Smashing Clays At The Fishes!
Last month we took 36 of our guests on a clay pigeon shooting Away Day. We had a range of abilities, from shooters who had competed at the 1973 world championships (and came 3rd) to complete novices like my brother Rhys, who was unable to grasp the concept of hitting the clay… We’ll get to that shortly.
So the day started with a strong coffee and a free-range sausage sandwich in the pub, before setting of on the short journey to Oakley to “Kill some Clays” (as guest Mairi put it). We were soon at the Gun Company and were handed cups of tea and more pork in bread… If only every day could start that way.
We were then split into 4 groups:
1. The Experts
2. The Ladies
3. The Eager Novices
4. The Naughty Novices
There is no surprise which group I was put (and it wasn’t The Ladies).
We were then given our ear protectors and a brief induction before beginning shooting! My group consisted of a wide range of people, from restaurateurs, chartered surveyors, a printing mogul, a website guru, a recruiter, a Danish chap who sounded South African and the token posh boy, who was more used to shooting birds than clays!
Much to my surprise, the day got off to a good start for my brother Rhys (who some of you may remember from the Fishes). Despite claiming he had never shot before, he hit 9/10 shots… Some would say he may have been a little cocky. Sadly, the lowest score went to our local printing mogul Gareth who hit 7/10 clays. But what happened next may have been detrimental to the day…
Somebody mentioned a possible little wager. “£2 a miss from now on” was the cry. Of course our new expert shooter Rhys was delighted with the idea and called for a larger sum. Fortunately for some, he was convinced otherwise.
From there on in Mike, our Swiss South African, started to hit the clays as if they were the size of watermelons, as did Mike the surveyor and Lee the restaurateur. But golden boy Rhys was losing his touch and our website guru also had a disaster and was falling further away from the pack. A relaxing day shooting and getting to know some locals was slowly turning into something a little tenser than I had planned.
As the competition continued a slight glisten of sweat started appearing on Rhyss’ forehead. He stepped up to shoot…bang, miss, bang, miss, bang, hit, bang, miss, bang, miss, bang, miss, bang, miss, bang, miss, bang, miss, bang, miss. I would like to say that there was a respectful silence and words of guidance for our first time novice after a tough session, but I’m ashamed to say we laughed, pointed and mocked the poor boy. We didn’t think it was possible to hit 1/10 (also known as £18 in the kitty).
The next 3 shooters step up, and do well but not well enough to get too far in the lead. Our website designer, in his casual purple scarf, steps up without a stress in the world. Before he pulls the trigger Lee shouts from the Back, “3 to hit to not be last”. 8 hits later and we’re on for a tight finish. Rob the website designer hit a fantastic 21 and gets into the lead. But then posh boy, ‘Champagne Charlie’, steps up and casually hits a 24 and the day was done. A kitty was built, pride was lost and winners were made.
There we had a feast of Spaghetti and Meatballs which turned out to be an omen as the Italians and Scots battled bravely to a tough win at Murray field (I’m sorry Mairi, and all of our other Scottish guests, being a welsh rugby supporter I know the pain of defeat to the likes of Italy, Samoa, Western Samoa, Fiji… It’s a tough day), and the main event of Wales vs. France was a wonderful way to end to our day.
And that was that, The Fishes Clay Pigeon shoot was done. Nobody died, everyone had fun and Rhys was rubbish, so all in all, it was a perfect day!
Make sure you don’t miss the next Clay Pigeon shooting Away Day. You can keep up to date on all the upcoming trips and events on our Events Page.
By Owain Jones