16.08.10 DCRA Day 4

Back by popular demand, or at least because his mum asked us nicely, our "guest editor" returns to twirl his quill pen once more. With the jangling of tambourines still ringing in our ears, the day dawned ominously with black clouds overhead and a steady drizzle, with the threat of more storms. Surely not another day to be lost to the elements? The doom-mongers were wrong however (we're all doomed Captain Mannering) and the skies were noticeably brightening as we headed to the ranges with the sun making a welcome return by the first detail. The occasional spot was felt early afternoon but generally a bright and sunny day was enjoyed. Up and running in the Grand at last with the Norman Beckett at 300 & 800 metres and the Colonel J Brick at 500 & 600 yards, with the 300 and 500 shoots in the morning. Shooting in pairs there is plenty of down-time and so the team slipped back into a comfortable rhythm with Chris and Peter erecting a large flag pole, David Rose becoming ever more inventive at Scrabble, Nigel gardening, Archie livening up the blackboard at the expense of one or two in the team, Chris obsessively lubeing his bolt and Martin eating crumpets with Marmite on. A lot of crumpets. And a lot of Marmite.

On the ranges, Henry set the early pace to record the first 50.10 but the familiar names were all about the business of trying to secure more pots as commanded by our Captain. And who are we to argue?! Most had moments to be proud of. Conditions in the morning were steady with most needing around 1/2 - 1 left at 300 and 1 1/2 - 3 left at 500. The 50s continued to flow, but many had a careless or unlucky moment, with the changeable light having a marked effect on elevations. In typical Connaught fashion conditions began to liven up after lunch but it depended on your detail, with easier details falling either side of what we shall call "special" ones. Your faithful scribe watched a detail at 800m that stayed at 9 left throughout with triggers aplenty to be weighed, only to be confronted with a wind bracket of 11 to 5 left that turned in seconds in the next detail. Sadly the excitement of making a spot-on 5 minute wind change was too much for him as his enthusiasm to get the shot away before another change came through resulted in a 6 o'clock inner. Doh! Steve Thomas, our Master, was on the same detail and recorded a fine 50, the only one on the range. He followed it up with a fine 50.10 at 600, when his goat was up, to end the day as our top man with 200.27. David Luckman had an exceedingly fine day too, as Mr Kipling might say, a mere V-bull behind - the inevitability of his consistency a real testament to his abilities. David Armstrong was on one off and 6 of the team on 2 off. Sadly for us, honours in the daily agg went to Kent Reeve of the USA, with 200.31, but we did take 2nd, 3rd and 4th. In the 2 competitions, Chris Haley was our top man in the Becket with 100.16 beating the other 6 100s, which secures him a tie shoot place for the trophy with 2 others. That man Steve Thomas again made 100.17 in the Brick, with the team scoring another 2 100s and he too will be tie-shooting for first. Solid.

This evening we are entertaining the Athelings to a PPP Party - Pizza, Pool & Pop Party - at our hotel to give them a break from the ranges. No sore heads tomorrow but I'm betting there'll be some stories, not least as the KittyCam roving reporters are out and about. The suspense is killing. Ta-ta for now.....