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Chapter 11 – BFTA Masters

The penultimate weekend away with Richard and it’s the Masters and Showdown weekend.

It did not start well with a text message stating the 830am ferry we were booked on had been cancelled due to a technical difficulty, a quick message to Richard informing him of that and to pick me up a hour later instead. Did not fancy sitting in the car/terminal for 2 hours before we got on the boat.

After being picked up, we arrived at the ferry to be told the 830am had not left, it had been fixed and was going to run a bit late. The good part of the time of our arrival was we actually were on the lower deck in the middle so we would be one of the first off.

The journey we took was the A34/M4 route with queues on the M3 and M4. It was here Richard had a message saying low oil level, not an immediate need but to sort out within the next 200km.

Once we arrived in Wales we took a wrong turn on a roundabout and found ourselves back on the M4 so we carried on a slightly different route seeing the massive queues on the other side. Finally we arrived at Caerphilly Premier Inn, our room for the weekend, at about 2pm. Check in was 3pm unless we wanted to spend a tenner to book in early, that’s valuable drinking money!

So, into the Brewers Fayre for a drink, then a little walk to Tesco along the road a little bit to collect some beer then and a walk across the road to Halfords for a litre of oil. We headed back to the hotel as it was now passed 3pm so I checked us in and then went to the car to put the oil in. Back in our room we open up a bottle of beer, a rather nice Welsh beer. A bit of old school TV watched before we headed for dinner.

After grabbing a couple of Guinness and finding a table we read through the menu. After a few changes of mind I decided on the mixed grill whilst Richard went with the Chicken and Rib combo. Both rather tasty and as the time neared 730 we headed back to our room for a bottle each of the beer watching the news and seeing the forecast weather which looked rather dry and warm before getting some rest for the shoot the following morning.

Waking up in the morning and a shower later we headed off for the 20minute journey to Nelson. This was Richard first time here whilst I had been here in either 2018 or 2019 I think it was.

The Masters course are 30 shots with a Yellow and a White course. We grabbed breakfast, the only one of the Saturday/Sunday weekend, booked in and we were given Squad 1 in Yellow. Both of us were going to shoot together alternating who went first. The first lane on yellow Richard started 1st..

Yellow ran down a hill before turning 90 degrees and run along the bottom of the hill with a little bend in it. Well, Andy got off to a flyer by clearing the first 2 lanes before missing a longer one on the 3rd lane due to wind a lot stronger than expected then not missing another until lane 8 and then a kneeler on lane 10.

A very good start really. Richard for the dropped 5 targets in the first 5 lanes, including a pair of standers which Andy had hit both. Richard in the next 5 lanes did not miss again so by 10 lanes Andy was ahead by 2 targets. Quite an unusual start for Andy but maybe he was starting to become 1 with the rifle.

Over lanes 11-13 Andy dropped another sitter but was still ahead, but what would become Andy’s bogey lane of standers for the weekend, were next and he missed both followed by both on the last lane. This meant that Andy finished on a 22 missing 8 targets in total.

Richad after his poor start carried on by not missing another target to finish on a 25. After thanking each other we went back for something to drink as those 15 lanes had taken us just under 2 hours.

After a break we headed back to start the White course with Andy starting first this time. The sun was starting to peak out and us with our shooting jackets were also starting to heat up as well.

Andy missed the second target on lane 1 a 25mm by pulling it wide. Much cursing an swearing going on in my mind. Richard cleared the first lane then missed one on each of the following 2 before clearing the next 3 whialt Andy cleared lanes 2-4 before missing the second longer kneeling target so even after 5 lanes.

Over the next 5 lanes Andy missed 2 more whilst Richard missed 3 including a standing lane which was to play a big part the following day. So after 10 lanes Andy was one up over Richard. The last 5 lanes Richard missed another 3 targets including a long kneeler.

Andy though was steaming his way through the last 5 lanes by missing target 21 and not missing another, getting both kneelers from the standing position.

At the end if the day Richard 25 then 22 matched Andys 22 and 25 so scores even at the end of the 60 targets. Never got to see Richards AR5s in full sunlight with the camera but yes I can say in the sun it is very shiny.

Both courses were cleared, Ian Stoddart clearing White and Justin Woods clearing Yellow. At the end of the shoot the scores put up and both of us had finished 7th in our respective grades and 30th overall. With Ian only missing 1 target all day he was the Mstera Champion for this year, Justin had dropped 5 on the white course in the morning.

After all the presentations were done, hotel was calling with a shower needed just to refresh ourselves before heading for dinner.

After eating, a number of the SEFTA shooters at the hotel turned up and we met up just after 9pm for a few more drinks before returning to the room near to 11pm. Overall, both of us were happy with majority of our shooting just needed to improve on our positionals.

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