HFT - ENGLISH OPEN
Gary Chillingworth brings us a round up of the HFT scene
Gary Chillingworth reports on the English Open from a different venue
The English Open is one of those shoots that has firmly ensconced itself into the HFT calendar. Along with its sister shoots, the Welsh Masters and the Scottish Open, this event brings the crème de la crème of HFT shooters - and old hacks like me - together in a single spot to test their mettle against the best in the country, or anyone we can drag in off the street.
This year, however, was tinged with a bit of sadness as last year’s champion, Rick Arden, lost his fight against cancer and is currently setting up an HFT club in the next life. Rick was quite simply one of the nicest, funniest and most talented shooters ever to hold a rifle and, along with his wife, Aretha, brought happiness and joy to the world of HFT. It is a hackneyed saying that we shall not see his like again, but in this case it’s very true. Rick, you are missed, mate.
This year’s competition has moved from the fine ground that was Worcester - now renamed Nomads - and has gone to Misfits, but this is not the Misfits HFT club that I visited a few months ago, because that ground has become unavailable. Unfortunately, this happened just before the English Open, but the Misfits were kindly given use of land owned by the Ellis family, (Jason, Katy, Thomas and Jess) in South Luffenham. The Ellis family are farmers and are great, communitybased people and they stepped in to make sure the event went ahead.
As we turned up, the wind was slight and the sun was out and the course itself was set in a fairly open area, but we were shooting into a coppice and this is where we would all come undone. As we lay down to shoot, you could see that there was very little wind blowing the long grass all around, but when the pellets left the rifle and entered the line of trees, I can only assume that Greg Hensman and his team had hired a bunch of locals to hide behind them with big fans to blow the pellets about. I have never shot at a ground where it has been so hard to judge the wind.
When we started to shoot and I looked at the course, I will admit that I thought I would tear it up, but by the time we had finished, I was thinking about taking up archery. Greg and his team certainly know how to put on a show, and by the end of the