2nd December - Novice Retriever field trial

Novice A/V Retriever Trial results, Dunstall.

Our 142nd Field Trial meeting at this beautiful Estate in Staffordshire by kind invitation of Simon Clarke is a highlight of our Field Trial calendar for many reasons.

We have held Trials here for a number of years and no matter what the result, we always have a truly memorable day’s sport. Simon is an extremely keen Gundog Man himself and he and his equally keen team of Guns always take great interest in the proceedings, particularly when it comes to selecting their Gun’s Choice!

Simon’s long serving Headkeeper, Bill Constantine and his team of very patient beaters always work hard to put the birds in the right bit of sky and today particularly, one or two of the Guns will have gone home remembering some truly magnificent shots!

Today’s Trial started (and finished) under a clear sky and following a briefing from Simon, we walked a short distance to the first drive. Simon put his Guns on their pegs in a shallow valley before our two senior Judges, Michael Tallamy and Sara Gadd took all the dogs and filled in the gaps between the Guns. Bill and his team pushed birds from woodland over the Guns and a good number were despatched before Bill blew the whistle.

Mike, on the right with his co Judge Lewis Butler and Sara on the left Judging with Stephen Cuffy Probert then set about their task. Most of the birds had fallen on the slightly undulating grassland so this was more of a test of handling than Game finding. The gallery were at the top of the valley and had an excellent view of the dogs working.

Simon and his Guns, George Astley, Ian Marshall, Dave Smith, Kathy Mercer, Joe Tipper and Matthew Clarke all watched and waited until all the birds were picked before we moved on to the next drive which was again in a valley from woodland.

On this drive, a few birds fell in the wood and gave our Judges the chance to see a little more Game finding from the dogs.

By the time the drive finished we needed a couple more birds to complete the first round so we decided to take a lunch break whilst Bill did a little blanking in for the third drive.

This drive was again in woodland but the difference this time was that all the birds fell in the wood and if we needed a drive to sort out the dogs, this was it! A good, under control "Picking-up dog" can really shine in a situation like this and after about an hour and a half we were down to two dogs on five retrieves apiece which was enough for me to hear “Trial over”!

This had been an excellent Trial and the standard of dog work for a Novice Stake had been very good indeed.


First winning the The Staftly Trophy in Memory of Pat Taft was Roy Peat handling his Labrador Dog, Shepy Zach. Roy was also awarded The Hawkslow Cup donated by Sally Antram to The Best Yellow Labrador.

Second place was awarded to Paul Edmunds with Kynigos Midnight Magic, also a Labrador Dog. Paul was presented with The Merriwych Trophy in memory of Dennis Stevens.

Dave Haycock with his smart Golden Retriever Polihale Tangerine Twist was awarded The Coomberry Trophy donated by Steve and Angie Lomas for Gun’s Choice.

All the winning handlers received prizes from our generous sponsors who were - Skinners, Sporting Saint, Baileys Shooting & Country Wear, Tuffies Dog Beds, BASC, Twicebrewed Twines, Peramax Canine, Bagshaws Estate Agents and ACME Whistles.

As always, I have to thank the "Dove Valley Team" for making this Trial run smoothly. Mikki Deville, Rach Rachael Pugh-Lewis, Angie Lomas, Paul Kempson, Henry Carney, John Mee, Steve Wilshaw, Ann and Brian Blake, Sean Farrell, Kate Moorcroft, Sarah Emery, John Mead, and Kevin Marriott.

Our Raffle in Aid of MIND raised £163