Springfield Air Rifle Club

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The Worlds FT 2013

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 2:13 PM
The World’s FT Comp, by a worlds virgin.
 
If you were a good amateur footballer, you’d be quite shocked if one day you wereasked to play for England & in the World Cup final, wouldn’t you? But, would yousay yes?Well I was shocked when I was asked earlier in the year if I wanted to take place asnumber 8 in the England FT squad to go to Ebern Germany this year. I was proud tobe asked and I was proud to answer yes but the chances of shooting as well as the restof the venerated squad such as John Costello (winner only dropping 6 out of 150targets), Andy Calpin, Simon Ayers, Jack Harris & my own club mate member CraigMcDonald; was slim, and I knew this. But in ones mind there’s always the chance ofpulling a good one out the bag and then one also had 4 months to practise!I’d not had good consistent results throughout the year, but I’d had a couple ofblinders with a winter league clearance and a 45 at GP9 2012, & a 46 at the Essex 50.What one cannot know as a Worlds Virgin is what the course will be like, I’ve done afew tough ones at Anston & Millride but you know if it’s the Worlds surely it has tobe the toughest? Other compatriots’ plant rumours in your head of 25 mil satnders at32 yards or full size at 45 yards. I knew in my own game my main weakness werestanders, so after buying a new shooting jacket, I worked on them down at the club!As the adventure took off from Stanstead with our SEFTA posse which inc. Dan Eley,Cliff Church, John & Robert Walker, Craig & Barry McDonald I felt impendingdoom & that wasn’t down to Easyjet! On day 2 we arrived amongst hundreds ofothers all mingling & me feeling a bit solo, the idea was to get air, plink & check allwas ok after the flight, all seemed ok after 30/40 shots so I put all away to have a lookaround, the general mood seemed to be all were happy to be there and to see eachother again. The reception that night was fun & traditional and generallymisunderstood by most but a beer or two was quaffed down. Home, sleep, thentomorrow!Up early, great breakfast & off we went, we wanted to be there for 8am for 9am topark & plink. I was on the red course day 1 starting at lane 5 with a Russian girlGalina, a South African Gerhard, & Thomas from Germany, all were in the nationalteams as I was. Getting on to the course was a bit of a mountain goat job with a holein the fence and a real clamber up through recently carved forest up to the main trackwhich was hard to do with both hands occupied! We got to the track on the Blackcourse then had a 15 min walk up the track to the red course then lane 5 where I wasto meet the opposition who would turn out to be friends by the end of the comp.Imagine a sharp slope a few hundred feet high with a forest on it with a straight flatgravelled track driven through it half way up, to your left is sharp down, right sharpup, so it was roughly 25 targets down & 25 up & many to that extreme! There was adistinct lack of wind, but there was a mild stir here & there, trick was spotting it at all.I started well and had only dropped 2 in the first 14 or so, the difficulties here seemedto be either the track bevel down into the abyss with a near target 20 feet below andnot sliding in, plus it would also be a 15 mill & the face plate is not facing up towardsyou, or it’s long in the foliage and it’s dark as a Butlins Holiday! The wheels began to
come off on the 2nd 25 of the day on the way back, shooting up hill.
 
It was as obvious as a 60 mill kill, if you weren’t young, skinny and bendy you’regoing to have problems, so us more portly older shooters moaned like pigs in a porkscratching queue! And this was the moan; in the UK we are used to a fairly straightplaying field, your gun & hammy and cheek-piece are set up in general for targets infront of you not more than 20/30 yds apart, or no lower or higher than 25/30 feet, thisgenerally prevails as we don’t have clubs that could offer a different terrain (apartfrom clubs mentioned earlier like Anston & Millride etc.). So there were close targetsup hill 30/40ft but only 20+ yds away, thus one had to adopt a position not taught(and probably not legal) of laying on your back, as in bum-bag in the centre of yourback & somehow crossing your legs above you then balancing your gun on top of thetop leg! And there were those, with the Magic Hamster!(?).There were several designs of moveable, collapsible, stretchable hammy’s on showfrom the Italian’s & the Americans where you could drop the hammy out, move it upto the trigger end & then it had a sleeve on it to then make it twice as long to get inyour hand or on your knee, your only other option was to take it kneeling or standing!I was just caught out on this as preparation, the expectation of this in the UK shootingfraternity was nil! And guess what, it was the same for the kneelers, but they weremade closer to cause trouble & I remember my left hand thumb being stuck betweentrigger guard & hammy with forefinger under hammy in a V shape to balance withmy elbow high above my knee; which then begs the question?On every kneeling lane the management had decided to put photographs on aclipboard of the correct kneeling position, foot, bag, knee, hand on knee, forearm,
exact! The 2nd kneeler we came to one was not able to adopt the basic elbow on knee,
 
in fact the shot was that high your upper torso was actually in a standing position, themarshal spoke good English, I alluded to the photograph & then the position I had toadopt to at least hit plate. I got a wry smile in return.I now started to drop more than I liked & a basic count up looked if I kept this up I’dbe on for a 38/39 arriving back to lane 1, “shooting down”, could I get back to mystarting form? That time came as we got back to lane one, the sun had disappearedfrom that side & we now looked into a dark evil murk of tangled twisted foliage. Ireally couldn’t get a good picture on the long ones even mag’ing down; double dinklane 1, lane 2 double dink; lane 3 double dink, the wheels were off and I wasCinderella with size 14’s on, no ball for me! Came to the last lane & I shot it out oforder & didn’t know the rule about pulling the second one up again and shooting thatagain to get the point. ******************* 31!!With a heavy heart feeling I’d been cheated, castrated, neutered, scourged & spat on, Itook the very long walk back to the main area soaked in sweat! What could be outthere to console my ego? As it happened it was a pint of Weiss beer in the main tentwhich was freezing cold & I downed in one much to the surprise of the bar tender!Then I thought there’s always tomorrow & I can do better!The hotel was indeed a fine one, swimming pool and sauna & mini bar, and boy did ithelp, and fortune also smiled as right opposite the hotel was a large bar and restaurantserving fine beer at 3€ & a great Wiener Snitchel for 8€, we ended up eating thereevery night plus a short trip to Lidl meant I could put a few beers in the mini bar forless than 80p each!DAY 2: Up early feeling good, the German countryside is a real tonic to travelthrough every morning. Clock in & get my sandwich pack & then get some air, get tothe loo and then get on the plink, lane 5 today on yellow course, I might be able to seeyellow targets me thinks!A really long walk to course yellow, 20 minutes!?! The same but different & harder,25 targets up and 25 down! Some of the up’s were expansive in terms of they hadcleared meters off the slope going way high, to make it look a long way then they putthe targets on wooden plinths at 52 yds, but also the targets were around 40ft inheight, did the usual on that one got the long one & missed the shorter one! Therelationship grew amongst us intrepid shooters & became more relaxed but I neverknow if that’s a good thing or not, does it keep the concentration sharp?In short a better day with a 36 with the targets up hill claiming the majority ofcasualties. Home for a swim & a good night out in the local but in bed early as the lastday starts 30 mins earlier.Day 3: Up at 6am for the black course today which is an extension of the red course.But on this day for the first time there was wind & I watched my opponents begin toscrew up badly where I managed to knock em’ down. Again found a few hard torange in black but the up hill targets causing the mayhem! 7 hours later finished witha 35.At this point I was glad it was over, 150 targets & 21 hours shooting in 3 days, mindyou, I had nothing else to do at the time! I felt quite up-beat all in all, had my Weissbeer to cool and calm, & of course we needed to get back sharp’ish for the eveningspresentation & get a quick meal in before we go. Got the swim & the meal in and weall squeezed into the 7 seat’er for the gong ceremony. On arrival it was a very up &hyper atmosphere where just like me it seemed many shooters could let go and let offsome steam!Medals were give out swiftly & profusely & it came to that moment where theEngland team had to get up gets their gongs stand on the podium and do some seriousgloating as we/they had won by a country mile plus 8 out of the top 10 individual PCPplaces were taken by English shooters. As they went up I followed on feeling rathersheep’ish accepting this major title knowing that I had scored the worst & my scorehad been dropped (probably) every day; but I couldn’t help being proud, inspired andin awe of the team around me, so I banged my foot in football chant rhythm on thedais and chanted ENG-LAND, more for their efforts rather than mine, a good nightand lodsa beer!I thought in general it was very tough and to be in the same team as Costello whodropped 6 out 150, where I nearly dropped an entire course of 48 was a bit Disney
Land. Also congrats to my club matey Craig McDonald who came 8th & shot in a
 
wonderfully laid back style over the three days without a care in the world! It hascome to me though that my real competitive shooting is only 4 years young, and thekit that I now have has taken 5 years to arrive at & I’ve only been shooting it for 18months. My old mentor Bob reminded me of this fact & to compare that to the course,and you know, I’ve learnt a shed load in 3 days & I’m much inspired to kick FT assnow I’m back. I’m well FT rested now, missed a comp and the Euro’s but I felt Ineeded it. I need to up my game & possibly acquire a magic hammy, and I’m thinkingabout looking through a new Sightron, although I still love my Leup 20-50. I’ve rezeroedmy scope & distances since back & found some of them were quite off but I’dcompensated for some of those while at the Worlds.Will I go back? Well, I said to many that I wouldn’t, but in hindsight I think I would& as an individual (as I can’t see me picked for England again), but as the banter is allabout New Zealand 2014 & if it is there, I wont be going because of the basicexpense!So, a great experience with great people leaving me inspired & educated to push on &up and I thank those who pointed the finger at me & said, ENGLAND WANTSYOU! They gave me a chance to be with the best & learn.

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