Under cloudy skies, we assembled at Holland and Holland’s shooting grounds in Northwood, Middlesex, for another of these annual competitions. The Feltmakers were sadly missing their usual captain, Brian Minnighan, because of family illness, but our Clerk ably took over organising the team. We had arranged to meet at 8.30 and after the usual snatched breakfast of bacon or sausage in a roll, we headed off for the first of 10 stands. The Feltmakers were only fielding one team this year, Bill Gammell, Peter Shirley, Peter Winfield and William Battersby, as the team of four guns, with our Clerk, Jollyon Coombs, ready with gun to take over if needed. And needed he was for the first stand, as heavy traffic had delayed one team member.
Each stand presents a different pair of clays for the shooter to kill, and he or she has these launched 4 times, so can achieve a maximum score of 8 at each stand. We progressed round the stands with the queues waiting to shoot getting ever longer as the morning went on, and us early starters were joined by teams who had lingered longer over breakfast. Half way round, there is a change as the team is presented with the Flush. Here all four team members shoot together as wave after wave of clays are launched over head from a high tower and everyone blazes away, assisted by Holland and Holland’s gun-loading team. Jollyon took my place for this event and the team scored a total of 51 clays out of a possible 80. Rain threatened throughout the morning, but thankfully stayed off, although the wind increased and the clays responded to it by a larger curve in their trajectories – all part of the challenge. After an enjoyable morning’s shooting, we headed back to the lunch tent, where the now traditional hog-roast lunch awaited us.