Worlds: second again
First off and most importantly warmest congratulations to John, we had a great few days together and he got the job done. I only wish I could duplicate his level of composure and calm. I really enjoyed his company and we've talked through all sorts of stuff both before and after the competition; it was a pleasure to get to know him. My daughters also appreciated his magic show prior to our departure! Well done to the entire England team, we really did ourselves proud on what was a tough set of Euro-style FT courses.
From a personal perspective I have to say I'm truly gut busted by my performance, it's going to be very hard for me to come to terms with a terrible error that I made. I've been doing FT for 25 years on and off and I've always been able to easily accept whatever has come my way.
I may be opening myself up for ridicule but I shot my very last lane out of sequence (hitting both!) to drop two behind the top score. The lane featured targets just a yard or so apart at the top of a high bank at about 52-odd yards. It was perhaps the only lane on the three courses which could be shot out of sequence and I encountered it at the only point at which I was so keyed up that I could make that error. A truly unfortunate concatenation of circumstances.
Of the thousands of lanes that I've shot it's the first that I've ever shot out of sequence. It's very difficult for me to know exactly what I did but I think I ranged the correct (first) target first, then shot the second, then ranged the first target again and shot it. My only consolation is that I took two beautiful shots, and I'd rather that than choke off on two dinks.
The targets I missed over the three days were just insane, mostly in my first two lanes of each day where I was so nervous I could hardly hold the faceplate. The target I missed in my 49 on Sunday was a 32 yard full sized kneeler! (Just for the record John missed that too, he also seemed to do most of his missing on easier targets.)
It's going to be very difficult for me to get this out of my system, I really poured all of myself into this and I feel such a fool. I've had one or two people suggest to me in the past that I shoot like a machine; oh that this were the case! I'm all too human, my nervousness and depth and variation of emotion around a course (and my need to pee every 5 minutes!) are as great a challenge as the targets, in fact they are the real obstacle.
While I love the sport right now it's difficult for me to consider ever putting myself through such torment again. Though maybe I need to go to one more Worlds as I've never gone a turn out before either.
Thanks to the Welsh team who between them saved me from temptation by ensuring that no spare beer was available in our particular part of South Bavaria, particular thanks to Berty for keeping me half sane through the shoots. Also great to see Conor again and meet his Irish team mates.
I've now come second in the last two world championships I've attended and shared a room with the winner on each occasion - how weird is that? I've been close in every possible respect.
After our long trip through Germany and Holland and drive up from Harwich John is now on the road back to the North-East, I wish him a safe journey and look forward to seeing him again. The lad is as sound as he appears and he's provided the ultimate confirmation of his skill. I salute him.