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Chapter 12 – Showdown

Day 2 of the weekend is the Showdown where those 48 who had qualified, like Richard, do a round robin on 3 different 20 shot courses trying to beat the other person.

I was participating in the event by being a space made available as people pulled out for one reason or another.

After waking having a shower, we headed to the ground hoping for hot drink and a breakfast. Unfortunately, like in Tondu, it was not ready and in fact did not turn up until nearly 10pm, a bit late again as all 48 shooters were on the Showdown course shooting the first rounds. Even after the first round there was only a short 10 minute break before we were all on again. Seeing as the food wagon made the food to order and took nearly 10 minutes to do so nothing really cooked until after the 2nd round and the lunch break at around 1230 when the 3rd round was finished.

The first 3 shoots are a round robin format where there are groups of 4 so you shoot against each person in that group once. This then leads a football like table with 2 for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. For Andy his group was Dan Horricks, Dylan Varney and Jamie Spears. Jamie and Dylan both AA grade shooters whilst Dan was someone to fill in a space. In Richard’s group he had John Chopping in AA, Andy Finigan a fellow A grader and Stafford Miles who was down as U/G.

So Andys first round was against Dan on Black course. Black course was the last 5 lanes of the previous days White and the first 5 on the previous days Yellow but all painted black. Starting on lane 6 I set the standard by missing both of them, annoyingly giving 1 wind and needed none and the closer giving none and needed loads. Dan hit the closer but missed the longer one. Over the first 5 I crept a little clear by 1 target missing 4 to Dan’s 6. After walking back to the top of the incline for lane 1 I knew I needed to just keep ahead to get my first points. Over the next 5 lanes we both missed 3 but gave me my 2 points.

Richard was starting against John on the yellow course. As I was shooting not able to see him until the end where I found he lost by 3 to John, who had cleared the Yellow course. A quick 10 minute break whilst the scorecards added up and the next round drawn. This time I was on the yellow course against Dylan who was probably over half my age. I needed to up my game and try to get closer. We started on lane 6 again and this time I cleared the first 3 lanes before dropping target 17, a close stander, but then getting the longer one, the only one I knocked over in the whole weekend. In the next lane Dylan however missed his 2nd shot meaning back to level scores. Maybe it would be closer. Back to lane one with me looking over Dylan shoulder and seeing the string on the closer target moving left to right. Dylan missed the longer target as he gave it right side and went right I found out afterwards. My turn and a chance to put a bit of pressure on. What I should have remembered was the string a little earlier, but no I went with the rifle string gave it the same as Dylan to get the same results. Idiot!

We cleared the next lane but I then missed a midrange target and on the next lane the short kneeler but got the long one and then my last target. Dropping a total of 5 to Dylans 2. Richard was against Stafford on the white course, this time he dropped 4 including the last lane of standers. This would come to haunt him later in the day. However he beat Stafford by 2 for a 16-14 win and his first points. Anther short break and we headed off to the final round.

This time I was against Jamie and starting on the kneeling lane. Jamie went first missing the closer one but getting the longer. Got both and then in the next 2 lanes lost it missing 2 longer targets with miss ranging due to heat haze as it was now around 26 deg and in the sunlight in a black leather jacket I soon warmed up. I missed another 4 in the next 5 lanes and put it down to the heat as not able to keep steady. Richard was on the black course in the shade against so slightly cooler for him. He had his best round dropping only 2 to Andy’s 5. So 4 points for Richard and some good scores, which trophy would he be going for Showdown, Plate or Shield.

After a 45minute break for lunch, we all got our shooting partners. Here was where the knockout sessions starts. If you got the lower score of the 2 then you’re sent packing.

As they called out the Showdown groups it became clear that neither of us were in the top tier trophy, never mind always the plate and near the end of these Richard was called out against John Easterbrook on the white course. Myself I was on yellow against Nick Barron. I started very poorly by giving wind for the first target to see it land were I was aiming. Nick missed both, ok so slight pressure off and we both cleared the next lane before I missed both Standers, Nick following me by also missing both I cleared the next 3 lanes with Nick missing target 2 leaving me ahead by 2. Unfortunately in the next 3 lanes I dropped another 3 whilst Nick missed no more. 2 of the 3 were wind and one was a close kneeler, need much more practice. That meant I was out, oh well mybe Richard was having better luck.

R ichard was against John Eastrbrook, a fellow shooter from my B grade. They were back onto the white course. By this time the sun was properly out and those lanes in the sun you had to deal with heathaze as well as the sun beating down. It was a close fought match with Richard just coming out on top with a 18-17 win.

Next was John Oldroyd an AA grade competitor for the quarter finals on the Yellow course. They started on lane 5 with a few lanes between all the others shooting on the same course. As I followed them around the last few lanes found him clear of John by 5 targets with Richard finally finishing with 18-13 win.

Now it was down to 4 shooters in each of the trophies. Richard was now against Nicole Stoddard, who’s father had won the Masters the previous day. They were now on the Black course starting on lane 5. The others in the Plate competition were great friends and local rivals Simon Evans and Mark ‘Berty’ Bassett starting on lane 1.

At least this course was in the shade a lot more so a little cooler. With a bit of a tussle to and fro Nicole and Richard reached lane 4. Both 3 down and who would be going through. Well they both cleared the lane meaning a shoot off on that lane a pair of medium targets. Richard not being a gentleman at all went first, not in a cruel waay its just best to go first and put the pressure on the following shooter. Richard clear both and Nicole missed one giving Richard the win.

With the other pair it was a win for Simon, so we knew the final pairing. Unfortunately this pairing was going to be on the White course. The final was always going to be a tight battle and by lane 5 they both were still clear. Lane 6 Simon missed one target giving Richard the slight edge. They carried onto the last lane with Richard still clear and Simon down 1. The last lane was a pir of standers and Richard had not had a good experience with this pair all weekend. This was to prove the downfall for Richard as he missed both whilst Simon cleared them both.

Richard was a little upset with himself as he knew this would be the deciding lane. With the gentleman’s hand shake and congratulations all 6 finalists headed back to the prize giving.

It turned out that the Showdown trophy had gone down to the wire as well with Dan needing to clear the last lane for a shoot off with Justin Wood. However he missed the last target to lose 19-18.

So after 140 shots the competition as finished with the prize giving the final thing to happen. The CSFTA region had 2 places that of Jutin with the Showdown Winner and Richard with Plate Runner up.

Not a bad result, Richard was hoping to win the Plate Trophy again 26 years after we won in in 1997.

After the badge and trophy collection we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower, needed as getting a bit ripe by then, followed by a nice dinner and a few well earned drinks.

One weekend for this Summer season to go which will be the start of 3 weekends of shooting. That being the last nation event the British Open, then the lst regional Summer league at Southampton and the start of the Wintr League on the Island on the 1st October.

A bit less travelling for a few months before it will all start again. Watch out for the final report on the British open in a few weeks.

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