|3 Nov 2011
Arriving at the armoury with time to spare I found most of the School VIII organising weapons and stuff to take over to the shorts range. It was a good opportunity to remind them that the School hadn't beaten the VRC since 2001, despite their regular practice sessions and competitions throughout the school year.
The VRC only shoot in competitions, never have practice sessions and are notorious for "irregular‟ shooting abilities. An hour later I was wishing I'd kept quiet! Sean Beer and David Lawton went down in the first detail. Sean yet again clocked up the best individual score of the day with 63/65. David Lawton was struggling with the cross wind! Their combined score of 81/130 raised a few eye-brows. Especially as Harmony Constant, the School VIII Captain, and Cicely Pring made a great start with 108/130. Cheslin Edwards and Jonathan Leung were next down, both making their debut for the VRC. Both were previous winners of the Heather Ludlow trophy. Their combined tally of 87/130 was a slight improvement on our first detail but did reflect a certain lack of practice.
The School‟s second detail of Tom Bayliss and Ben Evans collected a combined tally of 77/130 which just about kept the VRC in contention. Now, Harry Edgell phoned me weeks ago, from New Zealand, to book his place in the VRC VIII. Unfortunately, despite years of private education, he failed to turn over the page on his calendar! We eventually located him – driving around Essex on a tractor. That left me one shot short of a full squad. That was when Kirsti Ryall, current President of the OWBA, and her presidential consort Jeff, walked in.
Seeing a possible solution to my dilemma I explained to Kirsti that it was a tradition for the incumbent president to represent the VRC against the School and as her term in office was nearly over this was her last opportunity. She graciously agreed and in no time at all was "on the mat" with Mike Baggs, in the third detail. After an appropriate amount of "wriggling about and adjusting things" they accumulated a grand total of 60/130, whilst Emily Small and Edward Taylor collected a solid 81/130 between them. I could sense the Crowl Cup was slipping away from us.
Lewis Pring and yours truly took the last detail with something of a mountain to climb. Lewis hadn‟t shot since leaving school over twenty years ago. His daughter Cicely had already scored 59/65 for the school team. No pressure there then. Between us we somehow scraped together a massive 102/130 whilst Ross Curtis and William Hughes gather a very average 68/130 for the School.
The result was now very much in the balance.
We bundled off to the Karslake Hall for team photos and for an excellent tea. I sat and laboriously added up the final scores. Following two recounts we eventually agreed on a final score of 332/550 for Harmony Constant's school team and 330/550 for my Veterans. The highest individual score of the day went to Sean Beer with 63/65. The highest score on the School team and the Heather Ludlow Trophy went to Cicely Pring with 59/65.
Well done Cicely and congratulations to Harmony, School Shooting Captain, for leading your squad to victory at last. And, on behalf of us all, many thanks to Dennis Morgan for organising the match.
Chris Wilson (67-72B) Capt VRC WBS VIII: Harmony Constant -49; Cicely Pring-59; Tom Bayliss-36; Ben Evans -41; Emily Small-28; Edward Taylor-53; Ross Curtis-35; William Hughes-31 Total: 332 WBS VRC VIII: Sean Beer-63; David Lawton -18; Cheslin Edwards -38; Jonathan Leung-49; Kirsti Ryall-21; Mike Baggs-39; Lewis Pring-48; Chris Wilson-54 Total: 330