After an early night on Saturday and much speculation about Sunday’s weather, America Match day started fine enough to allow us onto the range for the 9am scheduled start time.
The match began well for GB, with a steady routine and thankful lack of flap, finishing 300x with 3 off to put us 1 ahead of the US and 2 ahead of Canada. Conditions had been gentle, with wind coming from behind and over our left shoulders, which on A range meant a lot of shelter for all the teams and consequently under-calling of wind relative to flag indications.
Rain, and perhaps storms, had been threatened by a variety of forecasting apps and both temperature and humidity rose as we fell back to 600x. This saw stronger winds, slightly more square than at 300x and less shelter from the left as the 600x firing point is right against the range road, beyond which (ie upwind) are just the cadets’ tent camp. Most wind calls were in the 2 left area, compared with under 1 at 300x.
Both the USA (1 off) and Canada (3 off) made very good work of 600x, while GB was a little way back at 7 off for the distance, taking us into the lunch break 10 off to the USA’s 5 off and Canada’s 8 off.
After consideration of several rain-driven alternatives, including shooting through with no lunch break, we reverted to Plan A, which was to take an hour and a half’s break between finishing 600x in range A and beginning 800m on range C.
The Under 25 America Match was shooting the opposite course to the senior match, ie long range AM / short range PM. In the end, they were still shooting at 900m as we gathered after our lunch break, so we were slightly delayed in going forward to 800m.
Despite further increases in temperature and humidity, the rain held off during 800m, but we could certainly see the sky out to our left bulking up and freshening the wind. Wind calls at 800m all had between 5 and 8 left, with the flags much squarer than at 600x and little shelter to our left: just the berm to the left of range B and we were shooting half way across range C.
The USA continued their very strong performance at 800m, finishing just 3 off at that distance, to Canada’s 6 and GB’s 8. So, going into the final range, USA were in the lead at 8 off, Canada in 2nd with 14 off and GB 3rd with 18 off – a challenging position for us.
At 900m, the weather finally arrived, though thankfully not enough (lightning) for a mandatory range closure to kick in. The USA team demonstrated the benefit of their very fast shooting technique by finishing before the rain hit, however facing 5-7 minute winds for their whole team in the process. They finished 13 off at 900m, for a total of 2,379.278, ie 21 points dropped over 480 counting shots fired – impressive.
A moderate rain shower saw both Canada and GB call a stop for 20 minutes or so, following which the wind was (predictably) much calmer: between 2 and 3 left. GB had 2 half shoots and 2 full shoots yet to go, and we were able to rattle these off at a loss of only 2 points, to win the range with 12 off and finish with 2,370.271.
A notable mention goes to the trio of Jon Underwood (shooter), Graham Nelson (coach) and Martin Liversage (plotter with trepidation) for delivering a 75.15 in our final shoot of the match, and the tour.
With 15 off at 900m and a total of 2,371.261, Canada secured 2nd place and just pipped GB into 3rd.
We go into every international match seeking a win and doing everything possible to deliver the best GB performance to achieve this, so the result was a disappointment. The USA team was clearly the strongest there and we congratulate them for their win, with many handshakes and cheers all round.
After the match, we presented Serge Bissonnette with a print of a painting of Canada House at Bisley, in recognition of and thanks for his support of GB shooting in Canada over many years. The original painting was commissioned by our NRA and presented by Chairman, John Webster, earlier in the week to congratulate DCRA on their 150th anniversary.
Sunday finished with a second visit to The Butchery and yet another round of THAT card game, this time with the benefit of 2 extension sets of cards. We received some perspectives from the Captain at the end of a very happy tour, and look back on both individual successes and, in the 3 senior international matches, one 1st position, one 2nd and one 3rd. It is also worth noting that across the three team matches, an aggregate of 4,800 points, GBRT and Canada were level on points and only separated by V-bulls (7 in GBRT’s favour), whilst the US team were 19 points (and a handful of V-bulls) ahead – fine margins across three intense days of the team competitions.
Full stats from the America Match can be seen via our results page or here directly: https://www.gbrt.org.uk/canada2018/results/america-match-scores/
This final diary is written as we wait for check-in at Ottawa airport on Monday evening. The team’s thanks go to all our supporters back home, whether family & friends, sponsors, employers and others this diarist may forget to mention. We also thank DCRA and ORA for putting on such excellent shooting for us to enjoy; and the opposing teams from Canada, USA, the West Indies along with individual competitors – it has been a pleasure to shoot both with and against them all.