The Final Furlong...
6/11/19. Now, I wasn't there so I've just got to go on what people may (or may not) have said...
SteveP had a special, one off dispensation to shoot two Rounds on account of missing last week through no fault of his own. The pressure was on to do well and we can only speculate on what weird and wonderful training exercises he used - it's been suggested that he had small targets tattooed on the inside of his eyelids so he could subconsciously practice while asleep. And that Shamanic Drumming/Deep Trance Humming/Sensory Deprivation and 12 yr old Whisky played a part too.
Still, he didn't waste his opportunties and racked up an ever so annoying (to Russ, Bri and Nick) 86 and 82. In fact, it was reported that "He was practising??!! Then wearing earplugs and telescopic glasses - that's all cheating!" There were also stories about how he locked himself in a hotel room for two days with just his pistol, a small target and a copy of Hello magazine.
All that leaves him to get just a 70 in his Final Round to win. Going by his track record, that looks easy but he has scored a 67 in the past and Russ, Bri and Nick will be staring laser beams into the back of his skull when he shoots next so it's not a done deal.
A cliffhanger ending with two weeks to go - good luck, Sir!
30/10/19. Just one shooter and just one score to update but it's a significant (and bl**dy annoying) one.
Russ mustered as many cojones as he could find, told his nerves to take a hike and calmly shot a 76, the exact and bare minimum figure that he needed to overtake Bri and claim the lead. The git.
But it's not over until the obese operatic diva warbles and Steve P can still take the throne if he shoots a minimum of two 79s and an 80. He's already shot three Rounds in the 80s so it's not outwith the bounds of possibility.
Steve was due to shoot this night but there was a road incident that stopped him from getting to Denwood. In view of this and his keen participation and contender status, he can (if able) shoot two Rounds in one session to catch up.
This means that he'll be shooting his final round on the night of the AGM prior to the Prizegiving. There could well be a big audience for that with all eyes on him so no pressure there then.
This one's gonna go right up to the wire so keep watching.
(10m) Match of The Day.
23/10/19. In a change from the normal format, we have a panel of experts to discuss last night's match.
Joining us are Bob Hazbean, Shug Weegie and Wayne Overpayd.
Bob, starting with you, what did you think of Russ's performance?
"Well, he's had a few fitness issues recently and he's missed out on training sessions and I think thats showed here. He's rushed back into the thick of it with little practice and concentration was lacking, he was taking his eye off the ball and didn't get enough shots on target. His 68 was not up to his usual level of play and he must be as sick as a parrot about that but I think we can all agree that if he'd got better results then his score would've been different."
Shug, your thoughts on Les?
"Again, there's been concerns over match fitness but he's always battled on, gives 110%, a solid midfield performance and plays right up to the whistle. His above par season finish of 69 done the boy proud."
Wayne, did Nick kick it home for you?
"Nick started off the season with less than total commitment then slowly got more serious. He changed his tactics mid-season and became a definite contender with a strong performance but it's a game of 10 halves and some of them might've been different if they'd played out another way. His score of 69 means that he's still in with a shot at some silverware though."
Gentlemen, we're running out of time so briefly - what did you make of Bri's match?
"Back of the net - outstanding!"
"Top score of the season."
"Kicked it out of the park with an 89 - over the moon!"
On a more serious note, the cat is well and truly out of the bag. Bri had an excellent night while Russ had a poor one which saw his effective 19 point lead smashed. Mr D now needs a 76 in his last round to take the top spot but will the pressure tell and the nerves set in? Ten pellets to go and one single flyer could make all the difference. Did you read that bit, Russ? Just one pellet amiss is all it takes.
Don't get STRESSED though. Don't let the PRESSURE affect you, don't WORRY about it and let NERVES set in!!!!!!!!!!!!
Steve P has still got three rounds in hand. Assuming he can attend and shoot, he's going to need three 79s to overtake Bri at present. We can only guess at the sort of practice regime/performance enhancing substances (Tibetan Nasal Flute Meditation and Single Malt?) that he'll be employing.
16/10/19. After last time's substandard scores, shooters bounced back and put in well above average cards.
First off was seldom seen Andy and his FAS6004 puting in an excellent 77. More rounds like that would see him up towards the top of the table but, unfortunately, we'll run out of time before he can catch up and affect the front runners.
Oh well, there's always next year...
Les wasn't feeling too good after recent illness but he still manned up and had a try. The 72 he got with his HW40 was a welcome return to form - well done, Sir!
The star of the night's proceedings though was Alex who experimented with a new sighting technique which involved shooting his FWB 80 right handed but left eyed. A demonstration of this method looked odd and awkward but there was no arguing with the results as it netted him a well above average 81, the highest score of the night, keys to the 80 Club and the top seat at the table.
The only fly in the ointment is that he discovered this method on Round 10 - the final round for him. Who knows what would have happened if he'd tried this earlier?
As I write, we're halfway through October. And, someday this year, the competition must end. While this isn't carved in stone, it'd be nice if we could get things tied up in time for Prizegiving (yes, there are prizes!) at the AGM.
So, can I urge everyone to get stuck in over the coming weeks please? You may not be in the top three but you can still beat your shooting buddies for bragging rights and build a foundation for improvement next year.
2/10/19. There was definitely something in the air this night, some undefinable presence that cast a shadow over the evening's proceedings as everyone who had the cojones to shoot got a below average score.
Alex, Nick, Bri and Les all shot below par cards and particulary distressing was Les who started off with four 9s then had things go South for a disappointing 60. Better luck next time - at least he had the testicular fortitude to have a go.
Which brings us to the shameful part of night. Two shooters (let's call them Duss and Pteve to protect their identities) bottled it after much practice and declined to compete.
I won't sully this page by printing the exact details of their excuses but a very small dog was cited by one of these bounders. Pitiful.
With this development, the League Table has had a bit of a shake up. Bri gets to enjoy the Top Spot for a couple of weeks with Steve L in 2nd place while Nick and Alex step up a bit.
The game is still wide open as, with the pressure on, it looks like the nerves are setting in. Vallium, anyone?
25/9/19. And so it came to pass that he who started last, came first. Brother Steve L, who entered the fold late, opened his heart to the Light and Goodness that is the Pistol League and was rewarded with an 81, elevating him to First Among Equals and opening the gates to the Kingdom of the 80 Club.
18/9/19. Well, it was a valiant effort but it came to an end. Due to a sparsely attended night with no-one to blag a pistol from, Steve L's attempt to shoot every round with a different gun broke down when he had to reuse his Gamo Compact for a 68.
Les and Nick both got 70 with their Weihrauch SSPs, Chris W treated practice with contempt and racked up a 61 and Alex got the night's top score with 73.
With Russ and Steve P conspicuous by their absence (there's no truth in the rumour that Steve is cloistered away in a Tibetan monastry run by ninja monks learning The Tao of 10m,) Bri resisted submitting any cards because it'll be more fun if everyone is on the same page round-wise.
Entering the home straight, things could still change. All it takes is someone to have a great score while others get a poor one so nothing is a foregone conclusion. Who will keep their nerve and who will go to pieces under the pressure? Watch this space!
4/9/19. Not a lot of details are available on the evening's events - I was off living La Dolce Vita and a short message from Steve L is all I've got to go on.
Keeping up his aim of using a different gun for each round, he borrowed Nick's HW75 and shot a 66 which took him to 5th place in the League Table.
Bit brief but there you go.
28/8/19. Taking a page out of the Chris W Book of Pistol Shooting ("Practice is for girls!") Bri jumped straight in and, pausing only to don the Economic and Elegant Eyeglasses of Excellence, shot a Personal Best and highest score of the night 82 with a flyer in the white.
Russ (SuperHero name The Percher) also managed a shot outside the black for an 81 - one less than Bri's 82.
Steve L borrowed the FAS6004 and racked up a 70, less than his previous score with the Izzy which he preferred. Still not as good as Bri's 82 though.
Inspired by both the Super Serious Spectacles of Shooting and the Economic and Elegant Eyeglasses of Excellence, Alex thought he'd take advantage of increased Depth of Field with his own effort. Born of an unholy marriage between a pair of old glasses and an iris from a vintage microscope, the Optically Optimised Object of Ocular 'Orribleness was unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Somewhat "unique", they could best be described as Steampunk Meets Blue Peter Project. Form Follows Function is a popular Design Philosophy but with said device on, Alex got a first card score of just 25.
Taking them off, his score rose to 42.
Think that says all we need to know about them.
I believe he later stamped on them in the carpark and ran over them with his Kawasaki. Fortunately, no pictures of them exist so the matter can be forgotten as quickly as possible as his combined score of 67 was nowhere near Bri's 82.
Paul S knew that he wasn't getting near Bri's 82 and subsequently wimped out and didn't shoot so Rear Gunner Chris W closed the proceedings, racking up a 57 with the Izzy which was only 25 behind Bri's 82.
In summary, Bri's 82 allowed him to overtake Steve P into 2nd place and slashed Russ's lead from 20 down to 19. Much derision was cast towards the Economic and Elegant Eyeglasses of Excellence with mutterings of cheating from sore losers who were beaten by Bri's 82 but All's Fair In Love And War and Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones (But Whips and Chains Excite Me.) Or so Russ said.
21/8/19 saw a sparsely attended Denwood as a few regulars were conspicuous by their absence - Alex, Paul and Steve P were all no-shows which at least made it easier to update the League Table.
Having run out of pistols, Steve L blagged the Izzy and got a very inconsistent 76, somewhat mucking up the theory that it didn't matter which gun he used. Russ has promised him his FAS6004 for next time - what's the betting that he's back to mid 50's with it?
Les wasn't feeling too hot and decided that discretion is the better part of valour and didn't submit any cards, something Nick would've been wise to follow as the two cards he handed in were in the 60's. There was a Homer Simpson "D'oh!" moment followed by visible relief when he was informed that he was already in the Round 7 holding pattern and his score wouldn't be eligible.
Chris W also broke out the Izzy and scored a bit less than he did last time although he was very pleased with 69 and said he'd be very happy if he could get that on a regular basis.
Not a dramatic evening - the top slots haven't changed - but it was a fun night with lots of joking and laughter. There was also a test run of Bri's (Enhanced) Economic and Elegant Eyeglasses of Excellence, the outcome of which was an 88 with the first two cards. And, on reading this, beads of sweat on Steve P's forehead.
Ha ha, just joking!
Or am I? Muahahahaha...
7/8/19 Getting the show on the road, Steve L had a rummage around and managed to come up with an HW45 for this week's round. Lovely, solid and powerful guns that they are, their heavy recoil doesn't lend them to 10m shooting but, that said, Steve managed a consistent 57 with his. Which makes me think that he'd score the same with a Gat or a top end match pistol. We may find out next time as he's run out of pistols now and will have to borrow from now on.
Unless he buys something new between now and then.
Alex and his FWB 80 were up up next and a respectable 73 was enough to put him in 5th place. That puts him and Les within 10 points of each other.
Due to a Committee meeting, I missed Steve P's traditional warm up rituals and no-one would tell me what he did. There was a Pentagram beside the shooting position though and it seemed to be drawn in blood. And chicken feathers were stuck to his Gamo Compact. Candles were dotted about as well. It was all very strange.
Less strange, however, was his score. A return to form 81 was enough to propel him into 2nd place - 12 behind Russ and 8 ahead of Bri.
There was no sniggering this week.
Nick annoyingly insisted on leaving his HW75 scope-less and, to the annoyance of most, got an annoying 79 for 4th place.
By his own admission our least able pistol shooter, Chris W closed the evening's events on a high. Having just bought a PP700 SA to take part with, he found the sights were going to need a bit of work to be properly usable for 10m work so he borrowed the Izzy. With none of that namby pamby practice malarkey, he went and shot a 76 - nearly 20 points more than his previous best. Theories abound on how he managed this - some postulated that his shirt (thankfully no pictures of it were taken) imbued him with some superpower but I think it was due to a performance enhancing substance. Or, as I call it, a Martini. Either way, it's a good score.
With Nick and Steve P joining Russ and Bri at Round 7, things have tightened up quite a bit. Russ's lead doesn't look so unassailable now and there's a potential game changer in that Bri has tweaked the Izzy trigger and, combined with the Experimental but Economic and Elegant Eyeglasses of Excellence (inspired by Steve's Super Serious Spectacles of Shooting,) has started getting practice cards in the mid 40's. We also believe that someone (you all know who) is making a Voodoo effigy of Russ for nefarious purposes.
Three rounds to go and its anyone's game.
Update: With a small tweak to the League table, we can now see how average we all are.
3/7/19 Wednesday was not a well attended night at Denwood with only three shooters taking part. Steve L is fast becoming a creature of habit as he was the first to shoot again and with a different pistol than previous rounds. He racked up a 55 this time with a CP88 Competition.
Nick, after being urged for weeks to take the scope off of his HW75, finally broke out the Allen keys and relented. This was obviously a bad idea because his best yet score of 82 followed. Nick, don't listen to advice in future, put the scope back on the '75 and pick up the Izzy for future rounds - it suits you better.
Well, your lower scores with it suits everyone else better.
Steve P ditched the Spiritualism for this week's shoot. No chanting, yoga or sacrifices to The Gods. Didn't even light any incense. Instead, it was just good old focus, concentration and skill which netted him a 75 although, typically, he shot higher scores in practice before and after his official cards.
And, typically, we sniggered again.
The leaderboard gets a slight change. Les has dropped down to 5th place and Steve P and Nick (who's just entered the exclusive 80 Club) are approaching Round 7 with everything to play for - if either get our first 90 then things will suddenly get much more exciting. Roll on Wednesday, Los Pistoleros!
24/7/19 Events started with a self fufilling prophecy - last week I speculated that Steve L might shoot each round with a different pistol and, lo and behold, this week he took part with a Beeman P17. Neither of us are quite sure if it's because I saw a pattern emerging or that he read about it and decided to do it for a laugh. Either way, he's got one more pistol up his sleeve so lend him your guns in future and we'll see if he can build on this week's 56.
Nick borrowed the Izzy and was a bit below his usual par with 63. Maybe this will be the final push he needs to take the scope off his HW75 and get stuck in with that.
Les had a better week with the HW40, climbing back up towards his usual scores with a 69 which was enough to keep him in 3rd place and Bri got a 77 with the Izzy.
Chris W and Paul both shot with the FAS604, repectively getting a 49 and 66 which was a source of great amusement to Paul who reminded Chris of their scores many, many times.
Top shot of the night was Alex and the FWB 80. Racking up a 78, this was also his best score to date.
Final shooter of the night was Steve P. In it to win it, Steve said that he'd shot well over 20 high scoring practice cards in the previous week and, warming up at Denwood, got an impressive mid 40's card just before his official entry. After his pre-shoot rituals involving Tantric Chanting and Yoga exercises, he loaded up and got an underwhelming (for him) 70. Most would be chuffed with that score but it was obviously a disappointment for him. Adding insult to injury, he then shot another (non-counting) practice card in the mid 40's.
We didn't snigger. Much.
He then left, we thiink, to go and sack his Spiritual Shooting Swami and get some valium/beta blockers for the next time.
That leaves the top five positions unchanged from last week. Bri joins Russ in Round 7 limbo with Mr D leading by 20 points and Nick and Alex are within a point of each other.
17/7/19 Our illustrious Club Sec. Steve L got the show on the road with his Gamo Compact. In it for the banter, Steve rang up a very acceptable 73 and it's my suspicion that he's going to use a different pistol for each round.
Russ was up next and failed to find the form of his last couple of rounds. Nothing wrong with a 72, of course, but, after a couple of weeks in the 80's...
He cited firing a Webley Alecto with 3ft of trigger travel before competing had corrupted and degraded his finely tuned finger to a point that he could no longer exploit the subtleties of his FAS6004. But, because he's leading, his excuse fell on deaf ears.
Les broke out the HW40 and was also a little off his usual pace. However, his 61 was enough to bump him up to 3rd place so that's a result.
Alex was having a case of the wobbles and didn't submit any cards. Nick somehow managed to avoid being on the 10m range at the same time as the Izzy so didn't take part either and Paul's FAS604 is still being stroppy so ditto for him too.
Bri had a crack with the Izzy and, despite some deeply underwhelming practice cards, managed his highest (so far!) score of 79.
The main event though was the return of Steve P and he meant business. Having fallen behind while offshore, he was more than keen to catch up. Starting off with the traditional groundwork of excuses - out of practice, bad back, the cat's feeling poorly, etc - he then proceeded to worry other shooters with some very un-GARC limbering up and breathing exercises. To, I suspect, some internal triumphant soundtrack - listen closely and you could just about hear the Rocky Theme tune coming out of his ears.
Steve P- Borg Designation 82 of 100
Sporting the Super Serious Spectacles of Shooting, each shot was carefully considered with, presumably, each pellet individually inspected, sniffed and tasted. I think a zen-like state of being At One with the target was entered into as well - honestly, we expected him to shoot from the Crane Stance a la The Karate Kid. He may also have been whispering to his Gamo Compact pistol. The result of this was him taking longer with each shot than some entrants took to fire all ten.
And, of course, it all paid off with an 82 - the night's highest score. Git!
Tail End Charlie was Chris W. Three and a half practice shots and he declared himself ready to compete. With the Izzy, his first two shots were a 10 and a 9. Unfortunately, it all went a bit... outer after his fine start but his 57 was a definite improvement on his previous 45. A step in the right direction.
After all that, the top two positions stay the same and Russ, having hit Round 7, is now "on hold" until the others catch up. Les moves up to 3rd and Steve P, who looks like he's been biding his time and has eyes on the top spot, is 4th.
Maybe a more comparative measure of the top five at this point would be average scores -
Steve P 76.5
3/7/19. Five shooters took part with varying results and Russ tee'd off first with an annoying (to the rest of us) 81.
Despite a pulled flier, Bri was pleased with a 77 - his highest individual score so far.
Les was a little put out with his shooting - nines and tens were tempered with low scoring outer hits - but they all added up to a respectable 70.
Chris M, however, didn't fare as well. Opting for Russ's FAS6004 rather than the previously used Izzy, 36 was what he came up with. Back to the Izzy next time, Chris?
Our other Chris, Mr W, plucked up his courage, threw abandon to the wind and had a go with a co2 S&W 686 revolver. A self confessed non fan of pistols, he knew he wasn't going to shatter any records but had a crack anyway and his 45 wasn't the lowest score of the night so well done, Sir!
So, to round up, the top two spots remain unchanged with Russ opening up more of a lead and Les has moved up to 4th, just five points behind 3rd place Nick.
26/6/19 and five of us submitted cards.
Nick got the ball rolling by scoring a very satisfactory 68. Well, Bri found it satisfactory because, for once, he wasn't outshot with his own gun.
Russ rattled off a few practice cards then declared his Round 5 entries and shot an 88, the highest score of the competition so far.
Bri was up next and racked up 75 - enough to leapfrog over Nick in the League placings.
Paul, still having problems with his FAS604 got a 57 and last official shooter Alex put up a 66 with his trusty FWB 80.
Ewan and Les had a practice but didn't compete.
With Steve P still offshore and lagging behind a couple of rounds, that leaves Russ top of the table with a comfortable (at present) lead. Bri climbs to 2nd with Nick a point behind him and Alex moves up to 4th.
19/6/19 saw seven of us compete with one abstention (Paul was having one of those Can't Hit A Thing days - more commonly known as a Wednesday) and two new entrants, Andy and Steve L.
Andy broke out his FAS6004, fresh from repair, and posted a 67. Nick's 76 continued his bad habit of improving with the Izzy and Alex with his FWB 80 also had an upwards trajectory of 70.
Bri scored 72 and Russ got a very consistent 74. Of course, we can spin Consistent to mean Showing No Improvement. Either way, he's still in the top spot.
Highest score of the night went to Les - 77 with his humble HW40 - but special mention (and Moral Victory) goes to Steve L who got 58 with his Webley Junior pistol. Smoothbore, lively sideways recoil and fixed sights are not the preferred features of a target pistol so kudos Sir!
And there you have it, Russ is still leading, Steve P is offshore for a while so no scores from him and Nick is steadily climbing.
5/6/19 I wasn't there but I'm reliably informed...
Russ was first up and utilised the Perching Tiger shooting stance in the interests of fairness. Which netted him a 75 with his FAS6004 so fairness can sod off and he can shoot standing on one leg in future.
Next to go was Steve. In order to reduce distractions, he waited until Tony had left for the night. That probably paid off as, although shooting an 86 in practice, he managed 80 in the competition - his highest score so far and that's with an £80, S/H Gamo Compact. A fettled trigger admittedly but it's up there with the more expensive Match Pistols.
Steve was also seen modelling a set of Shooting Glasses. Russ cried "Foul, Ref!" and Les (who took two pistols along with him) mentioned that this was taking things a bit seriously. Serious maybe but Foul no - all's fair in Love and War and if you can stand your clubmates taking the p1ss out of you then go for it!
Let's see who else starts wearing them - my money's on Russ. Or me.
Haven't got any results for Les and Alex, despite a good few practice cards, declared himself "too wobbly" to compete that night. Ewan, in a less than serious attempt, shot with a Gat and got an 8 with his first pellet at 10m. He should have put the gun down at that point because, somewhat predictably, the rest of his pellets went elsewhere.
So, in the absence of further scores, the League Table top spot changes again, Russ is leading with Steve snapping at his heels just five points behind.
Our 29/5/19 night had some interesting developments - at various points the lead swapped between five different shooters.
Alex started us off and scored a 75 which was enough to give him second place behind Bri and Steve who were tied top.
Nick followed with a fractionally lower 74 that combined with his previous score to put him in the lead and knock everyone down a notch. Russ was having none of that though and his 75 bumped him up to the top spot.
Then Paul S shot his 3rd round and leapfrogged over all and sundry to the top of the table.
All change at the top!
Of the other two shooters on the night, Les improved with a respectable 73 and John, on his first try at 10m Pistol, shot an 81 - our highest individual score so far - and got the glint in his eye that means he'll be buying a pistol soon.
And, because he shot a higher score than me (with my bl**dy gun!) he'll be handicapped for the next round by having Tony stand a foot from his ear and talk about any subject he likes. Probably dogs or Volvo cars.
There's still a couple of shooters to start off (yes, we're looking at you Chris W and Andy!) but things are looking good - once we get warmed up and into our stride this should be interesting.
And it's not too late to take part - just have a word with Bri or anyone who's started already and they'll get you sorted out. Don't be concerned if you haven't a suitable pistol as someone will loan you one. Also remember that none of us are hardened, ultra serious, totally focussed, 10m pistol shooters - we're just keeping it light and fun with the hope of being better shots at the end.
Rules so fare are -
Pistols (.177) only, no shoulder/carbine stocks or suchlike.
Open sights only, no lasers, red dots, etc.
Standing*, unsupported, one handed.
10 rounds over the course of 2019 - to be taken at the individual entrant's convenience on the 10m range.
Bisley 17 cm, 10m card targets only. Two per round, five shots per target - total of 10 shots per round.
Official entries to be declared before shooting and witnessed - no shooting 20 targets and picking the best.
No retracting targets mid shoot to see where your shots landed - target goes fully out, five shots, target comes back.
Marking of targets to be "scored up" - shots breaking score rings get the higher score value.
Anyone think we need more/clearer rules than that? The idea is to keep things fairly simple, easy, consistent, convenient and free with entrants shooting one of their rounds when they fancy (max. one per week.)
Open to any .177 pistol, you don't need full-on Match kit to take part - skill outweighs equipment in pistol shooting so the likes of a Gamo/HW40/75/Beeman SSP is more than capable in the right hands. Russ recently shot a (non-eligible) 80+ card with a recoiling Webley Hurricane so it can be done.
Results will be displayed on the website in a League Table as they come in so we can track performance.
If this takes off, The Committee can probably be persuaded to stump up a decent trophy or two.
Contact Bri Munro if you're interested.
*Could make an exception to the Standing rule for Russ. If only so we don't have to pick him up all the time.