HMNB Neptune FITA25 13th March

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Absolutely the final competition for the 2010-11 winter season, this would be the last time we’d get to shoot competitively in the warm and dry … for a while at least. Giffnock sent an impressively diverse team in Alistair(recurve), Dave(recurve), Lesley(ladies recurve), Bruce(longbow) and Jamie(novice recurve) obviously looking to maximize medal possibilities. While it was the rabidly competitive twosome of Tait and Davidson taking the line for Glasgow … both shooting recurve.

Simply getting to the venue was an adventure in itself. Neptune shoot inside Faslane naval base and befitting a location where you can find “nuclear wessels”, security is tight. We needed parking passes, personal passes and were escorted everywhere … although we were trusted to go wee on our own (quite a concession given last year an archer was almost detained for wandering about ‘for a look’)! The hall is large but somewhat spartan and easily able to accommodate 36 archers, their kit and a 25m range. There was to be only one session for this shoot so kick off was at 11am. A FITA 25 is shot at 25m using the standard 60cm face (the one you normally use in a Portsmouth). Its not an easy shoot ranked as almost as tricky as a normal FITA18.

The mood seemed a bit mixed at the start. John was wound up to bursting point shooting 7 arrows in each of the 2minute practice periods when most people struggle to shoot 4 (although being honest, Geo struggles to shoot 3 in that time normally!). For once George did seem pretty calm given this was his last chance to overhaul Alistair’s lead in the rankings and if anything Al seemed a little more on edge than normal – although that may have had more to so with the sugar rush from his wine gums and new, unfamiliar trousers.

Getting underway Geo and Dave could have been forgiven for being a bit intimidated as they were sharing Target 1 with international compounder Claudine Jennings who spent the entire day putting all her arrows into the 10 ring for a new Scottish record. John was still wound up and ready to go, shooting the vast majority of ends in 45 seconds compared to Geo’s first on the line, last off approach. After about 2 dozen Alistair took a wander by target 1 for a sly peek at Geo’s score. His stage whisper of “I’m 6 behind him” may have been a cunning ruse but George was starting to feel his 3rd wheatabix kicking in and it phased him not.

A certain amount of good natured amusement was had throughout the shoot with the antics of a Linwood junior. She had several bouncers (where the arrow hits the target and comes straight back out). On the same boss, Lesley had to walk down each time this happened and search for an unmarked hole on the target so allowing the junior to re-shoot the arrow. This she had to do with the whole company watching her … a lot of pressure for an easily embarrassed teen. On the 3rd occasion, her re-shot arrow was a perfect ten gaining her a round of applause.

With the shoot over it was time for Giffnock to loot the raffle with bottles of whiskey vanishing into kit bags. Lesley also acquired a vanity case which was deemed suitable for fletches, nocks and piles although there was a suspicion that she might put girly things in it!

Results time and there seemed a somewhat hesitant air within the Glasgow/Giffnock camp. No-one was quite sure how they had done, a FITA 25 not being an often shot round, and there was none of the usual post match bragging. First up was Gents Recurve and it was a surprised Mr Davidson that when up to collect the winners medal. His 536 (out of 600) was a single point better than Jason Craig, the Ayr archer in second place. Jamie Lawson of Giffnock took the novices recurve medal but that was all the joy that the results would bring to Glasgow and Giffnock. Perhaps a combination of an unfamiliar round and strong field.

Now it was time to clear up, hand in our passes and get off the base before the RM Commandoes found out John Tait is an ex-para (marines and paratroopers are natural enemies) and the Hamster had written a lot of harsh (yet witty) things about Booties on a well know military website’s wiki.

Scottish Rankings: After problems getting the rankings worked out (the software succumed to the pressure) and the competitors suffering both joy and anguish as the rankings flip flopped sometimes hourly ... the results are finally up for all to see.

Position.....Name..................................Club........................Ave Score ..... Class
12 .............. George Davidson ........... Glasgow ................. 530 ............... C
13 .............. Alistair McIntosh .............. Giffnock .................. 529 ............... C

So ended the 2010/11 rankings feud with the tightest of results, promises of revenge and repeats but apparently they had so much fun exchanging banter on the shooting line and via email and forum ... they're going to do it all again next year.  Lets hope they remember to practice in between the banter!


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