AROUND THE COURSE WITH BECKY MCKENZIE
I should have been competing at the Eurocash Fitasc event in France on 5 September, but Covid-19 put a stop to that so I entered the British Open Sporting at Garlands. Steve Lovatt always puts on excellent targets, and I wasn’t disappointed – well, not with his targets; my shooting, on the other hand, was left wanting!
Stand 1 After some serious rain earlier on in the week, Friday turned out rather nice. This stand was a gentle start, with a pink target quartering away right to left, then on report a steady left to right crosser. Fighting through some nerves (yes it does happen), I actually managed to straight this stand!
Stand 2 had a low right to left incomer, then on report from behind the trees came a medium length and pace right to left crosser. The first target made me tighten up, as it looked so easy, and the higher crosser looked ok. However I totally misjudged the speed of the second target. First pair was a hit and a miss. Not enough respect on that second bird. Next pair dead, another pair dead, then the brain kicked in and I got a kill loss – I had eased up again on the second target.
Stand 3 was in the wood, by the first pond. First target was a left to right rising clay, followed by a sort of incoming crosser. My timing was out and I came away with 7 out of 8, missing the first of the rising targets purely by not trusting myself, hanging on and not squeezing the trigger at the right time.
Stand 4 was a disaster! A nice pink rabbit right to left, and a long left to right battue. I hit the rabbit and missed the battue. Hit the rabbit, missed the battue. I threw my toys out of the pram and missed a pair. I decided to get on the battue quicker, which led me to over-lead the rabbit, and get the battue wrong again. After that I calmed myself down, and shot a pair dead for 4 out of 8: not good enough.
Stand 5 was a pair of teal, the first one close, the second further away, quicker and at a steeper angle. 7 out of 8 here, much better.
Stand 6 was a simo pair of overhead targets. I watched the previous shooters miss a lot of these, so my plan was to take them a lot earlier, as that’s the way I like to shoot overhead targets. I was chuffed with my score of 8 out of 8 here.
Stand 7 had a cracking simo pair of right to left crossers. I am pleased to report I hit all eight, although every one of them was rather chippy.
Stand 8 was a white left to right lowish crosser, and a long right to left standard crosser. First pair I hit the white and chipped the crosser. Next pair hit the white, then missed the longer crosser. Then I missed the next pair. The last pair I smashed up.
Stand 9 was an on-report pair of rabbits, right to left and left to right. I got pair dead, pair dead. Then on the next pair the first rabbit bounced and I missed it, then got the wrong hold point for the return rabbit. I then killed the last pair for 6 out of 8.
Stand 10 was another simo pair, a quartering away target and a crow. There were a few issues on this stand with no-birds, but it was quickly fixed. I missed the first quartering away target and finished with 7 out of 8.
Stand 11 was up on the mighty platform: a right to left white crosser, then a screaming left to right green. I couldn’t see the green target so well against the green background. I only managed to hit one green for 5 out of 8, and was slightly disappointed as it was a cracking target.
Stand 12 was on report – a driven standard followed by a driven midi. I hit the standard, then the midi came out different to where I expected so I missed that. I changed my hold point on the second target, hit the standard – and again the midi came out different. I came to the conclusion that the first midi had been a no-bird, but the ref never called it. On the third set of targets I knew where this darned midi was meant to be, so I missed it behind instead! Finally the last pair – pair dead. It was a good finish, but I was a bit miffed the ref had missed the no-bird.
Stand 13 was a right to left looper, with on report a really good left to right tower bird. I missed the looper and took a tiny bit off the back of the crosser. I had decided the looper looked slow but it wasn’t. I got rather mad and smashed the lot for 7 out of 8.
Stand 14 was an orange right to left away low over the pond, crossing into the far bank, then a long right to left dropping crosser. I smashed the orange and took the crosser on – miss. Smashed the orange, missed the crosser. I tried something different on the next pair, then I changed my hold point again on the long crosser, and shot it dropping: pair dead – a sneaky target! 4 out of 8.
Stand 15 This was a long left to right battue, and a horrible low incoming green target! I smashed the battues and missed two darned frogs! 6 out of 8.
I finished on 93/120. Not a poor score, but way off where I thought I should be. I thought Steve put on an excellent selection of targets, with something for everyone.
My new (used) Krieghoff K80, is exactly how I want it to be. It moves smooth and fast, and the custom stock that Midland Gun Services made me, is perfect. I have to get to grips with the speed, and don’t fully trust all the sight pictures that I present to myself. That will come with time, and practice.
I came away on the Friday feeling a tad dejected – but to my surprise I had qualified for Sunday’s final. No Sunday lie in for me, as my squad start time was 9.45am!
Sunday’s targets were a little softer than I would have expected for a final – but I didn’t straight the whole shoot; no one did! There were three 74s out of 75, which was awesome. It was a pressure shoot, as you just knew you had to hit everything!
I shot average, hitting the harder stuff, and missing some dolly targets. My 63 wasn’t bad, but left me in fifth place. Above me was Emma Stacey on 65, and Hannah Gibson took bronze on 67 after a shoot-off with Amy Easeman who took silver.
Tanya Faulds took Ladies’ High Gun on the day
Becky didn’t score as well as she hoped, but qualified for the Sunday final