The last day of competition started as every other day, 06.00 alarm call and a sunny morning. Today saw the last day of competition of the 2017 South African Championships. The morning started with the last International Team competition, The Protea Match, whilst the afternoon would see the State’s Presidents Final stage which also sees the conclusion of the SA Championship.
The morning was perhaps a little cloudier than recent days but this early cloud soon burned off in what was to be the hottest day of competition. The GB Team headed to the zero range first thing to fire some ‘blow offs’, a technical term for fouling shots, intended to foul a clean barrel before competition. Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours five team members have succumbed to Bloemfontein Belly and the exact makeup of the team was unclear until 30 minutes prior to the match. Fortunately, the team as announced at the Protea Match dinner two nights ago are able to crawl to the firing point.
The Protea match is for teams of 12 firers and is shot over 300m, 600m & 900m. The current match record was set by South Africa in 2009 (1977.200). Today’s competition sees teams from Australia, Great Britain, South Africa and USA competing.
GB got off to a relatively poor start at 300m dropping 5 points (as compared to the Australia score of 2 off). However this ‘ordinary’ score would not deter what has turned out to be an ‘extra-ordinary’ team. At 600m GB dropped a single point levelling the match with Australia, both leading South Africa by 5 points.
A calming talk by the Captain before the final range and 900m kicked off. Only once (when three points were dropped simultaneously after a pilot shot) did the Captain approach the firing point, leaving the three coaches and main coach alone to get on with the job in hand. As the final shot went down the range for the GB Team (it might have been an inner at 12 o’clock), we ran out winners by 12 points from South Africa, with Australia a further 2 points back. Glyn Barnett, Parag Patel, Tom Rylands & Toby Raincock all scored maximum possible 150’s resulting in a team score of 1780.213 (a new match record).
In terms of Team Goal’s GB had four before the tour; 1). Win the Australia Match, 2). Win the RSA International Match, 3). Win the Protea Match and most importantly 4). Have fun, which given the achievement of the first 3, has made number 4 quite an easy win!
Hearty congratulations to Nick Tremlett, his officers, coaches and shooters for a job well done.
And so to the afternoon, the final of the State’s Presidents Prize to be shot over 800m & 900m. 18 of the 20 GB Team members were shooting this afternoon with a firm favourite being Glyn Barnett who had won both the first and second stages earlier in the week (and shot the highest score in the Protea match earlier in the day).
The final started at 13:15, just as the afternoon winds began to blow. 800m was reasonably readable in terms of wind condition, but the intense heat and the ever more wearisome team members would require one last burst of concentration to finish the tour off in style. 900m was also reasonably readable and the stronger winds of earlier in the week were not evident today. At the close of the range, it was apparent that Glyn had not managed a win in all three stages, but rather Toby Raincock had achieved the highest score in the final with 148.14. The State’s Presidents Prize is awarded to the shooter with the highest aggregate score in Stages 2 & 3. In third place was David Luckman (GB) with 297.36, in second was Matthew Ensor (GB) with 297.37 and would you believe it in top spot to round off his day was Mr Nick Tremlett (GB Team Captain) with 298.29.
In the SA Championship, things were close at the top with the top 10 placings as follows:
Toby Raincock (GB) 954.106
David Luckman (GB) 953.107
Jim Bailey (AUS) 951.101
Nigel Ball (GB) 951.99
Parag Patel (GB) 949.111
Nick Tremlett (GB) 949.98
Alexander Coetzee (SA) 949.112
Matthew Ensor (GB) 948.111
Geoff Grenfell (AUS) 947.101
Jane Messer (GB) 947.95
Many congratulations to Toby Raincock (one of the Bloemfontein belly group) who managed despite illness to add to his win in the Grand Aggregate to win the SA Championship!
The evening saw a quick dash to the hotel for a wash and brush up before heading back to the range for the traditional prize giving. The event kicked off with an auction in aid of the SA Under 19 team travelling to the UK in 2018. The auction item was General Mac Alexander’s Tilly Hat and the auction was ably run by Australian team member Bens Emms (the current Long Range Individual World Champion and professional auctioneer). The GB Team (thanks Jumbo) bought the hat and then presented it back to General Mac.
Medals were won, trophies were presented and our Captain rode around in a chair carried by his team whilst accompanied by the sound of bagpipes.
Then we went out…