Bisley goes with bang for the bulging OFRC

"THERE’S only one Sandy Walker!" we roared with great lumps of concrete in our throats as the OFRC’s star performer stood, rifle in hand and framed by the magnificence of a sun-drenched Surrey countryside.
Behind him – half a mile in the distance – was the target showing the last of his seven successive V-bulls.
It was the end of a tense four-way tie shoot. Once again, the Gangling Metronome had posted the name of the Old Framlinghamians at the top of a prize list in the world’s greatest target rifle tournament and the name Walker was being engraved on the Duke of Cambridge’s magnificent trophy.
As we squinted into the sun, tears welled in our eyes and our throats tightened in waves of emotion the Metronome proved to us, once and for all – that he actually has no central nervous system at all.
"Thanks chaps," he said, and breezed off to add his name to yet another prize list. The scorers’ computers must have had ANR Walker, Old Framlinghamian Rifle Club, on autofill.
Walker 3 points behind Queens winner

Snivelling plebs
The rest of us, snivelling plebs that we are, shuffled along in his impressive shadow, carrying his kit and silently knuckling our foreheads in tribute.
Naturally, it was a matter of days before we sat next to the band of Gurkhas as ANR Walker shot himself into the top 20 of the Queen’s Final. One day, we all know, we will be carrying him off the range in the chair reserved for the winner of HM Queen’s Prize. Well, until we aren’t sober enough to stand up anyway. He also came 7th in the Grand Aggregate – banishing forever any illusion that this lad is anything other than world class.
It was an impressive Bisley for the OFs. The ever-growing number of OF regulars was swelled by the appearances of "Shiverme" Kimbers Pope and the schoolroom authority of Ally "Yesmiss" Strachan.
Once again, excitement got the better of the middle aged among us. Seasoned professional men giggling like sugar-fuelled 9 year-olds over a big job gag faced up to the idea of ten days of doing nothing but shooting, drinking Brandeston Gold and eating barbequed meat.
So it is fair to say that at the Veterans tournament, the first of our shoots for the meeting, we did not exactly over-perform, despite the presence of more OFs than was necessary to put out three teams.  Of the 45 schools represented in the competition, Fram was one of only 23 who were able to put in three teams, which shows the continuing rise of the OFRC in popularity.
Headmaster, eeek!
We enjoyed a royal visit to Bisley from Paul Taylor. Well, the OFRC did anyway. The College students may have been a little discombobulated to see the Headmaster on the range, but we found it mightily encouraging that at last shooting may be returning to the top of the College sporting agenda.
Shortly before this meeting Beloved Chairman presented the Meynell Memorial Bowl to the College which will be presented to the year’s best shooter at Fram Speech day. This is a splendid silver bowl embossed with an SLR, a .303, and the cap badges of our late and lamented coach. A fitting memorial made possible by generous donations of OF Rifle Club members.
It is also enormous. "Hard to ignore," said the Chairman, a twinkle in that gimlet eye.
Meynell trophy

With a team-sheet reading more like an A-list than an A-team, the OFRC got down to the firing  point. David "Nurbergring" Argent leading off with a creditable 48.4, then the Chairman and Tom "Subaltern" Chapman both dropping one. Even the mighty Walker slipped a couple out before poor  Andrew "Slimfast" Horton – after such a potent season – had what we OFRC marksmen call "an absolute  stinker".

No-one else really covered themselves in glory – though "Accessories" Halahan created a fairly good game of join-the-dots round the furthest extremities of the bull. James "Dusty Bin" Mehta, still frustratingly as up and down as a manic depressive on a bungee jump, managed a mere 43, despite the addition of the latest piece of kit – a foresight large enough to pick up radar from the nearby  Farnborough Air Show.
James "Santa" Brocks – so called because he only turns up once a year – once again proved he should shoot more often with a creditable 46.3. But mostly we’d like to see him more often because he gets us the beer.
More beer
The Vets and the AGM behind us we could now begin the Meeting proper and so can Dusty – with the serious business of being Hon Sec behind him – he can turn his full concentration to his own scorecard, and to the beer obviously.
First mission on the agenda was to tackle the Astor County Championship, given that the OFRC is representing the county of Suffolk. We did OK, with Tom Chapman shooting for the England Under 25s and Sandy shooting for Scotland, their scores were concurrent, and Halahan, Argent, Burnip and Horton A, making up the rest of the team, Horton J stepping in as adjutant. With trembling fingers McDowell and Mehta twiddle the knobs for this magnificent team. The 300 yards hoo-doo strikes the team again and despite pulling ourselves together we give it a good go, as the wind gets up and dropping 31 points out of 630.
It must be said at this stage Mr Accessories went clean with a 105 ex 105. James and he squabble for the rest of the week about who was responsible for it. The firer or the coach? We call it a ‘team’ chaps.
Importantly, while we came 15th, we did get revenge over the Bedfordians, who have cleaned us up all season. They came 17th. Hah!
Crusty shorts
You already know of the achievements of Mr Walker.. zzzz… but there were some of the others of us who got on those prize lists. Beloved Chairman Burnip, Halahan, Horton A, Chapman T (numerous times) and Steve "Crustiest shorts in Christendom" McDowell , all graced prize lists at some stage. Walker, we think, was on all of them, but perhaps the best demonstration of how the OFRC fared can be seen with the performance of Dusty and Shivers in the Times – a brutal early-morning 300 yard shoot. It may sound short but 300 yards is a leveller because the target rings are proportionately smaller and wind rarely makes a great impact. It is ridiculously easy to get it wrong, badly wrong.
James "Dusty Bin" Mehta has been chasing down a Bisley ‘possible’ since his last one – with a .303 – in 1974. A third of a century and thousands of pounds worth of accessorising later, a beaming Mehta appears in the Dingly Dell with a smile so big he could have swallowed his own face. His card is a porno-like 50.6 – the hoodoo is behind him, he says. Now the floodgates will open, he opines. It was good enough to get him on the list at 124th place. And yet someone else was wearing an enormous smile. Down at the end of the list was the name Kimberley Pope with a massive 49.8. Her medal assured, it’s fair to say the 20-year-old architecture student was enjoying herself. Testifying to the toughness of the competition, only a 49.5 would be good enough to get you on the prize list. Later on she matched Dusty with a spectacular 50.5 at 900 yards in the Conan Doyle. We look forward to Shivers developing under the auspices of the OFRC for many years to come.
Double Custard
Mehta’s possible did not, of course, prevent him picking up a Spine of Custard Award for dropping his last in the PW Richardson.  The Chairman also revealed, somewhat expensively given the amount of beer he had to buy, that he was guilty of the worst possible offence in the OFRC. The words do not come easily off the keyboard but "Double Custard" can be heard with the same dread as "Mutiny" to a sailor or "Credit Limit" to a man with teenage daughters. It means he dropped his last two shots in to score 148 ex 150. None of us can bring ourselves to remember which particular competition in which he disgraced himself so. Brrrr!
We have also failed to learn after many years that we really should not put the OFRC barbeque – where the numbers are now up into the 30s of hungry persons queuing for Uncle Johnny’s famous Chicken satay – the night before the Queen’s Prize. Our collections of 98s, 99s and 100s were simply not enough to trouble the scorers on Thursday afternoon. Which leaves time for…
The Parting Shot
As usual, with the Dinglies and the Danglies lined up and picked school-style for the Parting Shot, we take to the point. Last year the Dinglies won this tournament and this year we damned near defended the title – only losing to Dollar on countback, both sides scoring 365.39. McDowell picks up a ‘Custard’ for the Danglies dropping his last for a 74.7 but the only consolation for the Dinglies is a mention in the Daily Telegraph.
One last gasp before we hit the hill for Sandy, we break out the .303s for the Agincourt, defending our title for the French and then a whole new experience for us – the Methuen.
Smoke fags
This involves run-downs – firing two rounds snap at 300 yards then running to 200, firing some more and then 100 to finish off. It is the first time since we left school we have run with a rifle in our hands, though back then we were not allowed to smoke fags to recover our breath. And we didn’t need a defibrillator on stand-by.
There is a certain kind of shooter at Bisley. The kind who sleeps in DPM pyjamas, wrap-around shades and keeps his mobile in a shoulder holster and a bayonet under his pillow. It seems they are attracted to this kind of competition – state of the art weaponry, super-size scopes and the attitude to match. One gent was dubbed Mr Angry for continuously arguing with the range officer, the very same one as was a twice Queen’s Medal winner.
Still, our expectations were not high given we were using .303s from the Second World War, a mixture of vintages of ammunition and so completely ignorant of the rules we had to watch the other shooters carefully and do what they did. Miss, mostly.
We came last, by some distance.
But as they used to say at Fram, "It’s not the winning, but the taking part…."
Veterans Scores
A team
Horton A
B team
C team
Horton J
Sandy Walker with some trophies in front of the Grand Aggregate leader board, where he came 7th



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