As I stood in the gallery with a group of friends and new acquaintances all of whom share the love of our sport, bathed in warm September sunshine, looking out over the rolling green countryside I thought how incredibly lucky we are to be able to enjoy days working our dogs in surroundings like this. And for this privilege I personally and on behalf of the Club, thank those who make days like this possible. Thank you to the Rosseli family for sharing their ground with us, to Tom and Alex Painter the Beat Keepers and their team of beaters for producing the birds over the guns. Thank you to our team of guns whose shooting can make or break a Trial day. Not least thank you to Mark Demaine, Vikki Stanley, Nicola Reynolds and Neil Appleton for judging today. And thank you to my team of helpers, especially Lis Weigh and Bronwyn Roberts along with those who were volunteered to mark fallen birds or carry game.
The day started in a huge featureless field of stubble turnips with the guns seemingly in the far distance around the edge of a wood. Thankfully the Beat Keepers had put out some posts which acted as reference points to mark birds down. With all the dogs in line this drive yielded a big number of young pheasants practicing hard at flying for next month and a lot of partridge who had already worked out that if they stay low they live to fly another day! However the dogs worked those birds that came down nicely before we moved on to our second drive. This rolling hillside of shortish grass showed every move each dog made. Although it was hot the breeze helped scenting conditions which are never that good for partridge. The gallery had a good view until birds landing in a wood out of sight meant we lost touch for a little while whilst those birds were picked.
We moved on to what turned out to be our final drive in another rolling field of grass (and bullocks!) where again there was nowhere for less than perfect dog work to hide. The drive was halted when there were sufficient birds down. The remaining dogs worked these birds until there was one dog left standing. The judges’ decided to try one final retrieve to really evaluate this remaining dog, whilst those of us in the gallery willed the dog to do a really perfect final retrieve without which the dreaded NO RESULT was looking likely. We didn’t will hard enough because in the end there was a no result finish.
It’s always disappointing for everyone and of course for the dog and handler when there isn’t a winner but that’s Trialing. You have to be really good to win. And capable of moving successfully to Open status.
To finish the day we arrived back to an enormous tea put on by Home Farm Cafe, which lifted everyones spirit and stretched their waistlines! Thank you Home Farm Cafe, its a really great finish to a wonderful day outside in our green and pleasant land.
Our team of Guns chose Sue Corden’s Higgscroft Corylus Avelana to win the Guns’ Choice Trophy, which will be in the post to her as she wasn’t available at the presentation.
Thank you to everyone who took part today and I hope you all enjoyed your dogs, your friends and our sport.