It was nice to have breakfast at a more normal time, although some cars were keen to leave the hotel as soon as possible to afford plenty of time to negotiate the car park. It was a bank holiday Monday which meant no coffee stop on the way to the range because the shop was closed.
Upon arriving at Crabbe we noticed that the flags were more spritely than in previous days, which meant it was likely to be a challenging day’s shooting. In the morning we shot individually at 300 and 600 yards for The Gallichan. Sasha put in the only possible on the range at 600 to finish on 98.8 and for the second time this tour was waiting in his shooting kit to see if he would be required for a tie shoot. It turned out that no tie shoot was needed and he had won the competition - this went some way to counter his woes from the previous day where he dropped a point on his last shot to come second. The Grand was thus concluded after a reshuffle at the top, with good representation for the team in the top half of the leaderboard.
The team of eight and reserve pairs had been announced the night before and originally the plan was for our pair to coach themselves as they do in the Commonwealth Games. However, when we saw the JRA team sheet, they had a separate coach for the pair, so we decided to add the pair after the eight to be coached by James and Kim.
Preparations for the team match had been thorough and we knew what we had to do. All the small details had been covered and the Head Coach, Simon, had even fashioned a ‘state of the art’ dashboard to monitor the electronic targets, complete with spare battery packs. The yellow gaffer tape really completed the elegant aesthetic!
At 300 yards we were on the right hand side of the range and finished quickly. We were two points ahead of Jersey. At 500 yards the range officer brought the start time forward in line with the time on his watch. At this distance we were much more exposed to the wind on the left hand side of the range. We did our best to mitigate the problem but the wind buffeted our shooters continuously and we found it very tough. At that point we were told that we were 11 points behind the JRA. The match wasn’t over yet but we would have to work very hard to close the gap. At 600 yards we were more sheltered on the right hand side of the range which helped a lot.
The scores had been tracked by Chris Watson for the BBBC and we initially thought we had lost by one point. It transpired that we were actually ahead by two points as one of the scores at 500 yards had been entered incorrectly(!). Our Pair fought back valiantly from 2 points behind at 300 yards to drop only 4 between them at the longer distances, finishing on a victorious 288.32 to the JRA's 276.22 .
The top score from the JRA was Julian Magalhaes with a 147.15v - this was not a surprise as he had been shooting very well during the meeting. The NRA top scorer was Richard Dyball with 147.16v but in his humble, magnanimous way, he attributed his success to his Target Coach Kim and Main Coach Simon, without whom he said he could not have achieved such greatness.
In the evening we went for a great dinner at Corbière Phare with the JRA and were once again struck by the beauty of the picturesque vista. It was very convivial and after dinner we had speeches from the team Captains and prize giving. We then had a team photo with the trophies and returned to our hotel. Some may have enjoyed the ambiance of the hotel bar a little too much - there was plenty of team bonding (including a cocktail making class for the hotels staff!). It had been a challenging day’s shooting but we emerged on top, just.