OFRC – Fifty Shades of Custard

So, dear readers, you will no doubt be distraught to learn that the OFRC’s most successful Imperial Meeting ever was achieved despite being liberally spattered with hefty dollops of custard in various incarnations.
It began with the PS Veterans –on the so-called First Thursday.  The sky was darker than a Somali pirate’s vest and just as filthy, as the next hour of hard, cold sleet showed. A usual terrific turnout with the OFRC putting in three full teams showed there has been no dip in enthusiasm after our double pot-winning 2012 season. Sandy ‘Darth’ Walker led the way with an effortless possible, and a rare appearance from David “Muttley” Argent yielded another top score but no medal. The remainder of the team dropped only six but sadly at this level, that’s six too many.
Kim Pope, happy in the pouring rain
The B team performed admirably with notable shoots from Andrew “Beermat” Horton, who despite complaining of a sore neck gamely shot through for a 49.4, and a very superior 49.6 from  ‘Shivers’ Pope,  our youngest member.  Fantastic battling scores from the C team with “El Presidente” Brain Smith putting in a long overdue 48.1 – finally discovering that wearing spectacles powerful enough to locate the foresight can be a useful enhancement. Notable mentions too to Geoff “We have a problem…” Houston with a 48.
Poor Neil “Father of the House” Joy had a shocker in the howling rain with a dodgy primer choking his bolt. Unflappable as ever with the rain dripping off our senior shooter’s nose, he simply swapped rifles and finished 4,5.
Just goes to show that, as far as the OFRC has come in recent years, there is still some way to go before we as a team in open Bisley meetings can give the very best a run for their money.
Kissinger and the Crow
And so to the Astor.  And the rain: lots and lots and lots of rain. The revered club skipper John “Kissinger” Halahan had successfully negotiated the OFRC’s position in the Astor to represent the county of Suffolk in this highly prestigious tournament. We needed to do well, not least because the Dark Lord himself, Darth Walker, was to be captaining the side for the first time.
It’s a six-man team in a Queens I format, ie two sighters and seven shots to count at 300, 500 and 600 yards, giving a full maximum score of 105, which, naturally, The Great Darth effortlessly slotted. Coached by both Sandy and Guy “Wizard of Biz” Larcombe, this was followed with 103s from “Hubblescope (TM)” Mehta, “Beloved Chairman” Burnip, and Halahan. Good scoring too from Andy “Beermat” Horton meant we were on the Mess Dress side of respectable. Halahan  was particularly unamused when having fired his final shot at 500 yards, and having put the previous three through the spotting disk to complete a 35.6 he was just beginning his post-match warm down with an Embassy No6 when he was summoned back to the firing point as no-one had seen the target being marked.
“FFS” (the Facebook users among you will recognise) he spouted, placing the burning fag on the edge of his shooting box, putting back on his shooting jacket, resuming his position and buckling back on to fire a single round – right through the spotting disk.
“Have yer had enough yet… or do you want some more!”  His crowing was to later backfire.
“Trenchfoot” McDowell showed a bit of early consistent mediocrity with three 33.3s made notable only because at both 300 and 500 yards the idiot displayed a Custard Slice by dropping both first and  last and poor Jon “Red Leader” Ford had a cheekpiece-related disaster. (That’s a piece of his rifle, not anatomy, though he assures us his own cheekpiece is in robust health). It mattered not in the end, as even with five more points we would have gone up only one place from our 17th. Nonetheless, the OFRC representing the great county of Suffolk is not a bad thing at all and we went proudly, if soggily, about our business.
There was also the first inkling of the wholesale spread of Creme Anglaise nomenclature that was to characterise the rest of the week. Mehta, despite deploying a foresight so powerful it makes a Higgs Boson look like a battleship, dropped his last shot at 600 yards into the 5 for a 35.6. This immediately became known as a Mini-Custard.
Raving Dervish
The Meeting began in earnest, and so did the rain, and rain… and, well, double-layered canvas shooting jackets take a while to dry out so when you have between four and six details a day and three of them are wet you can imagine how uncomfortable it becomes when lying quite still, face down in the middle of about 150 acres of firing range, where the wind swirls around like a Dervish at a Rave. It does have the advantage of keeping you still, though, since every movement provokes a small trickle of rainwater into your last remaining dry, warm bit.
By day four though, when your fecund underpants are home to a colony of strange looking amphibians, it does begin to grate on the nerves and sap the spirit a tad. So bad were the conditions that it was even considered that shooting at 300 yards should be abandoned.
Yet the eight OFs, and one college student – the talented 15-year-old Seb Treacy – more of him later –  moved around the camp with a song in our hearts. That song though, given we are sloshing forlornly to some unforeseen doom ankle deep in sucking mud with a rifle slung over the shoulder, was more often than not a downbeat chorus of Lili Marlene.
Despite the truly rotten weather we are all attacking the Prize Lists with gusto, Hubblescope (TM) Mehta deploys the GPS in his foresight to hit 50 in the Donegall and a good 49 in the Wimbledon. “Rottensocks” McDowell, new barrel in place puts in a couple of Custards before a possible in the Daily Telegraph. He is slightly dismayed, however, to discover that the standard of shooting is high a score of 75.8 merely gets him on the prize list at 124th place.
The Daily Telegraph, however, is to prove the nemesis of the Chairman. He is shooting brilliantly and abruptly gets a miss between two bulls – this, we are assured, is a butt-marking error and not a shot on another target. His loss of five points had two effects: it was to prove very costly for his Grand Aggregate score firstly and, secondly, the thunderous oaths emitting from the miffed Chairman could be heard over the gunfire.
Bisley Sausage Disease
Apart from Darth Walker appearing on every single prize list (bar those he lost out on due to a emetically spectacular one-man epidemic of Bisley Barbeque Sausage Disease) Halahan, McDowell, Chairman, Horton A and Kimbers Pope were all smashing them in. Seb Treacy too, using his status as a Tyro , pounding in excellent scores in the high 40s. The lad has caught the Bisley bug, as we are amused to discover. After so much good shooting the Meynell Trophy holder is seen righteously pissed off with a long range failure. Here’s betting he’ll be back.
The traditional OFRC barbeque proceeds a pace with more than 35 guests from our season, and Halahan’s famous Chicken Sate top of the bill. Well, the rain is top of the bill but we all manage to keep a brave face on it.
The Intercounties progresses well with Andy Horton and McDowell  turning out for (and not letting down for once) Suffolk, Hubblescope Mehta for Essex and THE GENIUS WALKER for, of course, London – who drop two points between them. Utter Bastards.
And then the Dreaded Corporation. The 1000-yard shoot is almost always conducted in poor weather and high winds. It is a terrific leveller. A good score gives you a chance in the Grand and a bad one….
It is here the full Patisserie swings into operation. “Shivers” nails a fantastic 48.4 to take her place midway on the prize list. “Stinker” McDowell meanwhile happily converts two bull sighters and finds to his considerable surprise that eight rounds into the shoot he has them all in. Naturally, the next one comes out high left – a classic Custard shot. Boldly taking off 1.5 minutes of wind (about three feet on the target face at that range) he puts the next shot down to find a six a clock inner and the Dreaded Double Custard. Two bulls and he might have won it… Buffoon.
Steve McDowell keeps everyone’s heads down in the Sniper Competition
Halahan, however, fails to reveal his score – muttering only that he had been ‘raped’ by the wind. It later transpires with a solid 24-hours of severe piss-taking that he shot 38.3 with no misses. This is classified as a Total Pastry Failure and he will henceforth be named after the little known Russian playwrite “Twelveoff”.
Reverse Custard
In the meantime the Custardry goes on unabated with James Mehta inventing a whole new one in The Times. Dropping his first, he then puts the remainder in the V-bull for a 49.9. This is now dubbed “Reverse Custard”. He fails to make the prize list, which serves him right.
But the best is yet to come, as it is revealed that Kim Pope has shot her way into the second stage of the Queens Prize – a very rare event for any of us mere mortals in the OFRC – and as Sandy again makes his way to the Final, the Chairman emerges with his Cheshire Cat with Clotted Cream grin.
He has just taken part in the Chairman’s Prize (the NRA one, not the OFRC one, which is him, obviously) Two sighters and ten to count at 900 and 1000 yards. Going back with 50 in the bag to 1000 yards, he puts the first nine in at 1000 and… Yes, you guessed it, dear reader, the very first and most magnificent CUSTARD SUPREME. Mrs Beloved Chairman is less chuffed about the instructions to bring him a fresh jacket and tie and a large tin of Goddard’s, and don a posh frock for the prize-giving ceremony.
OFRC Chairman Nigel Burnip, winner of the NRA Chairman’s Prize
Knobs on
In fairness, he still won it – a great big silver trophy with knobs on (although not as many as the designers had in mind) and we are, as ever, very proud of him.
The Master Walker, however, was as ever masterful in the Queens final , with the moist-eyed OFRC Walker groupies clutching their damp hankies in tow – but unfortunate wind calls at 1000 yards saw him slip down the list at the death with, ahem, a double custard. This, of course has become known as a Queen’s Custard. The Old Framlinghamian Rifle Club, still, is writ high, 31st, on the list of the world’s best rifle shooters and we are immensely proud of him too.
Sandy Walker, only four points off the ultimate prize
So finally, a great Bisley behind us, four OFs coaching the annual match House of Lords against the Commons – they lost, though James Mehta got a hug from an elderly Earl after four V Bulls. Our defence of the Parting Shot on the last morning ended in us coming last.
Final positions in Grand Aggregate display how well we have shot. McDowell and Mehta’s traditional £1 a point bet ends thus…
Ex 705.141 points.
Final OF positions were:
Horton, A
664.58 (he paid the ten pence)
Horton, J
449.10 (two scratched shoots)
Don’t forget to come and join the fun at the OFRC Guest Day at Bisley on Saturday 1 September, and get your own Custard.


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