Day 14 - Free State Pairs and Scottish Sword

Today sees the end of the Free State Championship with the pairs competition, and the start of the SABU (South African Bisley Union) meeting with a warm-up competition called the Scottish Sword.

For the morning, the management team formed the team into pairs using some unpublished algorithm which resulted in some interesting combinations of age and experience. The competition was at 300 and 900m, and with the range already windy at 8am, the first thing the pairs needed to do was decide on the coaching arrangement: either to coach one another, and potentially have a better handle on the wind, or to shoot side by side, and try to let their partner be aware of changes as and when they occurred. The former arrangement seemed to be the one to go for, with the partnership of Gary and Gareth being victorious in the overall competition using this approach.

Free State Pairs - Friday

Free State Pairs - Friday

Well done to Gary and Gareth for first place and Rick and Jon for second!

Free State Individual - Thursday

Free State Individual - Thursday

Well done to Jon, David and Alwyn for first, second and third places!

Day 13 - Free State Championships

Holiday time is definitely over, with the start of the first day’s shooting in Bloem and the Free State Championships. The day dawned bright and clear, and with every promise of barbecuing shooters later in the day. Wagons rolled at an uncharacteristically early (for the last week at least) 8am for a supposed start of shooting at 9:15. However, since we arrived at the same time as the butt markers, most of whom hadn't marked (or potentially seen) a target before, it did take some time for the shooting to commence.

When we did eventually get going at 300 metres, it was to some particularly challenging with conditions, fishtailing from behind the range, and contributing at least in part to lower scores than people were expecting.

The tricky wind conditions continued throughout the day, at 600, 800 and 900, and at the longer ranges tested the wind reading ability of all concerned, although some people were definitely more on top of it than others (Jon and DC, to no surprise from everyone else).

Day 12 - Bloemfontein

Apologies for the late arrival of the daily diaries - it appears that 14 years of marriage between Captain and Manager has not resulted in the Manager being able to read the Captain's handwriting who was then subsequently unable to access the hotel internet password!

Wednesday morning, and time to acclimatise ourselves to Bloemfontein, something that CJ was obviously dreading, having woken up a number of the team by screaming in the night. Turns out that acclimatisation largely consists of heading out in the buses to "the Waterfront" - essentially a shopping mall around a lake.

The team headed out for breakfast at about 9am, and very quickly discovered that the South African waiting staff are completely unable to cope with parties of more than 5 or 6, and therefore our party of 12 spent some hour and a half ordering and eating breakfast, which consisted of (in entirely non-stereotypical fashion) : Oats for the Scottish, bacon and eggs for the English and breakfast pizza for Gareth. No-one felt like the morning glory muffin though...

Internet access at Bloemfontein

There may be delays in getting photos up whilst in Bloemfontein - our hotel has very slow wireless internet and is not coping with big files. The team will be very busy for the next three days but we will try our best to get more photos up as soon as we can.