18.08.10 DCRA Day 6

The team has now settled into the routine of wagons rolling at 0645 to get to the range in good time for those on the 0800 first detail to be ready at the appointed hour. The forecast was once again for a fine day with plenty of sunshine, though the morning dawned cool and quite cloudy, with a heavy dew that made it rather moist underfoot for those in sandals or leaky trainers.

The official results of Tuesday’s Coaches’ Match (coach + 2 shooters at 900m) confirmed that the Captain’s team (coach Jane Messer, shooters Archie Whicher and Bruce Roth) came second with a score of 99.8v, one point behind a Canadian team who posted a full score.

Today’s shoots comprised The President’s (2+10 at 300m, 500 and 600 yards, not necessarily shot in that order) and the first range of the 3 range Gibson match (2+10 at 800m).

The first details at 300m and 500 yds had very calm conditions and scores of 50 abounded, with the Adjutant leading the way with the only 50.10 at 300m. As the morning progressed, the winds picked up and became variable, providing unwelcome visits to the inner for the unwary. After the first two ranges, eight of the team still had clean sheets (Armstrong, Ball, Alexander, Sykes, Day, Luckman, Haley and Deane). The Captain, however, was clearly in a generous mood as she ‘donated’ a shot to an adjacent target, a gift that was to prove very costly.

By the end of 600 yds it was team adjutant David Armstrong who topped the poll and won The President’s with 150.25, followed closely by Paul Sykes in second and Mystery Man (see Kitty Cam) Gary Alexander in third, both on 150.23. Henry Day and Nigel Ball were 7th and 8th , both with 150.20. The aggregate of the Letson and The President’s determines the 50 who qualify for the final of the Governor General’s prize, and 15 of the team are in that top 50. Sadly the Captain is not, as her cross-shot (the only points she lost on the day and in the Qualifier) took her below the qualifying score of 4 off (251.27).

The first range of the Gibson at 800m had some fickle winds: although the strength was never more than about 5 minutes, the mirage and flags were often in complete disagreement, and the fall of shot sometimes didn’t agree with either of them. Nevertheless, the Captain showed how to bounce back from disappointment and leads the competition, tied with Bob Pitcairn (our host in British Columbia) and two Americans, on 50.8. Four other team members also scored 50.

Lessons for the day included a demonstration of the highest standards of British sportsmanship from Kitty when she lent her rifle to American Scott Fulmer (the USA team adjutant who had taken the Captain to sudden death in the tie shoot for the Ottawa Regiment) when his firing pin broke. David Rose learnt the importance of bringing a change of clothing to the range when he suffered a Janet Jackson style wardrobe malfunction of monumental proportions that he (and we) had to live with for the rest of the day. Nice boxers Dave! Our travelling Bedouin (who should have known better) was given a timely reminder of the need to keep well hydrated and then of the subsequent “in-convenience” of emergency rehydration efforts.

The day’s aggregate (the Gil Boa) was won by David Armstrong with a score of 200.31, with Paul Sykes coming a close second on 200.29.

The team enjoyed early suppers, none more so than our Main Coach who was reunited with his Surf and Turf “Diet of Champions” and promised the Captain she would see a noticeable improvement in his individual shooting in the morn. The day was rounded off by a reception hosted by the GB & USA Teams in the Mess, at which the quintessentially British Pimms was served (thanks to the resourcefulness of Steve Thomas) to some initial suspicion and subsequent delight of many guests. Speeches were made by both Captains, mementos presented and friendships were renewed and made afresh, to the backdrop of a beautiful sunset over the ranges. And so, after a short team meeting at which the Captain announced the two teams that would be competing in the Outlander Match tomorrow, with a final chance to impress the selectors, a weary team retired for a well earned night’s rest.