DAY 15 - MONDAY 20th August

By some miracle of nature, all the buses, surprisingly complete with the entire team, were at the ranges by 07:15, although there was some loud grumbling in the ranks from those not shooting until after 9:30 (especially Jacqui, provoked by her bus-mates). However, for those who had to suffer the very early relays at 300m and 500x, much reaping of the vee was to be had, in the warm, sunny, but rather still conditions. These yielded an impressive number of possibles in the morning sessions – 34 out of 42 in fact (none of them mine - I continue to pray for the return of tricky conditions so I can move back off the bottom of the pile - Ed.). Achievement of these possibles was all the more impressive given that Mr. McQuillan started 300m with a 500x sight setting and Watson Senior went to 300m without a telescope. With so many high scores, Ross was to be heard asking what the "piss" was, to see if he was on it. It turns out that that's Norn Irish for "pace".

During the lunch / early afternoon break, Langley & Underwood’s Rifle Surgery opened for business, along with Patel & Watson’s Position Refinement Services. The team room was quite abuzz: bodies were strewn upon the floor in various new contortions, and the gentle click and ting of adjustments being made to hardware – Jacqui was delighted with her smoother trigger, Matt P seemed to find some good adjustments to his position (as did a Canadian cadet, whose friend was to be heard remarking "That's so cute!" when James went to check if the change had been successful), and Andy had to leave the room for a while as the hand drill, hammer and nail varnish came out to sort his rifle's trigger creep.

Meanwhile, two vanloads of hungry people headed back to Bell's Corners and to Vera's for the best hamburgers in the world... ever! Back at base, Watty decided to get tough on a wasps' nest he’d located in the adjacent hut, as several had been bothering us in our hut (the fly-and-wasp swat league currently being hotly contested between Holly, Watty, Matt P and Stu). Armed with lethal spray, he advanced to do battle – however, the size of creatures that angrily emerged prompted a somewhat rapid retreat, accompanied by debate as to whether they were just large wasps or hornets, although the expedition did appear to be ultimately successful. Sadly though, the swat league does not accept use of WMDs as scoring implements.

In the afternoon heat, the wind became awkward again, with rapid angle and strength changes. Fortune tended to favour those who were able to shoot quickly in the calmer spells at 600x and 800m (speed = my weakness; I'd clearly prayed for the wrong sort of wind - Ed.!). We also learned that the DCRA had deliberately squadded the expected top runners (including all of Team GB - even me!) into the mid-afternoon (= trickiest wind) relays. Nevertheless there were some great scores, led by Jon Underwood's 100 with lots.

Sadly, the day on the range ended badly for Jumbo’s rifle, which had cracked quite seriously across the pistol grip when it hit the deck, butt-first in a padded rifle case, from about a foot off the grass as the case slipped off his shoulder at the conclusion of his day's shoots. With no second rifle available to him, there was some mad rushing to find someone who could rapidly repair his broken stock, but a saviour (Robertson) was found and the rifle should be ready first thing tomorrow morning, although an earlier start and longer trip will be required to fetch it.

In the evening, Team GB hosted the Athelings for a social get-together at the team hotel (surely once they've seen the luxury of the Best Western, they'll all want to shoot for GB... right?). Cue pizza, music, chat, cream soda, laughter, "volleyball" and the somewhat disturbing sight of Matty top-bombing in the pool…

Quote of the day: “I went down twice, and it’s much smoother now…”(the trigger– duh!)


Yesterday's answer: James Watson was the young computer geek!

Q10: Which team member once put out a factory kiln fire using a 330ml bottle of water?