10th January - Novice Retriever field trial

Our 144th Field Trial Meeting and our last Retriever Trial this season was held today at Cubley by kind permission of Mr and Mrs David Legh and Headkeeper, Shane Wood.

Shane is as keen as we are to ensure everyone has a good day and his contagious enthusiasm always sets us off on a High!

Today's Trial was for 16 Dogs and once everyone had arrived the famous Dove Valley Bell sounded the start of the day.

Shane took our Guns, Pete Bancroft, Steve Mear, Brian Wilshaw, Chris Burrows, Dave Cooke, Steven Baker and Yours Truly to the first drive which was a truly Wild Duck drive with a few Pheasants to finish. Springing Teal tested us somewhat but we managed to supply our Judges, Dave Field and Simon Capstick on the left and John Halsted and Stewart North on the right with some relatively straightforward retrieves.

Drive number 2 was only a short walk away with our Guns 3 each side of a Woodland Strip and me in the middle of a ride. This drive was not as productive and only a few birds succumbed!

Our third drive involved a longer walk with us Guns at the top of a grassy meadow below a narrow Woodland Strip and some Game Cover. Our Judges waited with their dogs a good 150 yards below us and when the horn blew (actually, it wasn't a horn because Shane had forgotten it)! so it was more of a shout of "That's it Lads" and some nice work was seen.

By now were down to 3 dogs all of which had had 4 retrieves and although we had lost the remainder it was not a true reflection of the standard because in general terms, the standard was very high for a Novice Trial.

Our final drive gave us the chance to finish the Trial with birds driven over a Conifer Wood and falling in interesting places with one bird falling in thick cover giving our eventual Winner the chance to show a little of his Game Finding ability without too much help from his handler.

With another dog lost and the other two on six retrieves apiece, the Judges had seen enough.

Following our Raffle and £131.00 raised for MIND the awards were announced.

The Winner, receiving a new Trophy donated by Steve Wilshaw, The Ernest Henry Trophy and The Springfield Trophy for The Gun's Choice donated by Steve and Angie Lomas was Ronnie Laughton with Etomanni Missouri.

Second place, Winning The Pat Horobin Memorial Trophy was Keith Broomfield handling Margaret Broomfields' Ardgreen Tye of Lowtrey.

Our Host, Mr Legh had donated a nice Glass Tankard for The "Keeper's Choice" which was presented to a delighted Angie Townsend with Beggarbush Wilderness To Elmertown. Angie's dog had been in the final 3 but sadly failed at the last hurdle.

As always, I must thank the fabulous "Dove Valley Team" for their support and unstinting help and our extremely generous Sponsors, Skinners, Sporting Saint, Baileys Shooting and Country Wear, Tuffies Dog Beds, BASC, Twicebrewed Twines Pernamax Canine and Acme Whistles.

Thank you all.

A good Trial in an extremely friendly atmosphere.