My dream team
By Duncan Thomas Director of BASC Northern England
We would shoot January pheasants on a crisp, frosty day at Crowcombe Court with the world class hosting abilities of David and Kate Kenyon. The team would firstly consist of Mike Hatton, the chap that really got me into game shooting in the first place. He was an amazing mentor to any young lad and pulled off the highest duck I’d ever seen whilst smoking a cigar and drinking a cup of coffee. Sadly Mike is no longer with us but I think of him on every shoot day. His son and my best mate, Andy Hatton, would be with me. We have shot all over the place together. He’s great company, a real laugha-minute and social heavyweight. Then there’s my son Ben Thomas, a tree surgeon and professional hunter in South Africa. Ben is a useful lad to have about and is following in his father’s footsteps. Claire Sadler, an all round good egg, a massive contributor to ladies’ shooting and comes from the renowned Sadler empire. We’d also be joined by Sarah Read, my opposite number in the NGO. Sarah is a great friend and close ally, another real grafter for shooting sports and easy to work alongside, and a very smart shot as well. My old boss Alastair Mitchell is an inspirational character; he was superb to work for and taught me loads. If he said we were invading France tomorrow I’d be off like a shot with him! Alongside him would be Piers Reinhold, a retired Green Jacket and GP. Piers is a proper old-school gentleman and classic game shot. John Clarke is a retired headkeeper and top buddy, great company and now a respected fieldsports artist; he could paint a great picture of the day. Linda Roberts has to be on the list for the lunch. Linda is the best shoot caterer in the north, if she can fill me and my Bowland syndicate up nobody would go hungry. Last but not least the Royal Dunsop beating and picking-up team – without fear of contradiction the greatest team of shoot staff in the north. Their humour is brutal.