In some ways this blog will be every similar to one I wrote a year ago, or even from two years ago – another weekend, another shooting competition and thankfully a repeat county championship win; but as everyone is well aware, this year could not be more different than the last few. 

Normally by now we’re in full flow of the season, and in fact the international season would be over halfway done. Normally this is the part of the year for me that I love the most, competing internationally and with months of competition after the winter break to boost confidence levels for all the important events. Of course, this year everyone has spent the last 3 months with no shooting at all so for me it’s felt a little like turning up to an exam without revising, competing at county championships the last two weekends. It’s funny, because I’m used to having large chunks of time off shooting and then just picking it back up again for the new season. Normally I don’t really shoot for 3 months or so over the winter months, and I quite often shoot some of my best scores when I come back in January or February, so I didn’t really expect the lockdown shooting block to affect me too badly. Yet, there I was on the first stand of Gunsite missing two incoming/crossing clays on the first stand that as my Dad would famously say, he “could have shot them off the hip.” The next two stands I was all aboard the struggle bus, trying to regain some timing and rhythm before my long-term favourite target, loopers, got me going again to finish the round strong. Whilst my score definitely reflected the struggle of the first three stands, I was really pleased with how I shot the rest of the course and the improvements I made, only missing 6 on the next 9 stands. 

The next challenge was the Somerset All-Round Championships at Brook Bank. I’ve shot the South West All-Round a couple of times in the past, but never the Somerset one as it nearly always lands on Good Friday and every year there’s a selection shoot of some description that weekend so I like to take the Friday off to spend with my family. I actually love to shoot all-round and have the opportunity to shoot some of the other disciplines without having to shoot 100 reg of them. First up was ABT which I really enjoy shooting. I was pretty pleased with a 23/25 which coincidentally I’ve shot every time I’ve shot ABT at an all-round competition. I like to think of myself as a secret trap shooter! My Krieghoff Parcours is definitely not what you would call a trap gun, but it works pretty well for me. A perfect all-round gun. The sporting proved a tricky course and even though my score was lower than my trap and skeet scores I was pretty happy with how I shot it, although probably a couple light. I then finished up with 23 on both the single barrel and skeet which was nice and solid and gave me a good base to finish up on an 85/100, enough to win the Ladies’ Somerset All-Round title. I’ve booked on for a couple more all-round shoots this year, so I’m looking forward to getting out for those. 

The inevitable rush to cram shoots into the remaining months of the season meant that I was back out again the next weekend to shoot the Somerset Sporting Championships. Dad and I have had a great run at this competition since I started shooting so it’s always nice to get a good result here. If I’m honest I was a little nervous about my lack of shooting before the competition but my Dad taught me very strong fundamentals in shooting technique with my pick-up point, kill point and swing through method so I have a lot of faith in the ability of this technique to make up for my lack of shooting. The shoot started off great with eally strong first few stands, before getting caught out by three in a row after some silly mistakes and some tricky sim pairs. Don Brunt at Podimore did a really good job with this shoot to make it tricky, as it should be for a county championship. Sim pairs made you either rush one shot or have to shoot the second in a much trickier position and this definitely caught me out a few times. Don 1-0 Emma. 

Someone who did not get caught out though was my Dad. His Hull Sovereigns were smoking everything he shot at. He shot like an absolute hero to come through with 95, with the next highest score 90. It’s pretty rare that that happens in shoots these days with the quality of shooters out there. I was mega proud of him especially when he straighted the infamous stand 10 – the first one to do so. Not bad considering this was only his third registered of the 2020 season!! Two 98s and a 95 this year for him, not bad going. He always jokes that his winter training programme of not touching the gun at all from September-March is behind his ability to make England team after England team when he only shoots selection shoots, this year he’s just carried it forward to July! I’m going to have to up my game to get my yearly ‘I beat dad’ competition in. His mega shooting allowed him to win the Somerset Sporting title for an unprecedented 25th year, which blows my mind a little. As for me, I finished up pretty strong after having a stern word with myself and some tough love from dad (this normally consists of “Emma you’ve shot for your country 10 times, don’t tell me you can’t hit a crosser  that I could shoot from the hip”), allowing me to win the trophy for the 6th year. Winning with Dad is the best feeling, and I’m so glad we could extend our streak to the 4th double win. Feeling pretty lucky to have a dad as talented as mine! 

Next up for me is a couple of registered’s and some practice at home to really solidify my timing, rhythm and confidence before shooting majors for Compak, FITASC and Sporting over the next couple of months. Luckily for me I have just received a new shipment of CPC clays to go in my Laporte trap at home so I can crack on with some practice there. Their help has been invaluable to me in times like this, the equipment is second to none. 

It’s been great to catch-up with everyone again, and even though it was nice to have time off I can’t wait to get back out there competing and seeing everyone week-in, week-out again. Can’t wait to see you all soon!