For the penultimate round of this year’s BFTA GP series we made a welcome return to Sywell which used to be a regular host of the final round, ideal with its central location in Northamptonshire. Sywell offers something a little different from most of our venues in that it is very open with only shooting butts and a few smaller trees to shelter us from the wind. You’d think the shooting butts would offer some protection from the wind but in fact are more of a hindrance to good shooting as the wind swirls, constantly changing direction and strength, to find its way around.
Our hosts for this round had laid on a brilliant course somehow managing to balance the conditions perfectly with enough long targets to separate out the scores. But, with plenty of targets there to be hit with a little thinking and careful judgement. There is however a degree of luck involved with any good score at Sywell but that doesn’t take away the brilliant shooting from Mark Henson who somehow scored 47 ex 50. That figure was 2 targets clear of the next score, which is most unusual these days at an FT shoot and anyone scoring in the 40’s could walk away from the course with their head held high.
The results from Sywell only confirmed the suspicions of those shooters who might have stood an outside chance of glory in the GP series that they didn’t anymore, leaving a select few with the pressure on them for the final round at Emley Moor. But, at least the rest of us could relax, enjoy round 8 and see how the results for the top spots in each class would unfold.
We were back in amongst the trees again at Emley Moor, but the wind can be just as tricky there as Sywell and the conditions on the day before the event were on the blustery side. The wind did calm down throughout the day of the shoot and we had perfect temperatures for shooting. Two competitors were more or less neck and neck for the title of GP champion, Jack Harris shot during the morning session while Neil Hague chose to shoot in the afternoon. Both shooters have been way ahead of the pack this summer and it could have gone to either shooter. Jack, using his EV2, posted a score of 49, which probably sealed his victory; as Neil had to start his bid for the title knowing he could only afford one miss. Whether it was the pressure or not, Neil couldn’t manage the score ne needed and Jack retained his crown as GP champion.
We did manage to get three team members into the top ten, which isn’t bad. Three team members also made it into the top ten in ‘A’ grade. Full results can be found on the BFTA website (www.thebfta.net) where if you can spend many happy hours looking at how everyone did throughout the season if stats are your thing.
Even though the Grand Prix has drawn to a close the season is far from over with plenty of challenges to come for the FT team members. The highlight of the upcoming events for us is probably the World Championships being held in Wales. The competition will end the season and who wouldn’t like to walk away with the title World Champion; so good luck everyone!