Day 19 - the RSA International Match

Today is the day of both the start of the South African equivalent of the Queens Prize, known as the State Presidents, and the RSA International Match (Great Britain vs South Africa at long range) in the afternoon. So no pressure then!

Uncharacteristically once again (although if it keeps going at this rate, it won't be uncharacteristic) for South Africa, the day dawned overcast, and with a significant threat of rain. Thankfully, this once again meant that the wind was doing very little, and enabled most of the team to put in some good scores, with the occasional 105 for good measure.

So to the afternoon, and the first of two matches against the South African team in the form of the RSA International Match (2 and 15 at both 800 and 900 metres). Given that the wind had been very easy for the majority of the morning, we were hoping that things would get a little trickier for the afternoon to make things a bit more interesting for all concerned (and take advantage of DC's experience as the centre coach). The wind didn't disappoint, cooking up a very steep angle from behind the range, which with very little mirage and a fair amount of buffeting served to keep all of the coaches on their toes.

Despite some very good shooting from all concerned at 800m we were 11 points down going into the longer range. Not an insurmountable margin given the trickiness of the wind and the fact that we were at 900m, but still leaving us with plenty of work to do. As the shoot progressed, we slowly began making up some ground on the South African team, unfortunately they had saved their best firers for last, and we lost the match overall by 19 points.

Despite the loss, there are a couple of good points to pick up from this: Firstly, the team that we lost to was basically the same team as shot in the Palma Match last year (and so therefore quite good), and secondly, that the South African B team beat the South African A team, which should throw a spanner in the works when it comes to team selection - confusion that could work to our advantage in Saturday’s Protea Match.

Performances in the shoots so far mean that both DC and Jon are only 5 off so far in the Grand Aggregate, with the leader a couple of points up on them at the moment. With four shoots tomorrow concluding the Grand, there's still all to play for.

Quote of the day goes to Lauren for "I want my Gareth". Well, I suppose someone has got to...