UKAHFT

Gary Chilling­worth brings us up to date with the com­pe­ti­tion news

Air Gunner - - Contents -

All the win­ners from the dou­ble-header at Mal­don and District, from Gary Chilling­worth

The first dou­ble-header of the year, shoot­ing on Satur­day and Sun­day, Mal­don and District (M. A.D) has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing the party round. Shoot­ers come from all over the coun­try and camp, their cars jam-packed with large bot­tles of el­der­berry wine and cans of su­per­strength lemon­ade, they turn up en masse on Thurs­day and Fri­day to start the week­end early, and for 2017, we even had some over­seas trav­ellers from Hol­land.

Mal­don has some of the finest shoot­ers in the coun­try and th­ese repro­bates not only know how to shoot, but they also know how to lay on a course that will be­witch and beguile, chal­lenge and test the rest of the shoot­ing fra­ter­nity. This year, the course set­ters were Richard Woods, Jean Greatrex and Steve Ed­mon­son and I think that they put on two of the most chal­leng­ing cour­ses I have ever shot.

Richard is the cur­rent UKAHFT cham­pion and he set out a course that was so good that he crashed and burned on it. He made an ex­cuse that he had stubbed his toe be­fore shoot­ing it, but we all knew that this wasn’t true. Rich had spent nearly two weeks set­ting a course that was both long and tech­ni­cal. The hill, which formed part of it, is well known for strik­ing fear into the HFT world, and this year was no dif­fer­ent. I will give you a ‘ for in­stance’: I ap­proached the peg at the top of the hill and held the string in my hand – the tar­get was 40 yards away and high in a tree – and as I looked at the string, the first 15 yards of it was bend­ing right to left, the next 15 was left to right, and the fi­nal bit seemed to be go­ing up and down. So, how on earth do you read the wind with in­for­ma­tion like that?

IF IN DOUBT …

So, I re­mem­bered what a fel­low shooter told me once – ‘ If in doubt, give it nowt’, so I aimed down the tar­get’s throat, waited for a lull in the wind and fired. I then watched the pel­let fly past the tar­get and into a branch. I hate Mal­don and I hate Richard, which is say­ing some­thing, con­sid­er­ing it’s my home club and Richard is a friend of mine.

Day two was much the same; the Sun­day course was set by Jean and Steve and al­though they are fairly new to the world of course-set­ting, they did a stun­ning job. The course was just very well set out and there were no easy shots, but my main mem­ory was the fact that the Lord Almighty at­tempted to drown all the shoot­ers in ses­sion two.

We knew that there was a chance of rain, but what we didn’t ex­pect was a shower so heavy that some of the shoot­ers were con­sid­er­ing build­ing a raft so that they could get back to the club­house. I was lucky

enough to be shoot­ing with El­lis Thomassen – one of our Dutch shoot­ers – and between us, we man­aged to shoot and hud­dle under an um­brella or a shoot­ing mat and carry on. There were a few shoot­ers who threw in the towel and ran for cover, but we springer shoot­ers are made from sterner stuff.

Both cour­ses were great, and there was some bril­liant night life on the Fri­day and Satur­day. A few shoot­ers chose not to shoot on the Sun­day be­cause they had headaches from drink­ing too much lemon­ade, but even though there was a great at­mos­phere, the week­end was tinged with some sad­ness.

SADLY MISSED

Early in 2017, Mal­don lost one of its oldest mem­bers. Jim Lowe was a won­der­ful man and for the last three or four years, he and his wife ran a pis­tol side-shoot that had be­come ex­tremely pop­u­lar. Jim passed away and even though we knew that he was gone, this was the week­end when we re­alised there was a mas­sive Jim-sized hole left at Mal­don. He is sorely missed and will never be re­placed.

The Mal­don course de­stroyed nearly ev­ery­one, but on day one there were some great win­ners. In the Open class, Mark Wil­son took top hon­ours. He scored a 56 and this was a stun­ning re­sult. This could be down to the ex­tra prac­tice that Mark is get­ting. He has opened a new gun shop in Cock­er­mouth, called Aim-Point (www. aim-point.co.uk), but un­like most shops it has a huge ri­fle and pis­tol range about a mile away, and for Mark this is a real boon. Mark has proved that with a range down the road, you can re­ally re­fine your shoot­ing.

The win­ner on day two was James McLach­lan. In the other classes, there was a win on day one in the Re­coil­ing for Rex Ben­net. He beat me by a point, but I’m not bit­ter about it be­cause I took re­venge on day two with the win. In the Ladies class, Michelle Par­sons won top lady on both days, and in the .22, Ed­ward Tandi was top bomber, but was beaten by Si­mon Howarth on day two. The Vet­er­ans class went to Kent Pothacary on day one, and Mike Burgess on day two, and the Ju­niors 9-13 was taken by Me­gan Reed on both days. The 14-16 class was won by Tom Willing­ham also on both days, the team events were taken by M. A.D., and the man­u­fac­turer’s (spon­sored by www. sole­ware.co.uk) was taken by Air Arms on day one and Steyr on day two.

We had some bril­liant spon­sors, www. jack­pyke.co.uk gave £ 600 worth of vouch­ers for their stun­ning prod­ucts – I love my Hunter boots – and JSB gave pel­lets, jack­ets and hood­ies. There was also a voucher from Aim-Point and tar­gets from Flopover. With all this be­ing given away plus £ 250 in cash each day, there were a lot of very happy shoot­ers, al­beit, a bit on the damp side on the Sun­day. www.ukahft.com

“a shower so heavy that some of the shoot­ers were con­sid­er­ing build­ing a raft”

A founder mem­ber and lovely chap passed away in 2017

Team Air Arms is un­stop­pable this year

The in­fa­mous hill of ter­ror

El­lis Thomassen from Hol­land made the trip to M. A. D and then she had to shoot with me

For­mer Air Gun­ner writer Andy McLach­lan has dusted of his gun and started to shoot again

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