My first “Away” league match was this Wednesday at the Duke of Wellington Shooting Club. Feeling a little apprehensive at shooting somewhere completely new, I decided to go for a quick practise before school pick up. This was both a good and bad idea. Good in that I felt much better on some of the slower clays, picking them up and getting the lead right. Bad in that I realised that on the faster clays, I’m just not there yet. And the clays on that evening were going to be fast!
I did get a great piece of advice– “practice makes perfect, but only if you practice perfectly” (thanks Adrian). On the faster clays, I’m just snatching at them and to be honest wasting cartridges. I need to get my technique right on the slower clays first, and work up to the quicker ones.
That said, as I’m signed up to the league I can’t stop now!
So, new ground, but thankfully many more familiar faces this time (including a fellow Bun Clubber Amy Fair). The lay out was 4 stands, 3 pairs at each and a “bumblebee” on the last stand. Up to now I have only shot “on report” – the second clay only coming once you have fired at the first. I’d never even practised shooting a pair of clays. This slightly threw me on the first stand (two quick right to left) and I came out with a 0/6. Undeterred, I managed a 1/6 on the R-L rabbit and L-R crosser (I need to practise rabbits!). The third stand was up on a tower with a pair going away from you into trees but also into the sun. How I managed to hit 3/6 I do not know.
The final stand had a fairly normal pair, preceded by a fast left to right teal which you could use both barrels on. The clay was a mini (60mm) “bumblebee” and pretty hard to spot. Suffice to say I didn’t even see the first one whizz past but they kindly let me have another go. On my second attempt, I’m not sure I saw the clay or was aiming at a midge, but I hit it with my second barrel! I ended my shoot with a right and left (don’t mention the two before it) which felt fantastic and an overall 7/25. I’m happy with that score, I’m only at the start of all of this and so much more to learn.
On a better note, I remembered to take more clothes this time, including gloves. Still felt like a Sherpa carting two bags, a gun slip and a spare jacket about.
It’s a home shoot next week so back on more familiar clays (still the quick ones) and with some further work on my technique in the meantime, I’m hoping to improve on last week’s 9/25!
This is a slightly longer version of the second of my weekly posts through May for the Alan Paine Blog. I’m not being paid in any way for these posts and all opinions are my own