11th September - Open Walked up Test

Our last Test of the season today was our Open A/V Retriever at High Ordish Farm near Ashover by kind permission of Mr and Ms Watson and attracted an original entry of 28 Dogs but sadly we had withdrawals from 7 owners.
The day started with Test Secretary, Sean Farrell asking for a 2 minute silence in memory of HRH The Late Queen Elizabeth II before welcoming everyone to this fabulous ground and introducing our Judges, Dave (Bear) Brown, Ian Glover, Simon David Capstick and Yours Truly! Sean then led us to a field of Fodder Beet which was about 18" high and ideal for our Test. With Dave and Ian on the right and Simon and myself on the left the Test started with each dog having 2 marks in front alternating left to right.
The Test was run on Field Trial lines meaning that eliminating faults would preclude dogs from further participation although we agreed that each dog would have at least 3 retrieves in 2 rounds. The second round saw dogs having 1 retrieve each across the line and everyone coped well with the extra distance. Lunch followed the second round and after totting up scores and reading up on notes we took 11 dogs through to the third round which consisted of a blind behind the line after a mark in front as a distraction which was then picked by the second dog.
Most dogs coped well with this although there were differences in performance which left us with 2 dogs on equal points for first and second and 2 dogs on equal points for third and fourth so a Run-off was needed to sort them out. After a discussion about how we could "Sort them out" we set up a long blind about 120 yards away in the Beet preceded by a saluted mark as a distraction at about 45 degrees. All 4 dogs picked their birds well but there were enough differences in performance to enable us to close our books on what had been a very good Test in a wonderful setting.
Following our raffle which raised £73 for our chosen charity, MIND, the results were announced as follows. (All Labradors)
First, winning The Merriwych Shield in memory of our second Chairman, Dennis Stevens, was Laura Hill with 14 month old Jarailstar Hogen of Stauntonvale.
Second, winning The Northash Trophy in memory of Club Founder and our first Chairman, George Handley was Steve Newitt handling Castletioram Caledonia at Quingrave.
Third and Gun’s Choice winning The Riverfleet Shield presented to us years ago by Cliff Brace was Sophie Harris with Blazebeck Venus of Laxtongate.
Fourth was Lucinda Joule with Elusive Lily.
Certificates of Merit were awarded to Etomanni Apache handled by Pete Whelan, Jackie Martin with Goldieslie Queen’s Coppice and Stephen Probert with Hawksrigg Bellissima.
Our Sponsors were Skinners and Twicebrewed Twines and all handlers received certificates and rosettes.
Massive thanks as always to “The Dove Valley Team”. You were all brilliant!
Unfortunately, after lots of thought and difficult decisions, this was Sean’s last Test as Secretary and I am sure you will all join me in thanking him for his unstinting and sterling work over the past 5 years.
All in all, a Fabulous day with our dogs and thank you all for your support.