This year saw 14 of us head off to the Isle of Man, including two from Reading University, for what was to be another superb weekend, not least in terms of the weather, no rain at all! Once again, we beat the competition into submission in the pistol events, but were unfortunately beaten ourselves by competition from Aberdeen University in the rifle events.
This year the event comes of age as the Student Festival of Sport reaches its 18th year. Due to logistic problems, 12 of us met at Heysham ferry port for the night crossing to Douglas, the other two had decided to fly over from Heathrow. We arrived in Douglas very early in the morning and we bussed to our hotel, spookily enough, the same hotel as some of us stayed in during our first visit to the island. After a welcome breakfast, the majority retired for a few hours sleep, whilst four members, at the landlord's invitation, continued drinking in the hotel bar, yes we know it was only 8 o'clock in the morning. After midday, the majority trundled off into town to find some lunch, many thanks to Tesco's Cafe for being one of only two places still open for meals in the afternoon.
Later on that evening, we headed off down to the opening bash, this year held at the other end of the promenade from our hotel, the previous venue, next to our hotel, having been turned into a building site. There, we met the four students from Aberdeen University, one of whom lives on the island. Three of us headed back to the hotel bar at around midnight and met up with the two who had flown over. Their arrival was only around 12 hours late, this did not stop them from making up for lost drinking time. Not quite sure what time we retired to bed, the four bottles of port, numerous pints and glasses of wine consumed helped to forget what time it actually was.
The following morning we headed off to a fogbound pistol range aptly named Windy Corner where we beat the opposition into submission (see the bottom of the page for the results). The two Ollie's from Reading were conned into cooking lunch on the BBQ by admitting to watching TV cookery programmes. It was then back to the hotel for everyone to get showered and changed before the evenings event. We booked a table for all fourteen of us at the local Thai restaurant, although the meal was good, the service wasn't, guess they're not used to dealing with large groups. It was then off to the disco. However, I guess this was the beer's fault, we ended up in two groups, one downstairs and one upstairs in the nightclub, neither group knowing the other was there. Reports are sketchy as to what time people went to bed, but 6 o'clock seems to have been the latest.
There was a very poor showing at breakfast with only four people making it in time. A grand total of five made it to the coach on time for the rifle competition. Unfortunately we were beaten by the Aberdeen shooters, victory eluded us (results below somewhere).
The ferry journey back was rather subdued, perhaps we are getting a bit long-in-the-tooth for all of this malarkey, then off on our merry ways home. Those of us that could, wisely taking the Monday off work to recover. Many thanks to all the drivers for getting everyone there and back and no thanks to the airline for giving Chris and Lee a 12 hour flight rather than the 45 minute one promised to them. Next year the USA perhaps?
A toast from our chairman, 'To absent friends, my liver and kidneys being two of them'.
Results now in!
|Police Pistol 1
|Service Pistol B
|English Match 50m Prone Rifle
|Olly W (561)
|Ollie C (541)
|Overall Club Champion
This years wooden spoon goes to Micky, who managed to score 8 points. Places in Competitions, Police Pistol 1 14th (76), Service Pistol B 12th (40), UIT Centrefire 12th (104), English Match 5th (0).
Individual results available on request.
Some of the happy campers. I maintain it was foggier on the left of the range and that is why I couldn't hit the target! The proof is in the photo, don't just take my word for it!
More happy campers suffer the effects of too much sleep and a lack of alcohol.
When the opposition faces you like this on a cruel Sunday morning, you have no choice but to run scared.
To say that I was unimpressed at being caught on camera in my delicate state would be like saying that Idi Amin was just trying to work out personal issues.
It may not have rained but the Islands unique micro-climate always threatened. Barbados for me next year.
There's no bar, I'm off.
This Chairman fellow doesn't seem to be a very clued up teddy bear to me.
More photos are now available here. Warning, these files are quite large and may take some time to download but I am trying to keep a little more of the resolution.