HFT - ENGLISH OPEN

Gary Chilling­worth brings us a round up of the HFT scene

Air Gunner - - Contents -

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

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