DAY 10 - WEDNESDAY 15th August - The America Match...

A super early start as GB rose before the sun. Any sleepy heads were roused by a dawn chorus of Muse and Queen - classic GB music!

The team:

Match Captain - James Lewis

Adj - Ross McQuillan

Head Coach - Jeremy Langley

Left Coach - Matt Charlton

Firers - David Calvert, Chris Watson, Ed Jeens, Jon Underwood; reserve - Kelvin Ramsey

Right Coach - Matt Ensor

Firers - David Luckman, Jacqui Rankin, James Watson, Parag Patel; reserve - Danny Coleman

The team were all prepped and ready for the now customary 'hurryup and wait' but once admin issues were resolved and the pits were ready, the birds (that cover the range in their hundreds in the morning) were scared away by a prolonged salvo of blow off shots. In a gentle breeze and low light, GB opened up strongly with a clean 1200.94, matched only by the US team (exactly, even on X's) and before long we were on a trolley and heading back to 800 where we gathered our wits and deployed the snacks. While discussing Parag's "proofed to 300lbs" stool (now showing wear and tear), James commented "220lbs is about a kilo", which confused us somewhat before he corrected himself.

We fell back to 800 (not 600 as the match format traditionally dictates), initially to a firghteningly sloping firing point, and joined in alongside the 'Palma teams' match that the various clubs etc were shooting today. As the America Match, despite its international significance, is seemingly secondary to this clubs match, we are forced to shoot each range in two periods, with a break for 'pit puller' swaps. Despite this frustrating situation, we were all in the same boat and pushed on regardless. The wind was tricky enough to lose points here but the team read it well and stopped when they needed to. The team once again filled up on points, scoring 1200.84, just one X ahead of the USA. Australia sat 8 off, Canada went clean but were still carrying 13 off (having fired on a 'hospital target' at 300) and Japan some way behind.

Camp Perry being a military range, there are some odd things about on the ground and the firing points. There are electronic pop-up targets dotted about the open ground and here at part of the 900 point where GB were due to shoot were two huge boarded-over trenches! Fortunately we were able to fire just behind them but the firing point was far from the luxurious soft grass we found in Brisbane; in fact the firing points here generally resembled the rather beaten up bit at the right side of Century at 300yds. Fortunately the use of towels to make 'a level playing field' is allowed here and at 800 Ed was accused of being a prima donna for asking for an extra towel - Ross (Super Adj) obliged but refused to bring 100 blue m&m's and a glass of room temperature water ("I can't work in these conditions"). The first session at 900yds went well in a gently increasing left wind. USA dropped one giving us a brief points lead but it was lost when GB lost a 9 too. The session ended with us still neck and neck on points.

One should not forget that during all this excitement, the team members not listed above were all being 'legends', either in register keeping, fetching and carrying, or butt marking (yes, they are legends to fly all this way and happily butt mark in an international match). Holly is especially a legend for receiving the second pits injury of the tour, taking a plastic spotter spindle to the inner thigh.

The second session at 900 was tougher. The steadily building left wind was coming up and down, prompting waits on the firing point as it was becoming hard to read absolute value. The higher pace of firing from the Americans helped them make hay while it was good and they finished about 2/3rds of a firer ahead of GB having dropped only 3. We caught a little more of the 9 ring to inexplicable shots, losing 10 points overall. The standings were now USA in the lead 3 down, GB 10 down, Australia 23 down, Canada 24 down, and Japan still trailing.

Jeremy gave a concise and pointed team talk to a slightly dejected Team GB. Newly determined, with a plan to shoot speedily and limit the conditins we faced, we moved forward to the firing point while those waiting sat against a tree to shelter from the now cruel sun. David Luckman shot fast and hard and was off the point almost as soon as the relay had begun, David Calvert's shoot was slightly more deliberate but they scored 148 and 149 respectively - good scores. This early finish coincidentally gave Lucky time to give an interview with the NRA press officer, which we look forward to seeing online soon. After a fair bit of stopping and starting, Chris came off with a 147 and Jacqui a 149 for a 599.37, just behind Calvert's 599.41. The shooters were sweaty and exhausted as they peeled themselves out of their kit. Tough shooting, but we had clawed back 5 of the deficit - 2 more points remained to be found. Time for a pit change before the final push. The game plan was to rattle through quickly and leave the US team still shooting on the range. Ed and James were through quickly with a 150 and 149 and Jon and Parag were equally fast with a 149 and 150 (earning Parag a great 600.41). GB's total was 1191.73 at 1000yds for a grand total of 4781.315. A pretty good finish.

USA had only dropped one point with their third pair of firers so the lead was just 3 points with 2 shooters still to fire. It was nail bitingly close. USA's last two men shot with all of us watching as every shot went into the 10 or the X. Dropping 13 at 1000yds, they finished 4784.308, successfully defending their 'undefeated on home turf' record since the match started.Well done USA. It was generally agreed to have been a shooters' match and they had shot very well indeed.

There was a brief wait while the other teams finished shooting (the GB and US guns were still steaming from fast shooting) but at end of play, Canada came in 4743.260, Australia made 4729.233 and Japan 4377.109. GB were quick to congratulate the victors and even before their kit was packed, a cooler of beers was doing the rounds. Off to an on-range prize giving (which took an age!) and then home before the thunderstorm that's been threatening since 1000yds breaks before heading out to Mon Ami for dinner.



Yesterday's answer: Kelvin Ramsey used to track brown bears in North Carolina.

Q6: Which team member managed to get into and out of Argentina undetected during the Falklands War?