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148th Imperial Daily Report by Matt Charlton 22/7/17
SATURDAY - Parag wins the Queen's

It was very wet overnight, and once again the rain seemed to wash away much of the wind. Nevertheless, there were fewer 150s than in recent years in the day's first competition, the Final of the St. George's at 900 yards. Nine of the hundred qualifiers scored 150, with Glyn Barnett, John Warburton and Alex Coetzee scoring 150.22 but losing out to deserving winner David Luckman (Sedgemoor TSC) on 150.24.

At the same time, seven teams of friends took part in a light-hearted Parting Shot match at 500 yards, with the Mighty Power Rangers losing out by only two V bulls to multiple previous winners, the fluorescent Scoregasm RC. VVV.

The more serious team affair was the Mackinnon, the international long range match for teams of twelve. Despite the longer distance, wind conditions were not as challenging as the previous afternoon at short range, although they were certainly enough to trouble the inattentive and there were moments when a "wait" instruction would be given, only for all of its firers to shoot immediately and three points to disappear just as quickly.
The rain also returned during the match, thankfully not with a vengeance, but it was interesting for the coaches to move from using angle of rain to judge the wind seamlessly into using mirage, as well as the flags of course (throughout). With the wind coming over the left shoulder, there was a slight advantage to being situated towards the left hand end of the range.
Guernsey made the most of it at 900 yards to take a slight lead over England, Wales and Ireland. At 1000 yards, however, when the more interesting conditions presented themselves, Scotland stole a march on most of the teams that had been ahead of them and England excelled themselves, scoring almost as highly at 1000 yards as they had at 900. The final scores showed a 15 point margin of victory for England?s team (almost entirely recent Palma team members) on 1174.146, beating Scotland (1159.126) into second place. Irelans were 3rd on 1150.122, Wales 4th on 1159.114, with Guernsey, Jersey, Australia, Canada and Kenya occupying the remaining places in that order.

On the same range, the various university teams took part in the Universities Long Range, in which they are permitted external wind coaches. Cambridge won with 378.36 ahead of Edinburgh in 2nd and Oxford in 3rd; Cambridge thus also won the Universities Aggregate.

Over lunch, the rain which had almost disappeared late in the Mackinnon threatened to return for the Final of the Queen?s Prize. Return it did, with a vengeance, as the hundred competitors started to prepare for their shoot and their scorers tried in vain to keep the scoreboards fairly dry. There was even some brief lightning to make the Range Officers consider whether a postponement might be needed. Thankfully shooting was able to commence; the rain presented just as much of a challenge as the wind, such that scoring was fairly high but not universally so, and with very few 75s.
Ellie Charlton briefly led the Queen's Prize, by virtue of finishing first at 900 yards after her shooting partner Colin Johnston had to withdraw because of a rifle malfunction, earning him 100th place.

By the end of 900 yards, however, Parag Patel had extended his overnight lead of six V bulls to a full point, ahead of several rivals. With the wind (and to a large extent the rain) having abated, scoring at 1000 yards was mostly as high as at 900 and Parag, who scored 74.8, never gave up his lead.
Parag's 297.37 was enough to win by a clear point from David Crispin (296.40), Jacqui Rankin and Nick Healy (both 296.38), Glyn Barnett (296.37) and David Luckman (296.36)
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Updated: 22-Jul-17 (Original posting: 22-Jul-17)

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