FIELD gun runners pounded the concrete in a fierce display at HMS Collingwood yesterday.
The event at the training base in Fareham saw HMS Collingwood’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ crews go head-to-head in impressive fashion to battle for the 12 Pounder Cup.
It was the ‘A’ crew that snatched the annual cup, beating their rivals by just less than six seconds across the course as the two teams prepared for the annual Royal Navy and Royal Marine Charity field gun tournament this Saturday which takes place during the base’s open day from 9.30am.
A total of 18 crews from as far as Gibraltar are set to take part in the event which draws in around 6,000 spectators each year.
It sees the teams compete for the Brickwoods Trophy and has taken place at HMS Collingwood since the 60s.
Lieutenant Jason Steele, who is the number one trainer for the establishment’s ‘A’ crew, said: ‘The two crews have done very well today and should be proud as they’ve put in a serious amount of hours of their spare time in to get to this point.
‘We are determined to win this year. We did not perform well last year and I think it’s safe to say we’re aiming to mount a comeback and surprise a few crews.
The two teams have been in training since February and are handpicked based on their experience, skill and strength in bringing the guns back and forth across the track.
The contest involves a team of 18 sprinting a field gun that weighs the same size as a small family car across a tarmac track.
The ‘A’ crew finished their run yesterday without a practice run at a time of one minute and 22 seconds ahead of the ‘B’ crew’s time of one minute and 28 seconds.
Last year’s winners HMS Heron had secured the bragging rights with a one minute and 17 seconds finish time.
‘A’ team crew member Danny Hamp, 37, from Gosport, said: ‘It’s a lot of hard work in the months leading up to it but when you see the thousands and your families cheering you on as you walk out, it makes it all the better.
‘We’ve had a great season and I think we’ve got a good chance on Saturday.’
Gates open for the open day on Saturday at 9.30am.