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. Several episodes of “sheep mode” followed while our transit was eased through by the good work of baggage master Matt Millar & his team, James Watson as FAC guru and
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. GB were determined to get off to a better start, which we did, shooting quickly to finish a few seconds after the USA in 25
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
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
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. The first shooters at 900 yards could have just about completed their shoots before the wind started blowing. Slower shooters on the first relay enjoyed a changeable 2-3 minutes of left wind for their last few shots. Thereafter wind conditions became steadily more challenging. By the time all had finished many failed to break 60
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. Conditions today were dull and overcast until mid-afternoon, when it brightened a little. It was quite cool all
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. The 900 yard shoot was challenging, the
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.We visitors were welcomed in several ways this morning.  The New Zealand shooters were lined up shoulder-to-shoulder around the 930 yards line, facing back to all the visiting teams who were on the 1000 yard firing point.  Several representatives from the broader
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
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. The overseas clubs match would be a perfect way for the team to remind themselves of team shooting technique and also for Parag, David and Nigel to warm up for their Ballinger Belt final. The team split into 4 separate target teams
The Trentham winds returned in full force today. We woke to cloudy skies and a cooler morning (no sympathy expected from loved ones in the UK dealing with snow). A brisk wind down the range led to rapidly fishtailing conditions from the start of the 600yd match at 8.30 am. The 900 and 1000 yd ranges to follow were very challenging! Scores in the 30’s (ex 50) were common at 900, with the G.B. team managing an average of 43 at 900 and only 40/50 at 1000yds. Despite this several moved up the overall standings with Parag top scoring with
Thursday began with the brightest start to any day so far, threatening the hottest conditions. The earliest to arrive at the range saw a thin layer of mist just covering the targets, but this did not last. As it turned out, the heat did not seem quite as draining as in some previous days (in some cases because of the abandonment of extra shooting layers), and perhaps the lighter load of shooting (3 shoots rather than the 4 of both yesterday and Tuesday) helped. Today's schedule has been the most relaxed we have seen to date, with us leaving the
Wednesday brought the beginning of the Ballinger Belt series (see article in the brochure for the history of the Belt), which is the main individual competition of the year for New Zealand fullbore shooting. Today we were eased into it, with purely short range shooting, twice at 300x in the morning and twice at 500x in the afternoon. While it was another very hot day it was tempered with more cloud, and the shooters often faced overcast conditions when shooting which was very nice after being roasted the previous day! The team’s acclimatisation was in full swing in the morning,
After the excited rush to prepare for and shoot the New Zealand Match yesterday, the team has now settled down into a routine for individual shooting in the New Zealand championships. This is the first of four days of individual competition: the Masefield today followed by the Ballinger Belt over Wednesday to Friday. As we arrived on the range, the cloud cover extended down to about 100 feet above the ground at the targets, and barely higher further back. And the bugs & flies were out in force. David Armstrong changed the warm-up routine by adding the flapping arms to keep
After one day of individual competition, the New Zealand Match today was for international teams of ten. The GB team had been announced on Saturday evening (it had to be selected before any competitive shots were fired), allowing us to prepare suitably. As on recent mornings, the skies were overcast for the first shoot but rapidly cleared and the temperature rose through the morning. The course of fire for the match was 2 sighters and 10 counting shots at 300, 600, 900 & 1000yds (just like the Australia Match). The 300 yard shoot set the scene for the day: GB
The morning of Sunday 27th January brought the beginning of the individual competition at Seddon range at Trentham, with the Wellington Rifle Association Championships, or the “WRA” for short. After the range gave us a taste of its fearsome reputation yesterday, the team were hoping for an easier start to the individual shooting (or at least some of them!). We arrived with overcast skies, a calm wind and light drizzle - something which helped the more homesick members of the team! The WRA is a day’s competition in entirety, with 2 sighting shots and 7 to count at 300, 600,
Today was our first full day of shooting, with the team having been given instructions to be heading for the range by 07.30. After a team warm up conducted by Zoe, there followed two hours of practice at each of 300, 900 & 1000 yds with a ‘lunch’ break after the first range (10.30am).  The morning started much cooler than yesterday (waterproof trousers donned over shorts, for some, to keep warm). Later in the morning it had warmed considerably and the wind gradually built through the day. This provided an excellent chance to practice team drills in challenging, changeable  conditions.
Thursday concluded with a delicious fish barbecue and much pushing of ammo by team members until late at night. For one there was even a job interview conducted via Skype from the bathroom floor... don't ask! Friday saw the team’s arrival in force on the range, for some it being their first ever visit. These first two days have been allocated to team practice, ahead of the New Zealand Match, which is to be shot on Monday. Some post-travel settling in was expected; in two cases this included fixing the wrong sights to their respective guns.  One was among this
Today was the last day spent in separate groups before gathering at Trentham. The roadies (minus the Adj but plus Jumbo Lewis) went fishing off Porirua.  A frenzied 1.5 hrs of action saw them catch around 100kgs (65ish fish, some of them huge snappers) - probably enough to feed the team for 3 nights!  The Main Coach had slightly mixed feelings about this as half the catch was being kept chilled in his shower when he arrived - about $1000 worth at supermarket prices! There was an earlier start today for the scenic viewers, particularly for Jane who took a drive
The ‘scenic viewings’ group, whose Tuesday activities went unreported before now, woke to breakfast overlooking Mercury Bay. This set them up for a two hour coastal walk to Cathedral Cove, with plenty of pauses to admire and photograph the stunning views. Nigel and Matt B couldn’t resist a swim and their shorts soon dried out on the return leg. Nigel & Jackie returned via water taxi allowing them to find the fabulous ‘Pour House’ for lunch.  The green lipped mussels were the best any of the group had seen. The morning’s experience left them starting a 4 hour drive to Taupo
Lorry loading for the rifle shifters started at 4am for a planned 5am departure for the 8-9hr haul down to Trentham by the British Isles Roadies (the 4 from GBRT have been augmented by the Channel Islands’ Dan Richardson and Colin Mallett). In the makeshift armoury, the oldest and youngest roadies were roused by a phone (alarm set for 3:45am). The resulting washing/dressing activity was a triumph of speed and synchronisation that even a Formula 1 pit crew would have admired.  After commenting that they felt reasonably good but didn’t feel like they’d been asleep for very long, both parties
After exiting customs, the van (and truck) drivers went to fetch the vehicles while everyone else got all the luggage into a position outdoors to be picked up. The vans shuttled luggage and people to the Holiday Inn, where showers were available and team members reorganised themselves into R&R groups. First to leave was the group who were heading for Rotorua, who stopped for a delicious tapas lunch in Hamilton en route. They continued down to Mourea, where their accommodation was a lovely lakeside lodge. They investigated the area, made plans for the next day and enjoyed an excellent meal