It was a warm clear morning on Tuesday, as we arrived at the superbly appointed Ian Coley shooting ground, near Cheltenham. The packed car park resembled an Audi / Land Rover dealership, and there was more corduroy and tweed on show than at a Moss Bros warehouse! Yes, it was that time of the year again, when the good and the great of the Gloucestershire rural surveying profession gather to do battle for the honour of lifting the Hazlewoods Challenge Cup, awarded to the highest scoring team of four, following their attempts to dust a total of 160 clays.

Of course, whilst the competition was serious, like all good gentlemen, we partook in a fine cooked breakfast first, and reacquainted ourselves with some contemporaries, whom we only see once a year, at this very event.

Our challenge was not without issues; Charlie Beldam (of Cotswold Gold) was drafted in at the eleventh hour, I was still nursing a ten day old black eye (the source of which is another story altogether!), and the 40 targets were to present more difficulty than ever before. Nonetheless, we would try our best.

Davie Smeaton declared he was "having a wee rabbit problem this month" (and then proved it), Matt Venner unbelievably dropped four (out of six) at the first stand, and I seem to have developed an incurable condition to be reported in The Lancet as Drivenbirditis. Thankfully, Beldam was striving for mediocrity, which I preferred to positively interpret as consistency.