Friday – Gatineau, Grand and Canada Match
Once the squadding for today had been clarified, normal service resumed, with the top competitors in the Grand all squadded, as traditionally, on the same 9am detail for the last competition in the Grand Aggregate, the Gatineau, shot over 900m with 15 shots to count. Three of GBRT shot in the earlier 8am detail and reported a light wind, readable in the main through the mirage. These conditions persisted through the 9am detail, meaning scores of 75 abounded. The overnight leader in the Grand, the Canadian Jim Paton, scored a 75.13 and whilst he then came second in the tie shoot for this individual competition, he did however therefore secure the Grand Aggregate in some style, with a total score of 777.119 (out of 780.156). In the end the top ten did not change at all, meaning David Crispin remained 3rd, 2 points behind Jim Paton, level on points with Benjamin Cleland in 2nd and Derek Lowe, the other diarist in 4th. 5th to 10th were then all a further two points back on 773, with David Calvert 9th and Jon Underwood 10th. It should be noted that Brandon Green, from the USA, who came 5th, also on 773, recorded 120 V bulls, averaging 7.7 per 10 shot shoot, which is good going with this smaller V bull. As he himself said though, he would happily have traded some of them for a few extra points…
With the Grand complete, several other aggregates are now also decided. David Crispin won the Gzowski, the aggregate of the long range shoots with a score of 175.26 (out of 175.35), five V bulls ahead of Jon Underwood in second. In the Polar Bear (all shoots not at 300m), GBRT claimed 3rd (Crispin), 5th (Underwood), 8th (Calvert) and 9th (Lowe). In the Champions Pairs (aggregate of Grand Aggregate scores, our highest pairing (“ Cambridge” – Calvert and Haley) came second by a point behind Jim Paton and Johan Sauer, with other GBRT pairings dominating the standings with 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th.
By 10 o’clock, thoughts had turned swiftly to the first of the main matches, the Canada Match, which mirrors the Kolapore at Bisley, being a team of 8 firers, 2 target coaches and a main coach shooting ten shots at each of 300, 500 and 600 yards. A quick lunch for all whilst the team busied about their various jobs in preparation for the match.
The wind was barely up from this morning at 300 yards although that did make the heat more oppressive. The wind was light, running about 1 to 2 minutes from the left, angling slightly. GBRT started quickly but a couple of loose shots meant by the end of 300, the team had dropped 6 points, compared to the USA’s 1, Canada’s 8 and the West Indies’ 31. It could have been worse had we not spotted the target being pulled down as David Crispin fired his last, enabling the high inner (scoring 4) to be reshot for a bull (scoring 5).
Following the move of the camp (gazebos, scoreboard, flag et al) to 500, we settled down to our new targets ready to go again. Unfortunately when we queried the lack of a target for one of our lanes, it became clear that they were short of one target…. After some confusion, the USA team graciously offered to withdraw their “B” team to enable the match to continue. Whilst you might think it would have been straightforward to move that target to us, we ended up moving 12 targets to our left en masse. By this point the wind had picked up to come fairly strongly from the left, generally around 2 to 4 minutes but with quick string shooting, GBRT matched their 300 yards score to end up 12 off after two ranges. Unfortunately, the USA team also matched their 300 yards score meaning they commanded a ten point lead, with only one range to go. Canada dropped 5 so were on 13 off, with the West Indies a little further back.
So, back to 600 yards, where the light was fading and the ICFRA target faces looked pretty small down this diarist’s plotting scope. This was however GBRT’s strongest range, dropping only 5 points across the 8 shooters, despite the challenging light, as the wind steadied slightly and the gusts were waited out wisely. However, the USA team and Canada both only dropped 4, ensuring the USA team was victorious on this occasion, with an impressive total score of 1194.141 (and no-one scoring below 149 out of 150). The eagle eyed amongst you might have spotted that GBRT and Canada both therefore ended up on 1183, but with an extra 4 V bulls, GBRT claimed second place.
A puncture in bus 4 meant Jon Underwood and Dave Calvert missed the usual photo with the board on the range – photoshop maybe required.
So, whilst the Captain, Vice, Adj and a few selected team members go to Ottawa for the official dinner tonight to celebrate the winner of the Grand, the rest of us prepare for tomorrow’s Commonwealth match, akin to the Mackinnon at Bisley – a long range match shot with 10 shots at each of 800m and 900m, with a team of 12 firers across 3 targets. This starts at 9am tomorrow and scores should be updated in the usual places.
Now, dinner calls…