FT Blog: No Brexit!
Simon Evans reports back from the Europeans and reckons we’re still (the BEST) in Europe!
The busy Summer FT season traditionally finishes at the BFTA European Championships, held at the Weston Park Game fair near Telford. It’s a two day shoot, 50-targets per day and the shooter with the highest aggregate score, becomes the BFTA European Champion.
This year, the line-up of world class UK shooters left little to be desired with England Team places up for grabs for the short trip to Wales for the 2017 World FT Championships, next September. The ‘Euros’ is one of my favourite events of the year, as besides two days of FT shooting, your £35 entry gets you into the Game Fair each day and there is enough to do and see there to keep most happy. I’m usually found near the pork pie tent, awaiting John Gray to arrive!
Andy Calpin and the NEFTA crew did a great job in course building and as usual Sam Reece, Simon Higgins and many others did a great job in running the event. Both days’ courses had plenty of long testing shots; just as well, given the lack of wind on the Sunday. Neil Hague took to the conditions on the Sunday to pull the win out of the bag and claim the title in the 25th anniversary year of the shoot. He was somewhat overcome at the presentation to walk away with a superb line up of prizes, which included an Air Arms FTP 900 kindly sponsored by them, together with ten tins of pellets, £600 cash from the BFTA and a Hawke FT scope, so about £3000 in total.
The competition ended with several tense shoot offs for the other top places and those were really enjoyable, at least to watch and photograph! It’s not often you see Conor McFlynn miss the plate on a stander, even if it was 45 yards away, up a tree! England Spring and PCP team places were sorted and I will say it now, well done on winning both WFTF team titles in 2017. They certainly have strength in depth.
I shot very poorly, as I have done all summer, but really enjoyed the weekend and ended up with a free pair of Moleskin trousers. Very nice for the coming winter and so a big thank you to York FTC’s Peter Staddon for the challenge of most targets hit between us. All added to the fun of the weekend.
BFTA 2016 European championship results:-
1st Neil Hague (90 Ex 100)
2nd Ian Taylor (88)
3rd Dorian Falconer (88)
4th Simon Ayres (88)
5th Justin Wood (87)
6th Jack Harris (87)
7th Keith Gilyard (86)
8th Nathan Reeve (86)
9th Andy Calpin (86)
10th Conor McFlynn (86)
Open Class – Tony Fouracres
Piston Class – John Amos
Practice very rarely makes perfect, but it does seem to help? At least for us mortals!
So as I mentioned, my results over the summer have been quite a way below par from my past few years and indeed on a couple of occasions I haven’t really enjoyed the shoot at all. A few times, I have effectively given up, just shooting the targets, but not being bothered whether or not I hit them!
I actually dropped back from ‘AA’ to ‘A’ grade by 0.05% or about half a target after the Euro weekends results, and I haven’t been in A grade since 2011! The old saying, ‘class is permanent, form is temporary’ is a good one- but sadly, I’m not class! It’s taken a while to work out what has gone wrong, but I think I may have narrowed it down? I have been putting in huge amounts of time helping to run FT at club level, World Field Target and National level since March this year. The result of which has been far less time actually on a club FT practice course!
It seems that over the summer I have lost some of the natural instinct to point my EV2 at an FT target, at least in the right place! But it’s not all negative, since there has been a reversal in my silhouette results which have gone from May’s dismal NEFTA Classic results (17 ex 40), to a respectable 30+, - but only after three months of almost weekly practice. I now really enjoy silhouette shooting!
So, Plan ‘A’ is to get back regularly practising FT. Indeed, in just the two practise sessions I have had since the Euros, the natural ability to judge the wind seemed to return very quickly and decent scores have begun to return. I think I can predict a swift rise back into AA rankings over the winter, as long as I find time for continued practice sessions- that clearly make a big difference for me!!
Roll on the Winter Series!
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