So you do all the hard work. Set your rifle up, practice hard, gain experience and slowly progress through the ranks until finally you’re competing at the top with the very best in the sport. Just when it’s so close, the finish line seems to stretch that bit further into the distance – or so it felt at Shepreth today.
I’ve just returned home from the UKAHFT Round 6 held at Shepreth Airgun Club in Cambridgeshire. To be perfectluy honest, I nearly didn’t go! Life has been pretty hectic recently, what with the Midland Game Fair build, pre-event meetings with Lowther and other opportunities springing up in some unusual places.
I did try to call and change my session from the morning to the afternoon to give myself a little lie it, but to no avail – the session was full, and another early morning beckoned. I even had to set my scope up on a windy zero range shortly before the first session as my scope was on a test rifle. You could say my preparation was a little ‘lax’.
But as is often the case, things turned out really well. I very much enjoyed my shoot, and the targets just seemed to string themselves together – almost effortlessly. I wasn’t concerned about missing, and was incredibly confident on every shot. I suppose you could say I was ‘in the zone’.
I ended up with a 58 ex 60, and the highest score of the morning. Being clear of the field, with no discernible competition shooting the afternoon session – and even windier conditions – I was getting used to the idea that I’d just won my first ever UKAHFT National Round. This is where it went wrong.
I simply wasn’t expecting anyone to come off in the afternoon session with a 58, and hadn’t thought about the prospect of a shoot off. As I was buying Tony Belas a coffee, word filtered through of another 58 from the afternoon session,a nd the heat was back on. I’m not sure why, but it just didn’t feel right, and my shoot off was pretty much done and dusted already.
I fetched my rifle out of the car and went through the usual preparations. I was to shoot first, but my concentration just wasn’t there. A silly miss on the first 40mm target was followed up by a solid hit on the next 15mm. Unfortunately I missed the last 25mm target, and I knew I was done for. Fair play to Peter Higgins though. It was his first time up at the business end of a shoot, and he took his targets like a pro. I was left to rue my preparation.
The moral here? Well I’m not sure, but there’s certainly a few lessons to be learnt. I suppose I could start with ‘Relax and enjoy your shooting and the results will follow’, but I’d rather go with ‘it aint over ’til the last target falls’. I for one wont be making that mistake again!