Day 6 - SATURDAY 11th August - Let Battle Commence!

Our first day of competitive shooting began early, as do so many shooting days on tour. The sky was bleak and overcast looking out from the condo but fortunately it was dry. Dry is good. It can be cold, hot, bright or dark but wet is always bad (one target coach disputed this technical point). None of us was really sure what the order of things would be so we arrived in good time. Not in good enough time to get a good parking space but in good time to hurry up and wait around for the roll call (stand on your target and be checked off) and for 'Colors' (a cannon fires and they play the US national anthem - evidently a means of waking up the older shooters and clearing the geese from the range).

Here is a brief explanation of how shooting seems to work here. Each competition has 4 relays (details) and therefore 4 shooters per firing point for each match. Relays 1 and 2 shoot and register keep for each other's 30 minute unlimited-sighters-and-20 round shoot in turn, while relays 3 and 4 go to the pit (butts) to mark. The relays swap places after 2 shooters, courtesy of flat trailers towed, slowly, by tractors and the process starts again. The shooting itself is fast and brilliantly run, with armourers on hand roaming the firing point as well as 'team scope' guys on call to direct shooters who are not connecting with the paper. It has to be said, however, that there is a lot of time spent waiting for the next thing to happen before then rushing to do it! Gaps between shoots and for butt change-overs and shoot-off preparation are long but shooters' 'ready time' is brief.

Shooting seemed to go well for Team GB. Chris and DC had the top scores in their morning relays, as did Lucky in the afternoon. In an unfamiliar method of smoothing out any inter-relay differences, the top shot from each relay shoots off against those from the other relays at the end of the day in a straight 10 shot match. The team gathered behind these three relay leaders to see Chris win the morning's Band Of Brothers match in Palma rifle (our class) ahead of DC (who has been dubbed 'Irish James Bond'). DCL was next up for the afternoon's shoot but his 100.5 was just behind a lovely 100.7 from Norm ("Who?") Anderson.

The team then had a brief wait as we were leaderless with all of management yet to return from the pit. We wondered if it was a test to see if we'd behave in their absence, or simply wait for them before heading back to the accommodation. There was no mutiny but a lot of hungry shooters were keen to get back to the condos,with pizza and TV being the order of the day. We'd shot twice and been on the ranges for nearly 12 hours with no break for lunch. So early to bed methinks, before more individual shooting in the morning and and then in teams tomorrow afternoon all of it, just like today, at 1000 yards!

Quote of the day number 2, from the Adj: "Watashi no mokuhyo ni satsuei o teishi shite kudasai."

Quote of the day number 1 was when he said "I really need to learn the Japanese for 'please stop shooting at my target'!"

WHO AM I? 2. Which team member can lick his/her own elbow?

Yesterday's answer: Danny Coleman.