State President II

Graham Nelson

With the conclusion of the Grand Agg yesterday afternoon, our readers might be forgiven for thinking that the main event for individual shooting was complete. However, in South Africa, there is still the State Presidents 2nd and 3rd stages, the former of which was to be shot this morning.

With two sighting shots, and 10 scoring shots, at each of 3, 5, and 600m for the second stage, there were still many opportunities for those in the lead to lose a few points and shake up the scoreboard. The top 108 in the aggregate of 1st and 2nd stages would earn a place in the 3rd stage tomorrow afternoon. Conversely, failing to do so would earn shooters an afternoon relaxing back at the hotel pool. A win-win scenario.

The wind pattern for today seemed very similar to yesterday with a fresh breeze from the left. Scoring was good at 300m with 13 of the team going clean, there were no 50.10s but Toby Raincock, Matthew Ensor and Theo Dodds all managed 50.9.

Back to 500m and a combination of calmer wind and larger bull meant for very high scoring. 25 out 30 recording 50s, with Parag Patel and Toby Raincock returning perfect scores of 50.10.

Confidence was high falling back to 600m, however the wind became more changeable than previously with no problems for those who saw the changes, but plenty of peril for those who didn’t. There were several more 50s but only 3 of the team came away from all 3 ranges completely unscathed, congratulations to Nick Healy, David Luckman and to top team man Theo Dodds with 150.22 – a brilliant score and the highest on the range for the match, and highest qualifying score for the final when added to his 105.13 from the 1st Stage.

The afternoon presented 2 options, for the senior team members time off to plan and prepare for the upcoming Protea Match tomorrow and for the Under 25 team, their second international match of the meeting, the Under 25 Protea Match. Several members of the senior team stayed on the range to support the Under 25s and to provide the stats for the online live scoreboard and they were treated to an excellent display of marksmanship and team coaching by the GB team. The wind at 800m was particularly tricky and required careful pausing for the most difficult patches, something which GB appeared to do better than their South African counterparts resulting in an early lead building up. Highlights from 800m included a 50.3 form Jemima Hince and a very rapid 49.4 in a favourable patch of wind by Tom Shaw. The GBU25 took an impressive 16-point lead back to 900m.

At 900m the cloud cover had increased which meant less readable mirage and the potential for more points being lost to wind. Jemima Hince opened with a 48 to increase the lead by one as Lenaldi Gorgens of SA posted a 47.02 but then a fight back began from the South Africans Andre Kellerman and Desirie de Toit both going clean with scores of 50. However GB were shooting quickly and this fast shooting was rewarded with more tricky wind at the end of the detail whilst South Africa were still shooting. With GB complete the last South African suffered a little more in the trickier wind to score 45 and leave GB again with a 14-point victory. Well done to GB for an excellent win, but also to South Africa for an impressive fight back at 900m.

Back at the hotel the evening comprised of preparations for the Protea match tomorrow. Target teams met to finalise personal plans whilst rifles were checked and ammunition pushed to the correct length for each firer’s rifle – a small step to improved accuracy and, we hope, an GB victory in the morning!