AROUND THE COURSE WITH BECKY MCKEN­ZIE

Clay Shooting - - Shoot Report -

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

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