I was once again most fortunate to be able to capture the Junior Leaders Field Gun Competition held each year at HMS Collingwood, Fareham, Hampshire. This one week competition brings together students, apprentices, cadets and young service men and women in a team building exercise that is truly unique. To try and capture the flavour of the event take some time to look at the images of this year’s winners, Network Rail. All bar the final two photographs were taken by a first year Network Rail apprentice Tapiwa Murunghu using equipment loaned by Alligin Photography. He was using a Canon 1D MkIV and EF500m f4 lens on a gimbal head at the end of the track. The brief was to capture the feeling of Field Gun. I think he has certainly done that.
A feeling any sportsman and woman understands. You have made the final. You are one run from winning, achieving your dream. Having marched on to the track, the gear is laid out and then those final moments of calm reflection, mental rehearsal, visualisation before the race begins…………….
The Run Out
For those not used to field gun, it is a precision sport. Accuracy from all 18 team members is vital to be part of a successful crew along with the ultimate trust that each will do their job. The limber lifted to just the right height to allow the wheels to be shipped…….
And with the wheels on, the drag ropes are attached and secured with a pin, before ………
the limber is run to the gun and stopped in just the right place to allow the gun numbers to ‘button up’ the limber and gun before running down to the first action.
The Run Home
But whilst there is still the need for precision,the run home also requires raw energy. Determination and power to get the heavy equipment moving at speed and across the finishing line.
The determination on the left hand slat number, driving the limber towards the finishing line is all to evident. Likewise that of the heavy end, who moves from the gun to the front of the drags for the final run to the line (see very first picture at top of post)
With the line reached the body can relax but have we won…………………….A glance across to the others is no good because there may have been penalties.
Exhaustion, relief, a heady mixture of both?
For the number one all he can do is bring his crew to the line, look them in the eye and wait. They were first across the line but the judges are conferring, have they run clean or was there a penalty?
That will be a clean run then…………………….cue mayhem amongst the Network Rail crew (both images by G Ashton Jones
Congratulations go to all the crews who took part and or course to Network Rail for winning the final. Not to forget Tapiwa who produced some excellent images of a remarkable event that is a credit to all the young people who take part.