Check in Dublin airport 12:00 got through the desk fairly pain free the staff had a good laugh with us. With finger scans over, it was off to hand over the Rifles. Plane was on time, giving us enough time for a quick feed.

Landed in Paris, collected baggage and rifles, then we collected cars for our drive to Thionville.

Checked into hotel around 23:00 quick walk down to the square for a well-deserved pint in the Titanic.

 

Friday 07:30:  Up for breakfast and met up with our English friends, then off to ATPN range for practice.  We were met by Dominique, our host, who made us most welcome for the whole weekend. 

 

ATPN has 12 benches with moving target boards on wire cables, Cicognani benches and seats with plenty of room behind for all your gear.  There is also a glass viewing area behind the shooters.

We took up a few benches, set out our flags and took turns between shooting and catching up with old friends.  Conditions where beautiful, slight breeze just enough to throw your shot out.

 

12:00: Break for lunch and to do draws for benches for Saturdays’ individual competition.  Lanes 9 and 6.  After lunch we moved all our gear to our allocated benches and continued practice until 16:30, then up to the club bar for a cold beer in the sun and discussion on what was working and more about what wasn't !

Hotel then and out for some dinner, after that, back down to the square for a pint.

 

Saturday 06:30: Up for breakfast and down on the range to get ready for first shots at 08:00.  Shooters prepare, you have 20 minutes for this detail, check targets, insert bolts, load, begin.  Wind flicking left to right with increases in speed catching out some of the line throughout the detail, ten minute call then five then one finally 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and stop.

Doors were opened from viewing area and we went out to see how our boys got on as the targets zip down the wire cables towards the benches.

Mixed scores but everyone sharing what they could see in the flags and what they couldn't.  Cleared gear off the benches for our next shooter and made sure his flags are where he wanted them then same calls as before and they’re off.

 

12:00: Break for lunch where our host make sure we are well fed and ready to go again at 14:00.  Wind picked up after lunch causing more problems for some.

At the end of the day with all results in we had three shooters showing great results with two of them scoring 250.

 

Sunday 06:30: Breakfast and back on the range for day two and the team competition.  We have our three teams and our new benches this is not only for the Thionville prizes it's also for the Challenge Cup.  Two cards finished. It's wasn’t looking great for us the English lads put in some great cards. Our A-team battled hard doing all they could to match them.  Our other two teams picked up their scores from Saturday as well.

As our last cards are shot we saw that we wouldn't be bringing the Cup home but our team had done us proud fighting hard to bring it home. 

 

Time to box up all our gear and load up the cars then up to the clubhouse for a well-deserved beer and the prize giving.

 

I would sincerely like to thank our French hosts from ATPN.  They couldn't have done anymore to make us feel more welcome.  A massive thanks to Brian Kelly for inviting us over and a big thanks to our newest Irish team members Jean Louis Bragard (France) and Renato Contarato (Italy).

 

I would like to thank the squad members it was a pleasure to shoot alongside you.  You should be proud of what you achieved, as I am proud to have been there to see you push yourselves as hard as you did against such tough competition.

 

I hope you will all join me in congratulating the squad they did us proud.

 

Thanks lads

 

 

Full results of the weekend will be posted on our web page in the coming days.