Eyes down for a full GP at no.6 of the series, South East's Iceni, one of the originating FT clubs from over 2 decades ago. Well known for it's shady wood, it's cooler shade and gentler breeze would be welcome after the blustery 40 degree Welsh GP before.
The morning session got off well, barely a breath moved through the woods, and the sounds of falling targets could be heard everywhere. After 10 lanes or so whispers could be heard up and down the line as to who was still clear, who had made it through the standers or a tricky section or who had not. But the woods were seemingly whispering their own tales... little more than a breath could be felt, but it was enough to catch those playing the odds, or holding the wrong edge. When it was clear where it came from, it was easier, but in it's subtlest it was baffling and deadly even on close targets.
This didn't change much in the afternoon. The PM shooters were met with the advice that it was clearable, yet no-one from the morning had managed it. Mistakes or misfortune held over 10 shooters 2 shots away or less from clearing it by the time both sessions were finished in AA, with strong scores in A, B and C, and Nick Murphy leading by some margin in the Piston Class. Richard Baker continues his domination of SFT one shot shy of 40 targets hit yesterday.
Team Walther put in a very strong AM session score, just dropping 10 targets between 4 shooters, and fired up 'the Daniels' to attempt a clear for the PM session. Just shy of that achievement he pushed the team further ahead of the competition for their 5th win in a row.
Sadly another shot got away from Neil, and the 1st place AA honours went to Andy Calpin. But Neil takes home the second set of 50 points to really scramble up the top of AA. With Osborne and Taylor absent, it left room for some to make up their lost ground. It's looking like it will go down to the wire. Gillot, Calpin and Semmens have their 6 scores down, meaning you need 240+ points to see a top 3 place at least. That's on average a top 5 finish in all 6 GP's....!
No one will be sitting pretty though, there's 4-5 in the top 10 who have either yet to place 6 scores, or 6 good ones... meaning that the next 3 GP's could see some leaps. And then you have the likes of Robbie Black, with 127 points from just 3 shoots, he has another 3 where he could do the same.
In AA it seems like the perfect storm, with past series winners seemingly chasing a return to glory, others looking for an EFTA Team placing, or new faces looking to elbow out their own room or just some good old fashioned rivalry. Unlike the past few years, in AA, it's looking like a heavyweight slug fest right till the very last shot.
In A grade, it looks like Neil Hague is extremely strong, but my maths isn't good enough to say if he has sealed it yet. Whatever happens though, I think there will be some tight collars in AA next year with A graders getting promoted.
B Grade is seeing Josh Wilson hold onto his 5 point lead over Steve Chubbs, but Phil Gee is all that seperates them from a late possible comeback from the SWEFTA boys, Pete Montanez and fellow club member Barry Smith.
C Grade is dominated by Nelson for the top 3 slots, but it could all changed with some dropped scores and 3 more GPs.
The question in whether Steve Privett can catch a lift to Swefta to keep Nick and the rest honest... it's still very possible for an upset, and I expect Geoff will be nervous in SFT with the series approaching Richard's home region.
The teams? Well, with the limelight falling on the new shining star Team Rivers West, Woodfield's Team Walther have quietly been digging away at each GP to string a whole series of wins together, 5 in a row. But it's not over, Rivers West can come back and win 3 on the trot to take it from Walther, but Air arms could spoil it if they win one. A second place from Walther would see a tie. So no-one is breaking out the champion team gear quite yet...
Scores from the day are up on BFTA.net and there is a growing album of photos here
But probably the best score of the day was Gareth Rees winning the Air Arms supplied MPR in the raffle... well done to Air Arms
for their continued support, and congrats to Gareth.
In 2 weeks time we're off to BFTA Grand Prix 7: NEFTA @ Redfearns sponsored by RWS & Diana, and then 2 weeks after that we're of to BFTA Grand Prix 8: SWEFTA @ East Devon sponsored by Hammerli. Places are filling up fast on that one, so get in quick to reserve your place. BFTA Grand Prix 9: FFTA @ Sywell sponsored by Napier finishes up the series on the 21st of August. Just in time to pick the team and go and win the worlds...
See ya then