Hardman Vinnie shooting in Suffolk

A DAY'S shooting in the country is worlds apart from playing in front of 30,000 football fans or performing for demanding directors and moviegoers.But for Vinnie Jones, it provided the ultimate way to relax and unwind when the former footballer-turned-film star visited Six Mile Bottom, near Newmarket.

A DAY'S shooting in the country is worlds apart from playing in front of 30,000 football fans or performing for demanding directors and moviegoers.

But for Vinnie Jones, it provided the ultimate way to relax and unwind when the former footballer-turned-film star visited Six Mile Bottom, near Newmarket.

Jones was supporting a new simulated shoot, using clays instead of game, aimed at making the sport an all-year activity.

Speaking after taking part in one of the shoots, Jones said: "It was really good fun, I have never seen anything like this around the country.


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"I love being outdoors, surrounded by trees and fields, and I shoot at Six Mile Bottom quite regularly.

"Shooting is a different way of life and it is where I am most relaxed. I am around people who have the same interests, the conversation is not about football and films."

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While many scoffed at the former footballing hardman's attempts at cracking Hollywood, Jones' movie career shows no sign of slowing.

A whistle-stop filming schedule, taking in Prague, Japan and South Africa, is planned with four films starring Jones due out in the next 18 months.

His next film, The Big Bounce, is released in September and stars Morgan Freeman, Owen Wilson and Gary Sinise.

Jones' rags-to-riches tale is one of football folklore. The hod-carrier who was plucked from obscurity into the world of professional football - where he won an FA Cup winners' medal with Wimbledon and captained the Welsh international side.

Controversy was never far behind, whether it being grabbing Gazza's more intimate parts, being sent off more than ten times or calling Gary Lineker a "jellyfish".

But every schoolboy's dream seems like a world apart from Jones' current surroundings.

He said: "I still watch a few games but it is very different now to when I played. I have also been able to go shooting more in the last three years than in ten years of playing football."

One club close to Jones' heart was Wimbledon where he spent nine years and was part of the side who beat Liverpool 1-0 in the FA Cup Final in 1988.

Though their proposed move to Milton Keynes in the summer was met with widespread anger by their own fans, Jones surprisingly, and perhaps controversially, agreed with the club's decision.

He added: "I think Wimbledon had to move as it was the only way to keep the football club alive."

No one could ever question Jones' commitment on the football field. Likewise, no one could have ever foreseen a movie career after he decided to hang his boots up.

A then unknown Guy Ritchie took the risky step of casting Jones in his first film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and the rest was history.

Further success followed in Gone In 60 Seconds, Snatch – parts of which were filmed in the fields of Six Mile Bottom – and Swordfish.

It was his friendship with Richard Clarke, head keeper at Six Mile Bottom, which saw the 38-year-old lend his support to the simulated shoot, entitled Summer at Six Mile Bottom.

Jones added: "Richard is a remarkable gamekeeper in every way. Not only does he run a fun, highly efficient and organised game shoot but he's always ahead of the crowd in trying to think of new ways for people to maintain or improve their skills and bring new people into the sport.

"Summer at Six Mile Bottom will be of great benefit and enjoyment to anyone that has the opportunity to try it out."

Fellow shooter, Colin Murfitt, from Soham, said: "It has been a very enjoyable day. I think it is brilliant that Vinnie has come here and supported the shoot."

The shoot mimics pheasant, partridge and woodcock shooting by varying speed and movement of the clays, depending on experience.

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