U25 RSA International

Paul Sykes

Tuesday’s dawn broke with slightly cooler air on a fresh breeze and 3 of the top 4 places of the Grand Aggregate occupied by GB team members (the other being a GB Vet Jeremy Tuck).

First match of a busy day was the Dalrymple Cup, 2 sighters and 10 scoring shots at 300m followed by 2 sighters and 11 scoring shots at 600m – for a maximum total score of 105. Scores at 300m were high with 16 members of the team scoring 50, however, Rick Shouler topped the pile with a perfect score of 50.10 – all ten shots inside the central V-bull. Back to 600m and the second half of the Dalrymple Cup.

The standard wind pattern at the General de Wet ranges typically follows the path of the sun, with an easterly breeze early on which then swings round to the north and finishes in the West in the afternoon. As the ranges point to the south this often means that the wind and sun are directly behind the firing point in the middle of the day creating fast changing winds from left and right, often at the same time across the range.

Today was no exception to this rule and during the 600m shoot the wind did indeed follow this pattern creating difficult conditions for both details. Scores reflected this with 8 members of the team scoring the full 55 points, top of the pile being Nick Healy and David Luckman with 7 V-bulls each. The two scores combined and 5 members of the team finished with a full score of 105. Messers Healy, Ensor, Nelson and Underwood were all pipped by David Luckman’s superior V count of 14 – enough for second place overall.

The final individual shoot of the day was the Dave Smith Cup, 10 scoring shots at 900m. The Bloemfontein wind was firmly running down the range by the time of this competition and even though the strength was not has much as in recent days, the angle and speed of change proved challenging for many. There were no scores of 50 for the team this time, with Chris Mitchell and Matthew Ensor top scoring in the team with 49.5 each and finishes of 8th and 9th respectively.

After two days of the Grand Aggregate 10 of the team can be found in the top 20 places, with Glyn Barnett the highest placed GB shooter currently in 3rd.

The afternoon saw a number of team matches. The GB team shot alongside these matches and this provided excellent time to hone team drills, wind reading and equipment checks prior to the RSA international match tomorrow and the Protea match on Saturday.

The most important of the team matches (from a British perspective) this afternoon was the Under 25 international match, shot between GB and South Africa, with teams of 5 firers and 1 wind Coach. The match conditions were 10 scoring shots for each of the firers at 800m and 900m. The GB team was captained by Hattie Bramwell and coached by Toby Little. After 800m the GB team had dropped only 9 points and found themselves with a very slender 3 point lead of their opposition. Moving back to 900m some very focused performances (including 50s from Jemima Hince, Miles Horton-Baker and Elliott Sewell) meant that the team ran out victors by 12 points – our congratulations to the GB Under 25 team.

Tomorrow sees the first international match of the tour and the evening was spent in the hotel preparing equipment, ammunition and personnel in its anticipation.