12/10 Queen's Day 1

Queens day and, at last, Dangles was there.
Ross cooked fish while four reps saw the mayor;
Martin wasn't so rude
As to demand some food
So for him seeing the mayor was a 'mare!

After the day of comfortable team practice and a few distinctly uncomfortable moments during the Australia Match, it was a relief to get back into the simple routine of shoot, check score and score at the start of the NRAA Queen’s Prize here at Belmont. Despite the tricky wind conditions (fairly brisk left-hand winds, with occasionally severe drop-offs) the quality of the field shone though, and scoring was generally very high.

On the drive to Belmont, a threateningly dark front loomed over the range and a few of the team were wondering if we were to see a repeat of last week’s impressive display of wet weather; however after a leisurely breakfast the clouds appeared to be clearing away to leave a beautiful sunny day. Kicking off the relays of ten shooters at 08:30, the 300 yards shoot saw a few patches of cloud and variable winds from ¼ to 1¼ minutes left. Scores were generally high; although there were a few red-faced individuals who tried to shoot to the average and lost a shot out the side as a result. Fazal Mohideen of Canada took the honours with a superb 50.9, with Ed Jeens showing some fine form and top-scoring for GB with a 50.8, followed closely by David Luckman only a vee behind.

The 500 yards stage of the Queen’s continued in much the same vein; although the sun had burned off most of the cloud and beat down on 450 very hot shooters. Temperatures soared into the high twenties in the shade, but on the range there is no shade but what a shooter brings with them. The left wind continued to present occasional challenges and some details were worse than others; however a surprising number of shooters still managed to clean the tough ICFRA targets. There were four scores of 50.9, one of which was shot by GB’s very own Jon Underwood, clearly on form.

Following a relaxed lunch on the well-shaded verandah of the Natives Rifle Club, it was back onto the boiling hot range for a 14:00 kickoff at 600 yards for the final range of the day. Again, the winds were quite tricky but did seem to follow the prevailing pattern of a continuum of wind between 2½ -3½ left with occasional drop-offs down to about a minute. Scoring remained high and GB’s top man was DC with a 50.7; although the overall top man was in fact a woman. US Army Marksmanship Unit shooter and USA Palma Team member Sherri Gallagher took the range with 50.8, which gave her a winning daily aggregate score of 150.24. Jon Underwood came in 3rd on the day with 150.20 and David Luckman’s 150.18 managed 10th place. Overall the standard of shooting has been remarkably high; surely the inevitable result of letting loose the 400 best fullbore shooters in the world with handloads on a superbly-kept range.

The day’s shooting over, the team split: Webbie, Martin and a few selected volunteers headed off to meet the local mayor for sherry; Ross and Jane headed off shopping for dinner; while most of the team headed over to the prizegiving. A short while later and there was much ado in the kitchen and on the barbecue as Ross and his dedicated team of chefs turned out a fine dinner of barbecued snapper served with potato and green salads. Dessert took the form of cake to celebrate Kelvin Ramsey’s birthday. A good end to a great day of shooting in fine weather.