Welcome to the third issue of the GBFCA Newsletter, our Winter edition.
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Your committee is always looking for ways to improve the National League; to make it an even better experience for all, with that in mind we have noted some areas that we will work on to enhance your enjoyment.
At the Pennine Challenge league match we noted that some members had difficulty with accessing the firing point from the track due to their cars slipping and becoming stuck, we have been in discussion with the PSSA to see if additional road-making material can be deposited to provide a better driving surface.
During the long stints in the butts, it has become noticeable that some sort of public convenience would be a great asset, indeed with the growing number of female shooters, they would rightly expect that such facilities will be available. The Committee is investigating the provision “portaloo” facilities in the butts for future league matches, this is work ongoing and we hope for a resolution to this in 2017.
Although Diggle is now the only privately-run range that can offer a full Palma match format, it was found that running all three distances on one day was rather a lot for some people, in future it is planned that we will revert back to our usual format of just two distances per day.
We understand that the popular Grains Bar Hotel has changed ownership, but is still currently trading as an hotel, the contact numbers & email remain unchanged.
Diggle is the only National League venue where members are expected to mark targets, members are therefore asked to give the sort of service in the butts that they might expect to receive when shooting. Most markers do a perfectly good job; but there have been just a handful of regrettable cases earlier in the year when marking did not live up to expectations.
The Committee has discussed this and has decided to address this in a novel manner which should help add to the fun aspect while still dealing with the matter; from now on a fine of 50p will be levied for every target that gets a “message 4” , a “message 5” or a “message 9”.
For anyone not familiar with their Bisley messages, 4 means; “mark the target”, 5 is “challenge for a higher value” and 9 is “speed up the marking”.
The fines will be collected from everyone marking the target in question and the collection will be donated.
Members may be aware that half of the electronic targets at the Highland Challenge malfunctioned and could not be used. This deplorable situation has arisen partly due to inadequate maintenance by the West Atholl club. Members who attended the match had their part of their entry fees refunded. The club have discussed the problems at length, and have made a firm commitment to restoring the targets to factory specification, however any GBFCA use of Blair Atholl has been ruled out for 2017 until confidence can be restored in their electronic targets. Looking further ahead, it may transpire that the League makes more use of other alternatives such as; Bisley, Diggle and perhaps Altcar.
It has been clear for a long time that the 1,000yd firing point needed expansion.
When the gazebos were erected and held in place with straps, it left very little space for shooters to squeeze past while carrying heavy kit – it was an accident waiting to happen.
Following the Scottish Championships, your committee took the initiative and offered to fund the expansion of the firing point, this offer was accepted by the West Atholl club and work will begin this winter. Members will hopefully agree that this represents a good use of GBFCA funds.
Health & Safety
The Association is mindful that we are engaging in outdoors activities that are not without risk of injury. To that end, from now on there will be a comprehensive first aid kit available at each venue, the kit will include a defibrillator device. To make best use of this equipment, it is necessary to be properly trained, so to this end, some committee members will attend a first aid training course during the off-season. For 2017 onwards members may be reassured to know that full risk assessments for our League match venues will be completed.
We are thankful to Paul Harkins for taking on the job of producing a GBFCA Member’s Handbook. This handy publication sets out all the relevant rules and regulations pertaining to the Association. It is a useful reference and we urge all members to be familiar with its contents.
Following the European Championships, some members raised the perennial question of how League points were allocated and how the presence of overseas shooters affected the distribution of points.
For clarity, let it be understood that all members of the Association, whether full members or for the duration of the match, were fully entitled to receive league points.
Various alternative schemes have been proposed by various members, these were discussed at length but all were found to be unworkable - and indeed, undesirable. The simplest solution is that in future, all competitors will be obliged to be full members of the Association, this will simplify and clarify the whole situation – every competitor regardless of their origin will be fully entitled to win League points.
2017 World Championships
Arrangements are well in hand for the forthcoming F-class World Championships in Ottawa, Canada in August next year. The team Captains, (David Lloyd and Russell Simmonds) are working closely with the team Manager, Mik Maksimovic to ensure that all arrangements are made in good time. There will be a number of Association members who will be competing as ‘Independent’ shooters, as previously noted they are being encouraged to participate in the block-booking arrangements being made for the GB squad. Paul Crosbie is the point of contact for any members who wish to take part as independent shooters. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 Calendar Changes
Members are asked to note that the 2017 National League calendar of events is quite different from the past 3 years – this is due to 2017 being a World Championships year, therefore the Association makes certain adjustments to the programme to ensure that the GB squad get additional opportunities for long-range shooting, prior to their departure for Canada in August. Note the short range Championships are now at Bisley. The training weekend is another major change, it will now be held at later in 2017, at a time and venue to be decided.
In previous World Championship years, one of the Blair Atholl fixtures would have been dropped on the grounds that space in the crowded programme needed to be made to enable members to compete in the FCWCs without undue strain on their budgets. In 2017 there would only have been the Scottish Championships in April, but due to the problems there with the electronic targets, that match also been dropped for 2017. Any return to Blair Atholl in 2018 onwards will be dependent on what work is done by West Atholl to restore confidence in the electronic targets to ensure a trouble-free League match.
The Long Range Challenge will only be shot at 800, 900 and 1,000yds in 2017, to give the GB squads additional opportunities for training in readiness for the World Championships.
The 2017 GBFCA Calendar. Download it here »
Rnd 1. 25 / 26th Feb - Bisley
Rnd 2. 18 / 19th March - Diggle
Rnd 3. 20 / 21st May - Diggle
Rnd 4. 24 / 25th June - Bisley
Rnd 5. 25 Sep - 1st Oct Europeans - Bisley
Rnd 6. 4 / 5th November - Bisley
The Association introduced online booking for all matches except the Europeans in 2016, it is safe to say that it has proved to be highly popular –so popular in fact that the biggest concern expressed by some members is how quickly spaces are snapped up; for one fixture, in as little as 48hrs.
The GBFCA committee is very aware of these concerns and has discussed them at great length. One matter that has come to light is the necessity of ensuring the Association has your correct email address to enable you to be notified of when the entry system goes ‘live’.
In the interests of total transparency, the committee would like to assure all members that there are absolutely no reserved spaces; nobody gets to enter all matches at once and all the committee members themselves have to enter online in the normal way. Those were just some of the concerns expressed by members during the year.
Anybody wishing to enter competitions now must do so via the new members portal detailed at the top of this newsletter. Only members of the association may enter the competitions so please ensure your details are correct on the new system,
In future, full membership only will be available, the previous £5 temporary match membership category will no longer be offered.
Members will be aware that our old website was unfortunately ‘hacked’, but thanks to the hard work of our GBFCA webmaster, Steve Thornton, we now have a superb new website which is much fresher, clearer – and more secure.
Members may have noticed in some league matches this year that they were only issued with squadding papers for Saturday, and were resquadded overnight for the Sunday. This was done in order to ensure that all top shooters in contention could be seeded with other similarly-ranked shooters, depending on their scores achieved on the Saturday. We trust this meets with your approval; it was done in order to maintain the ‘level playing field’ of all equally ranked shooters getting to experience the same wind conditions on the same detail. We hope to continue doing this where possible; it was not possible at every venue last year due to logistical difficulties – e.g. no access to a printer at Blair Atholl etc.
Your Committee is looking into suggestions for fresh new designs for the stage winner’s medals which we have had for several years. Where there are more competitors at bigger events, the prize list may be expanded accordingly to recognise the achievements of more than the top 3. We shall also look into revised designs for the match winner’s bullet plaques.
Every year, the GBFCA supports a charity with a donation from our funds. In 2017 it has been decided to support a charity giving assistance to military personnel and their families; the Soldier’s Charity. Some members will be participating in a “Cateran Yomp”, with sponsorship backing from the GBFCA, see Tony Marsh for details.
That’s all for now, thanks to everyone who has contributed throughout 2016 to making the National League such a success, have a good winter break and come back next year revitalised and ready to compete again.