over, we repaired to an Italian restaurant on the Waterfront in Bloem for a very pleasant if somewhat late team dinner. A number of the team, several cocktails later, went on to various musical establishments that they had found the week before. Upon arrival we discovered some of the more hardy elements of the other three Home Nations teams were also to be seen as well as the younger members of the American team. This number included the Bearded Wizard who was awarded and consumed several springbok shots which appeared to give him a significant amount of courage to show off his hip-hop dancing style later on in the night. Those with more stamina staggered home in relays from about 4-5.30am and the later group clearly considered that they should take a dip in the pool on their journey to bed. There were bets taken on who jumped in, and in what order based on the size and sound of the splashes. And so ended another very enjoyable SABU Championship.

Day 18 – The State President’s