Putting out the direction signs to the venue on Sunday night I really wondered if we would be able to hold a Trial at all. The river Wyre was higher than the road and there were hundreds of yards of deep floods. The surrounding land was flooded in every direction and the forecast for Sunday night was more rain. I thought about advising participants to bring waders and water wings.
Monday morning was overcast but dry! There was little breeze and as the day went on it became even warm, especially wading through roots with in places more than a foot of water underneath. Kevin Hughes, the Keeper at HyFly, did a great job of putting us in places where the partridge flew out in easy numbers for the Guns to pick off providing mostly straight forward retrieves for the dogs and handlers. That’s not to say they were all easy retrieves and it was mid morning before the first dog went out. First dog down is a hard rule. Joyce Smithies provided the most welcome snack at half time with Bara Brith (we are a Welsh Club after all) and a little something to help keep everyones’ spirits up. There were a few of us with wet feet by this time!
By the finish of day 1 we had 8 dogs to go through to day 2, and called a halt around 3pm.
It was delightful to have Kevin and Lorraine Hughes join us for dinner with all the Guns and the Judges. Despite the rain falling in torrents outside everyone had a great night. The prospects for the following day were not looking good, but by 8am the rain had stopped and we set off in a stiff breeze to walk more roots with the 8 remaining dogs. The wind made shooting more challenging which in turn allowed the dogs to better show their abilities. There was some excellent dog work shown in difficult conditions, a couple of nice eye wipes, and a long hunt on the line of a runner. The Judges called “Trial Over” just before midday, having picked some 30+ birds - a mixed bag of partridge, pheasant and duck.
I would like to thank the Holden family for their kind permission to hold our Trial at HyFly and thank Kevin Hughes for never losing his smile and providing us with two great days despite the most awful conditions. Our four Judges Mark and Jamie Bettinson, Steve Hore and Wendy Glue did a super job to sort out the final result over both days, and I thank them very much for their good humour and consistency despite two days sinking in the mud and the puddles at HyFly. Our Guns did a terrific job on both days to put birds down. Good Guns can make a Trial and their shooting contributed hugely to the running of both days. My personal thanks go also to everyone who helped carry game, back-stop pick up, provide great food for us all, and remind me what I am doing (!), but especially to Lis Weigh and Bronwyn Roberts my two essential right hands. There was a lovely atmosphere on both days and I think everyone had an enjoyable two days.
The winner of the Olympic Trophy and the Gwyn Morris Trophy for First Place, and gaining a qualification for the IGL Retriever Championship was
FTCh Macgiriaght Foxy Lady, owned by Mrs C Finlan and handled by John Halsted.
The Jane Davies Cook Trophy for Second Place and with a B qualification for the IGL Retriever Championship was
Hawksgarth Sirocco, owned by Tess Lawrence and handled by Kirsty Cousins
The Gwysaney Trophy for Third Place was
Lockthorn Ziva owned and handled by David Marx
Fourth Place was
Hullabaloo Whiskymac owned and handled by Fiona Joint (who fortunately just managed to find her way back to the venue on day 2!)
Guns’ Choice Trophy was awarded to Hawksgarth Sirocco.