Monday 11th February

Monday began with an early start to our three-stage journey back to the UK – so early that the rest of the team nearly lapped the revelling group who had tested the delights of Wellington last night.

Fortified by coffee and bacon sandwiches kindly wheeled into the hotel car park by the legend that is James Lewis on his range trolley, we arrived at Wellington airport and unloaded by 0830. (more…)

Sunday 10th February

GB were down, but not yet out. The Palma Match is held over 2 days, and after day 1 Great Britain were behind by 34 points in 3rd place to Australia in 1st and USA 2nd. The second day gave GB the chance to try and claw this back for the win. Early forecasts had predicted strong winds for today, but we were greeted with flags stuck to the poles in an unusually calm morning. (more…)

Saturday 9th February

Match day!  A slightly later departure for the range as the Palma match referees had chosen a 9.15 start to allow for even light conditions across the targets (the left hand bank had started in shade at 08.30 all week).  After a warm up led by Zoe, we awaited the draw for targets – starting out far left of the range at 800 yards, central at 900 and near the right for the final shoot of the day. USA top scored at 800 with 1194 ex 1200, 2 points ahead of Australia. GB had a disappointing start with 1181. Being to the left side of the range our coaches had a little less notice of wind changes but there were some loose shots fired too.

The wind picked up as normal through the day, never reaching the extremes of previous days. Wind changes were still fast however, meaning that there were numerous periods of waiting followed by times of rapid firing to make the best of conditions. The energy on the firing point during those periods was quite something.

At 900 and 1000 yards, GB and USA managed very similar scores with GB ahead by 3 at 900 (with Matt Charlton’s target only dropping one point) and USA ahead at 1000 (where Matt Ensor’s group excelled) by just 2 points despite a rear sight failure for Matt Button. Australia, however, maintained strong form through the day winning at each of the longer ranges to lead overall by 34 points at the end of day 1. We lay third.We left the ranges soon after shooting to triple check equipment and prepare for tomorrow. A team get together before dinner for some rousing words preceded an early night for all.

Friday 8th February

Today the team had a relaxing morning as it was the Palma Match practice day. As a team we had decided to only do a short 1000x practice in the early afternoon so the morning was spent having a nice breakfast, getting ready for the practice and the match, and doing some early packing for the journey home!

The day itself was warm with calmer winds than we are expecting in the match, but gave us all a chance to go through a run through of a team shoot and also double check sight settings.
The evening was spent splitting up into target teams for dinner at various places around Trentham. Bring on tomorrow!

Thursday 7th February

Bright skies returned for the final day of individual world long range championship shooting. We had the 900 & 1000 yard ranges of stage 3 to complete in the morning followed by a Championship final also shot at 1000 yards for the top 10 overall. (more…)

Wednesday 6th February

6 February is Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand, named for the place in 1840 where a treaty was first signed between the Crown and over 500 chiefs of Maori tribes over the subsequent months, which effectively founded the nation.  All shooters were invited to a ceremony held on the range prior to the start of shooting, where the importance of the day was explained and the New Zealand national anthem beautifully led for us in both Maori and English. (more…)

Tuesday 5th February

The first full day of the world individual long range championships certainly generated some good stories. The individual competitions are shot in 3 stages, each comprising 15 counting shots at 800, 900 & 1000 yards. All are shot on the same size targets so scoring becomes progressively harder (and the wind affects bullet flight more at the longer distances).  This morning we finished stage 1, having shot the first 800 yard shoot yesterday afternoon. Those hoping that an early position on their string would see a calm start to the day were disappointed. (more…)

Monday 4th February

Monday began with the opening ceremony for the individual Long Range World Championships, to be shot over the next 4 days: 800 yards once today; 900, 1000 then 800 on both Tuesday & Wednesday; then the last 900 and 1000 yard qualifying ranges on Thursday morning  followed by the final for the top 10 on Thursday afternoon at 1000 yards. (more…)

Sunday 3rd February

After a very well organised team dinner last night in Petone, following which a few of the team socialised in Wellington and others in Trentham, it was a day off for the team today. Therefore many enjoyed a bit of a lie-in, some early physio sessions and a bit more R&R. Some of the team went into Wellington to view the Terracotta Warriors on show at the Te Papa museum, others went to the beach and most enjoyed a leisurely lunch as well – mentally preparing for the start of the World Individual Long Range Championships that begin tomorrow afternoon at 800x. (more…)

Saturday 2nd February

GB victorious!

OK – that headline may be mildly misleading, but it is technically accurate.

After a final 1000x detail yesterday that caused an onslaught of distressed memes by the adjutant onto social media, the team awoke to a day of blue skies, apparently calmer wind (from the front for a change!), and a team match in the morning. (more…)