The Field Gun Crew
With having only 14 days to train together and considering that before the two weeks the vast majority of the reservists have never even set eyes on a field gun, let alone pulled one, this is always going to be a mammoth task.
Due to these civilian commitments, we only have the two weeks training and preparation prior to the competition. So it’s all pretty hectic. We do however have two fitness weekends prior to the two weeks and now an extra weekend to get familiar with the gun and gear, which means the crew are able to hit the ground running at the start of the fortnight.
Pulling such a team together in the first place was really quite a big achievement, bearing in mind that the vast majority are holding down full time employment or in the middle of exams. They come from all over the country and occupations which range from a Surgeon to University Students and just about everything in between.
The 2011 competition started with a good number of people who were keen to run, had only a few minor/major injuries and had the support of our sponsors. By the end of the heats we had two runs which were both sub 1 minute 26 seconds, which put the crew in the final of Plate 1, beating the aggregate times of 12 other crews.
The 2012 competition was a great success with only one run being judged to have a 3 second penalty in it. Even thought we did not achieve a better finish in comparison to 2011 we achieved cleaner, better drill on the equipment and this showed on the track, where the more established crews were getting lots of seconds in penalties added to there fast times.
The 2013 competition was possibly our most successful. The number of individuals who put themselves forward to run was at its best giving a more fierce battle to earn a place in the running crew. With only two minor/major injuries the team went from strength to strength in the second week. By the end of the heats the running crew achieved 7 clean runs with an aggregate time to put them in the First Plate Final. The outcome of the First Plate Final was that the crew came home fith out of sixth but achieved their 8th clean run ensuring some silver.
2016 was by far the most challenging year yet. A new No1 and No2 trainer and not many people available to attend training due to personal commitments be it work or family and others who had committed to the Maritime Reserves in operational role training to support the Royal Navy. This made pickings slim on the ground for the No1 but in true style he took keen and eager people and put out a running crew of 18 with 4 spare numbers. The results were not the best that the Maritime Reserve have had but true commitment by all secured a place in the 2nd Plate final and an overall placing of 15th.
Mission for 2017, First Plate....