20th/21st November 2023 - 2 Day open retriever trial

Dove Valley Working Gundog Club held its Open Qualifying Two Day Stake on the 20th & 21st November 2023 by kind permission of Peter Rushbrook.
This was the clubs 155th Field Trial Meeting.
The run up to the trial had been rather exasperating due to many withdrawals & people not contacting me. Then one of our A panel judges became very poorly and could no longer judge for the club, So began the four hour phone call marathon to find another A panel judge .
I was beginning to think the trial would have to be cancelled when Andrew Slingsby said he would try and move his work schedule around, if he could then he would judge, The message came through early morning, He said YES 😇.
To add to the pressure one of our Guns was unable to join the team due to work commitments this was only a few days before the trial.
Thankfully Julia Reed knew a few Guns and sent out a few messages and Henry Darling joined our team on day 1 , Day 2 John Keegan very kindly offered to shoot for the club and joined our team.
I kept everything crossed hoping the card wouldn’t change and create more admin work for myself & Janey Beharrell no such luck as it moved a few days before the card was due to be printed.
Sunday was a morning of teaching before I packed the truck up with all the trial bits & Bob’s, Dogs were loaded up and off we went to Bury St Edmonds.
Monday morning was an early start the weather was dry, cool and cloudy Perfect conditions for a shoot day.
As the judges started to arrive they mentioned that there had been an accident on the A14, this could cause us some problems but myself and the committee members carried on setting up ready for the competitors to arrive.
It wasn’t long before the phone started ringing with frantic competitors saying they were stuck in traffic All I could do was communicate with the judges & wait to see who arrived.
As time passed we knew two handlers couldn’t make the trial in time so the judges and myself asked all competitors in attendance if they had spare dogs they were willing to run fortunately two handlers had the required dogs and helped us for fill the card the third competitor who had still not arrived was told where we were starting the trial and it was agreed they could meet us there.
My stress levels were through the roof 🤦‍♀️.
Finally the trial was ready to start and Bob Seaman was chief steward for the two days and began to introduce the team of Guns.
Mondays team was James Barnes, Henry Carney, Jacob Henry , Brian Wishaw , Edward Whittaker & Henry Darling.
Judges on the right were were Colin Pelham & Julia Reed in the left were Andrew Slingsbury & Craig Horwill
Steward of the Beat was Alan Hammond.
We all drove off led by Alan we soon arrived at a field of mustard which we utilised for most of the day.
The standard of dog work was very high with difficult retrieves made to look easy in the challenging cover.
The Guns shot a mixed bag of game.
As the line moved on towards the end of the mustard a partridge flew across the front of the line of Guns and managed to avoid all of them until it got to our end gun who brought it down.
Alan had now moved the line to a field of rape to complete the second round. At 2.30 we had only lost 4 dogs. The Judges started to put their books together & had a chat with Alan.
The decision was made to start the third round with one retrieve each.
Once again there was a steady flow of game but as time moved on the temperature started to drop and scenting became more difficult.
A Cock & Hen bird broke to the right of the line, this is where Jacob brought down a superb left & right.
After retrieving the remaining birds that were on the ground the Judges called an end to day one.
Day 2
The second day started off a lot calmer although the weather was a little overcast and drizzly.
The 12 remaining dogs were taken to a field of conservation mix and rape and dogs were all to continue with one retrieve each.
We walked a small scrub field up first before we reached the crop.
Dogs were sent across the front of the line, sometimes out of sight of the handler but the judges always kept them informed as to where the dog was.
Again there was a steady flow of game , this is where we started to lose some dogs.
The judges put their books together and called dogs back in line to start the fourth round . The eight remaining dogs were to have two more retrieves. The Guns continued to shoot well and one more retrieve was required to finish the trial. The remaining dog was sent but unfortunately failed to pick . TRIAL OVER !!
This was my first two day trial as FTS for Dove Valley but this trial could not of taken place without the hard work by all the committee.
As we all know Guns can make or break a trial and to say that our team of gunshot well would of been an understatement .
I personally would like to say a huge Thank you to the Judges for giving up their time to judge, for being so kind and positive.
Thank you to Meghan Ryan for picking up over the two days.
We had two newbies to carry game and they did a wonderful job and thank you to Judith on the second day.
A special Thank you to Alan who over the two days was calmness PERSONIFIED . Oh and his jokes were terrible 🤣🤣
Lastly a big Thank you to our sponsors
Skinners , Twicebrewed Twines , Basc & Sporting Saint.
Winner of the Klato Cup donated by David Clayton
Flaxfire Trophy donated by Colin Walker
Went to Pete Whelan with Etomanni Apache
Second place winning the Derrity Trophy donated by Charlotte Jeffery went to Louie Robertson with FTCH Mitforton Onour also winning the Delfleet Pepper Trophy donated by Jane Jacob’s for the Best Yellow Labrador
Third place Paula Cullis with Flashmount Tenor of Tagabea
Fourth place Godfrey Lowe with Jogolo Dark Magic
Louie Robertson with Rawcroft Rummage of Mitforton
Mike Tallamy with Brindlebay Mead
Guns Choice went to Mike Tallamy