21.08.10 DCRA Day 9

The final day of the DCRA championships dawned cloudy and dull, with the threat of rain. On the programme for the day was the Canada Match (equivalent to the Kolapore – team of 8 firing 2+10 at 300, 500 & 600 yds) in the morning, and the Governor General’s Final (equivalent to Queen’s III – 2+15 at 800m & 900m) in the afternoon, followed by chairing of the winner and prizegiving.

The Canada Match started at 0800, so wagons rolled at 0630 to ensure the team was fully breakfasted and ready to start at the appointed hour. Match Captain Archie Whicher gave us a new twist on a motivational brief, which seemed to inspire the team and, in gloomy light, the GB team settled into the process of establishing a lead on the extreme right hand side of Connaught’s A Range. By the end of 300 yds, GB were on 398.57, Canada were on 397.51 and the USA were on 395.52.

At 500 yds all teams moved to the extreme left side of the 40 target range as very light rain started to fall intermittently. This rain wasn’t heavy enough to provide any advantage and GB dropped 3 points to Canada’s 2 and USA’s 1. Going into the final range, scores were thus finely poised at GB 795.110, Canada 795.97 and USA 794.95. The team huddle provided inspiration and renewed determination, and GB consolidated with just a further 3 points lost. Unfortunately both Canada and the USA managed one point better, to give final scores of USA 1192.154, GB 1192.164 and Canada 1193.142. A very close match and disappointing to have been beaten at the final hurdle, but credit must go to Canada who held it together to record a narrow victory.

Alongside the Canada Match, Henry, Alex and Steph were shooting with a number of Athelings in the Under 25s International Short Range match. The GB U25 team had more success here, posting a score of 1186.155 to the Canadian Under 25s’ score of 1182,119. This completes the shooting part of the Athelings’ tour, which has been extremely successful. We have enjoyed their company on and off the ranges and wish them much fun on the final part of their tour.

During the long lunch break before the Governor General’s final, many people were seen to be plugged into their i-pods, seeking suitable music to establish the right mood. Alex found that Steph was listening to some particularly unusual ‘noise’, and kindly passed it round team members in the clubhouse, one at a time, so they could sample it for themselves. Facial expressions ranged from anguish to hilarity, via bemusement, pain and shock. Dom summed it all up: “The nicest thing about the experience was that someone took the headphones away”. Nice one Steph! Others played Scrabble, with Dom deriving further considerable amusement from ‘coaching’ the youngest team member.

As forecast, the rain proper arrived during the lunch break, and the few who had failed to qualify for the final were breathing a collective sigh of relief that they didn’t have to get wet.

Scores from the President’s are carried forward and added to the scores in the Final. Before the start, David Armstrong lead the field of fourteen 150s with 150.25, two Vs ahead of Paul Sykes, Gary Alexander and Grand Agg winner Kent Reeve of the USA. After 800m, David, Paul and Kent, along with Des Vamplew and 2005 Queens Prize winner James Paton had still not dropped a point, thanks to the steady winds that accompanied the rain. 900m, however, was a different story, as the rain passed and the wind, initially strong from the right in the wake of the rain, died and changed angle part way through the shoot. Many caught magpies, and some more than one thanks to winding sights the wrong way! Paul Sykes and David Armstrong both ended on 2 off, Paul with 38 Vs, one ahead of David, They were beaten into 4th and 5th places respectively by James Paton on 298.40. All three were, however eclipsed by Des Vamplew on 299.36 and the winner of yesterday’s Grand Agg, Kent Reeve on 299.43, who thereby also claimed the Governor General’s Prize and the ‘Double’ and was duly chaired from the range, preceded by a band playing familiar tunes.

After a quick shower and change, the team reassembled in No 1s for prizegiving, where they scooped an impressive haul of silver, to be held momentarily, photographed and then handed back for safe keeping until next year.

The captain announced the team for the America Match during supper at the hotel, and the team retired to bed to prepare for one last early start, with dreams of taking revenge for the Canada Match.