For those who don’t know, the weekend of the 19/20th September is the weekend of the Midland Game Fair in Weston Park, Shropshire, just North of Wolverhampton. It is also the venue for the annual BFTA European Championship, a two day FT competition consisting of a 50 shot course each day. I have shot the Euro’s in the past and enjoy the format, so newly renewed BFTA card in hand, I put my entry in early.
As it turns out, so did Rudi Gerlach, John Farbrother and John Martin, so on Friday afternoon / evening a little group of tents grew on the camping ground in Weston Park and SWEFTA arrived in the persons of myself, the above plus Rudi and John F’s partners, Linda and Megan.
The weather was just about perfect, although it did rain for a short while just after I had put my tent up Friday. It made the long grass a bit wet until Saturday, but we are all rufty tufty outdoor types, so we just put our wellies on. For both days of the shoot the weather was perfect, although the mist on Sunday morning was a bit nippy. That said, by the third or fourth lane it had all burned off and things were warming up.
The course(s) which are changed in subtle ways overnight were simply excellent, challenging without being intimidating, all the targets were easily visible, none of this hiding them under a bush at 50 yards nonsense, but they varied in height from ground level to 30 foot up. The wind all weekend was light, but variable and from lane to lane or even target to target. A lean to the left could suddenly turn on to a lean to the right.
Saturday, John F did extremely well in springer with a 34, but was one point down on his nearest rival. Rudi was comparing about …erm, pretty much everything, his gun, his scope, his pellets his gun, John M and I were both in PCP with scores of 35 and 38 respectively, so while one of us was coping admirably the other was still finding their feet.
On Sunday the course had been revised, some lanes in the woods had gone and some new ones added. Score wise John F pulled out a 40 with his rival delivering a 39, so a dead heat between them. Rudi… was complaining some more and borrowed some of my pellets to compare them with his choice. In PCP John M had a 42 while I had a 36, so while one of us was coping admirably the other was still finding their feet.
We were not the only SWEFTA shooters, as Simon Evans was shooting with the big boys and finished 14th overall and in the money, nice one Simon. We were also not the only SWEFTA members on site Saturday. I had a surprise when Paul Jackson appeared the other side of the safety rope and called me, nice to see you Paul, I hope you had a good day, also Julian and James Head came to see what it was all about and also to look round the Game Fair, which is one of the bonuses of shooting the competition, as you get automatic entry to the fair and free camping for the weekend.
I’m glad to say that both Linda and Megan told me they had enjoyed the weekend, our Saturday night BBQ was one of the most lively and funny evenings I have had in a fair while, and John F showed another side to himself as a pretty fair BBQ chef, no bloody chicken or burnt offering sausages from him, oh no, it was all great.
So, all in all a corking good weekend and one I will be repeating next year when I don’t doubt John Martin will once again deliver me another arse kicking.
For proper results, please see the BFTA web site. Euro’s Results
Photos by Simon Evans
John always likes to sing to his rifle before shooting.
I don’t know what John has just found, or where!
Rudi, read the sign.
Author in the woods.