Perfect weather welcomed liverymen from many livery companies to the grounds of Holland and Holland in Northwood for another enjoyable day, blasting away at clay pigeons. Every year, the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners organises this event, which raises funds for charity.
This year the Feltmakers were only able to field one team of liverymen and one team of guests and, as usual, our entry was very capably organised by liveryman Brian Minnighan. Brian encouraged us to assemble for an early 7.30 AM start, so we could fortify ourselves with a breakfast of bacon and sausages in rolls, before heading off for our first stand to be there for the official start with first shots from 8.30.
The way the day works is for teams to process around and shoot at each of ten different stands. Each one provides four pairs of different tricky ‘birds’ for liverymen to try and ‘kill’, each person shooting individually, and with a friendly Holland and Holland official efficiently managing the process, issuing cartridges, and noting scores.
The 11th. activity is the flush or flurry, where the team all shoot together and try to hit waves of 4 or 5 clays which are sent overhead. This is great fun and has the adrenaline flowing to keep up with the demanding pace of loading and firing as a total of 81 clays fly overhead.
The Feltmakers’ A team of liverymen: Brian Minnighan, Peter Winfield, Peter Shirley and William Battersby, scored a total of 216. The B team of guests: Graham and Tom Poulton, Brian Mann and Kevin Harris, scored an excellent 303 making them the 5th. highest scoring team overall.
We were all very amused when a piece of a clay that had been killed by William Battersby landed perfectly in a cup of coffee carried by a passing member of another team. William admitted that such precision on his part was a rarity. Past Master Bill Horsman accompanied us throughout as a spectator and enjoyed the day immensely from his viewpoint sitting on a shooting stick.
No livery event could take place without a good meal and so when the shooting was over, we all joined the queue for a splendid buffet lunch served in a huge marquee, which as is now traditional at the inter-livery shoot, included two cooked whole pigs.