Another OF Rifle Club victory!

Competitors from foreign lands are not an unusual sight at Bisley but they do not normally come in full tribal dress, their arms loaded with sumptuous gifts which they place, genuflecting in deep awe, before the feet of one OF rifleman.

Framlingham in its considerable time has produced many distinguished soldiers, doctors, engineers and so on but no-one ever suspected that Rendlesham House would one day nurture a shaman so powerful that his control of the elements had the strength to draw tribes from deserts parched by generations of drought merely to crave his indulgence.

And so it was that Robin “Rainmaker” Curtis (R82-87) answered their prayers and the darkened clouds above Surrey spontaneously dumped their contents on the hapless shooters below.

As the beaming tribesmen withdrew, hopelessly grateful for the moistened favours of the shaman, the rest of the OF Rifle Club grumpily shake their fists at the targets, a mere half mile away, now invisible behind a wall of plummeting water.

“I gave up shooting 10 years ago because it rained all the time,” he says cheerfully as the rest of us squabble about whose trousers are the least waterproof. “In any case the sun’s come out now so stop whinging.”

And so it had, albeit between threatening chunks of blackness. But the patchy light revealed the task – hitting a two-foot bullseye half a mile away in a wind strong enough to engage the interest of Ellen MacArthur.

“Er, that’s really quite a long way,” gulps our newcomer, The Impostor, a long-term guest shooter and long-range virgin.

War Criminal
But we do indeed get round to stopping whinging and getting down to some serious shooting with the wind flags whipping to the right like electric steamers, skipper “Message Five” Burnip and existing champ John “Milosevic” Halahan, fresh from accepting expensive inducements from Serbian war criminals, get down to test the wind.

It is moments before a bellow of “Range officer!” issues from Burnip as he calls for the radio to challenge his marked score with the butts and only minutes another shout of “%$*&^@!” as Halahan realises he set his sights to 1000 yards and his first two rounds are still heading in the direction of random shoppers in Guildford.

But the old hands pull it round and 46.4 and 47.4 respectively – respectable scores in any weather – adorn the board. Steve “Bleat” McDowell taps into the wind coaching wisdom of the venerable Burnip, who has shot in all the previous winning Long Range Cup teams (1976, 1978, 1991 and 2004) in the 34 years since it was presented in 1970. It puts another 47.7 on the board as Curtis fails the bring his awesome magical powers to bear on his score, due to McDowell’s incompetence at coaching, and The Impostor mounts a credible challenge on his apprehension with a 43.0.

Old hand
But as the rain threatens again, and the depleted team, shorn of a brace of Hortons and Hon Sec “Trust me I’m a dentist ” Mehta, too busy apparently “examining prospective nurses” plunges onward.

Stepping up to the proverbial plate is Brian “Evening Perkins” Smith whose first six shots are all bulls. The rest, nudged outward by late wind bring in a respectable 43.4.

Falling back to 1000 yards the wind really picks up with unprecedented gusting. Burnip heroically calls the wind to hit 47.2 – a huge score in the conditions – and Halahan sneaks yet another top gun medal from McDowell, who pathetically drops his last three, by two V bulls with 44.4 over 44.1.

With only seven of us the The Impostor’s score of 81.0 and Smith’s 80.6 are shovelled into the team with Neil “Jumpfer” Joy putting his 900 yard disaster behind him to put up 42.1 in a wind of up to 19 minutes (about 20 feet at 1000 yards) and Curtis narrowly slipping away.

We are gloomy, but the skipper is not. “We’ve done it again,” he beams. The other teams have suffered with the wind worse than us. Old Lawrentians even summoned Great Britain shooter Chris Weeden who uncharacteristically shot less than 80 to render the old enemy well down the list.

We have won by a vast 16 points and the Old Frams have secured back-to-back victories for the first time in history.

But we are in danger as a seriously depleted team will surely face the wrath of the embarrassed opposition in the forthcoming Lizard Trophy. A call to arms, Old Frams•

Long Range Match Cup 2005
OFRC TEAM 900yds 1000yds TOTAL
Nigel Burnip 46.4 47.2 93.6
John Halahan* 47.6 44.4 91.10
Steve McDowell 47.7 44.1 91.8
Jonathan Cupper 43.0 38.0 81.0
Brian Smith 43.4 37.2 80.6
Old Framlinghamians Team Winning Score 436.30
* OFRC Medal – Best shot of the day- CLOSE!
Old Cranleighans 420.19
Old Alleynians 406.23
Old KCS Wimbledon 404.07
Old Lawrentians 400.19
Old Albanians** 365.08
** Last man failed to complete shoot before range closed
OF’s also shooting
Neil Joy 37.1 42.1 79.2
Robin Curtis 41.1 37 78.1

Brian Smith, after a lengthy fingertip search for his first sighter, makes the team

The OFs celebrate their unprecedented victory – Smith, Burnip, no Old Lawrentians, Impostor, McDowell and Curtis


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