Start of the Grand

Paul Sykes

The SABU Grand Aggregate starts today, and with that the traditional opening ceremony at 7am. All nations competing are invited to raise a flag after the SA National anthem and official welcome from General Mack.

Shooting started at 300m with the first of two shoots comprising the Free State Cup, 2&10 at this range. Despite the early hour, the wind was already very strong and, as is normal for the first half of the morning, fish-tailing from behind. A 2 and a half minute wind bracket proving too tricky for some bleary eyed shooters, but 11 of the squad kept on top of it for a full 50 points, Theo Dodds and Chris Mitchell doing best with 50.7

Back at 600m for the second half of the competition, and the conditions very typical and fast changing. This time with 2&11 shots, 8 of the squad scored a maximum 55, with David Armstrong scoring 8vs to lead the way. However, Glyn Barnett, Parag Patel, and Jack Alexander were the only three of the squad to go clean at both distances, Glyn ahead with 14 Vs, from Parag’s 10, and Jack’s 9.

Another 600m shoot wrapped up the morning, with 2&10 for the Kings Norton Cup. 7 50’s for GB, Paul Sykes and Barnett with 7 Vs, leaving Barnett as the top shot for GB and The Grand Aggregate this morning.

After a relatively cool morning, temperatures picked up a bit around lunchtime but still pleasingly hovering just below 30 degrees. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a great deal of downtime as we had to prepare for our afternoon team shoot. The Dewar is another ‘club teams’ match where again, GB elected to shoot alongside for more match practice. 2&10’s at 800 and 900m. Our captain once again shuffling target teams to give shooters and coaches the opportunity to work together.

Winds were relatively low and readable, except that the low sun caused some issues reading the mirage and it was increasingly easy to get caught out as the sun dipped. Across 5 targets of 4 firsts, Derek Lowe took the top coach mantle with a target score of 392.30, but Rick Shouler took top firer with a fantastic 100.9, the only maximum score of the afternoon.

With 5 shoots completed, we departed for the hotel for well needed refreshments, and to disperse to a variety of local restaurants for dinner.