Gary Chillingworth with competition news, from Cambridge, and the Southern Hunters
The Cambridge round of the Nationals is always one of the first to sell out. Yes, it’s certainly true that this popular club has one of the largest and most consistent memberships, but the reason it’s always oversubscribed is that Cambridge puts on a truly testing course.
The club itself is located in the small village of Shepreth, and is set over two separate woodlands. However, for the Nationals, having people walk between the two woods is not always feasible, so for the Cambridge round, they take over part of a farmer’s field and this can cause real havoc and distress to an HFT shooter.
When you are in woodland, the trees help to break up the wind and waving branches and falling leaves make it much easier to identify which way the wind is blowing, but when you are in a barren field with nothing to look at but dirt and rocks, it’s almost impossible to gauge wind speed or direction. It’s like having one of you senses removed.
It’s amazing how hard it is to judge longer distances between yourself and the target when you have no midway points, and this is why Cambridge is always an interesting place to shoot. For 2017, the course certainly did not disappoint. Half of the targets were in the woods, and the other half in the field, so it was not uncommon to see people walk from the woodland with a smug look on their faces and then see them an hour later as they walked from the field with a look of horror and bemusement. One shooter told me that they had not missed a single target in the woods, but had only killed two targets in the field. This is the joy of Cambridge and it’s why we come back year after year.
I would love to sit here and tell you that I tamed this beast of a course, but I’m afraid it not only kicked my backside, it gift wrapped it for me and handed it to me on a platter. However, my good friend and fellow springer shooter, Matt Goodson, showed me how to shoot a boinger properly and took top place in the Recoiling class. In the Open class, Jason Bressington was top dog; the Veteran class went to Cambridge member, Ron
“they take over part of a farmer’s field and this can cause real havoc and distress to an HFT shooter”
Whitney, and the Ladies to Michelle Parsons; the .22 went to Jason Lockett and the 9-13 Juniors to Megan Reed. Ethan Pantling took the Junior 14-16. I must also say that we were awarded some of the nicest trophies of the season and these were produced by ACO Drainage. The round was sponsored by Sure Shot, and Helen Kelley was the proud winner of a stunning Zbroia Hortisia 450/220 PCP Rifle. www.cambridgehft.co.uk www.sureshot-airguns.co.uk
THE SOUTHERN HUNTERS (SPONSORED BY AIR ARMS)
The winter and festive season is now approaching and that means three things; the first is the onslaught of Christmas advertising; the second is impending gluttony and financial ruin, and luckily, the third is the return of the Air Arms Southern Hunter series, and that makes winter one of my favourite times of the year.
The Southern Hunters was the first major series that I ever competed in and it holds a special place in my heart. It is filled with a smörgåsbord of shooters from the downright batty to the hyper- competitive tournament shooter. The courses are still set to the same spec’ as the UKAHFT Nationals and because of this, it gives some perfect practice throughout the winter months, but the whole feel of the series is different.
Of course, there are some of us who take it very seriously, but the whole point of the Southerns is to have fun, and if you have ever thought about giving competitive HFT a try, then this is the place to start. I can assure you that you’ll get a very warm welcome.
Round one was held at Buxted and it would be fair to say that the vast majority of the shoots are held around the Sussex area, with the occasional trip into Essex and Hertfordshire. Buxted is a wonderful place to shoot and no matter how many times I go there, it is always a real challenge. Andy Simpson and his team of minions have set the courses at the HFT World championships for the last three years and when they are on their home turf, they set courses that will challenge the best shooters in the world.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
There are nine rounds of competition, and trophies in all classes, including; Open, Junior, Recoiling, .22 Ladies and Veterans, and for 2017/18 there is also the Combined class. This trophy is for people who want to shoot two rounds each of Open, Recoiling and .22, and certainly answers the question of who the best all-round shooter will be.
The round itself is everything that you would expect from Andy, with tough targets and range traps aplenty, but this piece is not really about Round One. It’s about trying to convince you to come and have a go at HFT. If you are in the south, come to the Southern Hunters; if you hail from the Midlands, try the Daystate Midland Hunters, and if you live up north, then they have the Gauntlet series. HFT will improve your shooting. It will make you a better hunter, and I promise you, you will make lots of new friends who love to talk about guns, tea, and bacon sandwiches.
There were some winners on the day and it would be remiss of me not to mention them; in the Open class, first place went to Justin Rayner; Recoiling was won by Nigel Wood; 0.22 by Jason Lockett; Juniors Abi Maw, and Veterans, Phil Jacobs. I won the Air Arms goodie bag!
“Buxted is a wonderful place to shoot and no matter how many times I go there, it is always a real challenge”
Farm machinery is a great back stop
Dave Taylor was told to grin and bear it, he took it literally
Helen Kelly with her new Zebroia from Sure Shot
Oh to be young and flexible again
This is Nick, he is a SH .22 shooter, need I say more?