Two matches down, two won – but one to go.
The challenging Protea match awaits the team in 2 days’ time, a match where GB touring teams have often been defeated by both conditions and the opposition. Early mornings and tiring days have been the norm for everyone, but it is imperative for the team to keep their focus – and what better to focus the mind than today, stage one of the State President’s competition and the final day of the South African Grand Aggregate.
The State President’s competition follows the same format as the Queen’s prize at Bisley, where there are 3 stages, stage 1 being a 2&7 @ 300M, 500M and 600M, stage 2 the same but 2&10, and stage 3 2&15 @ 800M and 900M. The only difference is that everyone gets to shoot the first and second stage in South Africa (at Bisley the top 300 scores only go on to stage 2).
As the team arrived at the range, again at ridiculous o’clock, conditions were hot, sunny (for a change) and windy immediately (again – for a change…). Perfect as the team also had a 900M shoot after lunch – as the final shoot of “The Grand”, the order could certainly get mixed up!
Going into the final day (and as you would know from looking at our score page!) it was David Luckman leading the way 5 points down (meaning he had dropped 5 points in total – out of 510… pretty good going!) followed closely by Toby and Nigel (on 504). The competition was hotting up – perfectly in line with the weather…
Scores were high for the first stage, with Parag and David Luckman scoring 105.15 – but fellow teammate and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Glyn Barnett pipped them by a V bull to score 105.16 to win it – a cracking score.
At the end of it all, after some tremendous shooting, it all came down to the 900M detail – and it was Toby Raincock shooting incredibly well to get a 49.5 out of 50.10, to win the South African Grand Aggregate (subject to stats!) Parag Patel, not wanting to be too far away from his fellow shooting teammate from Epsom College, also shot a 49, (eventually – his fellow “shottists” as the South Africans say weren’t the quickest!) to finish second by a single point. A GB 1-2 finish and some excellent shooting indeed!
Afterwards, there were a number of tie shoots (where the top shooters get exactly the same score, there is a tie shoot – 2 sighters and 5 to count – to determine the winner) for competitions throughout the day, with Tom Drysdale winning the tie for the Municipal Cup and Martin Millar winning the tie for the Dalrymple. The videos of which you can see on our Facebook page.
The evening was the official Protea function in preparation for our match on Saturday. Only 2 days left – the team needs to keep their focus until the end…