4th October - Novice Retriever Field Trial

Our 147th Field Trial Meeting and our first this season was our Novice A/V Retriever for 14 dogs at The Sandon Estate in Staffordshire by kind permission of Mr Matt Nesbitt. We are extremely fortunate to be able to hold our Trials this year as many Clubs are struggling to find grounds and willing hosts due to all the issues surrounding our sport so we are very grateful that Matt was happy to host our Trial.
 
Our Judges for the day were Keith Bellamy paired with Sharon Kitson and Geoff Dobb working with Jim Murphy. Following the formalities we all followed Matt to the first drive where our loyal team of Guns, Pete Bancroft, Steve "Merv" Mear, Chris Burrows, Dave Cooke, Steve "Rosie" Baker and Brian Wilshaw lined out in a well established crop of Foder Beet to take well matured Partridge and Pheasant from a woodland drive. With all dogs in line for the drive, Matt blew his whistle with around 20 birds down and our Judges began their task. Conditions were good and the drizzle which greeted us earlier faded away leaving us with pretty good scenting conditions. As you would expect in a Novice Stake, some dogs struggled, particularly with Partridge but overall, the standard of Dog work was very good.
 
Our Judges were very fair with all the handlers giving them plenty of time when dogs were working well and holding an area. By the time all the birds had been picked we were well into the second round so Matt re-started the drive and our Guns did the business again putting more birds on the deck with some impressive shooting. With almost all the birds picked the Judges tried for a Partridge a good 150 yards away up against a hedge in white grass. 4 dogs were tried with some impressive handling and hunting but sadly, all failed, only to be eyewiped by the Judges. This left 2 dogs on even retrieves so to finish, we walked-up at the side of a wide hedge and ditch at the bottom of the Root field. We needed 4 birds to finish and they came quite quickly to enable our Judges to close their books.
 
With Sponsorship from Skinners, Sporting Saint, Animology, Gundog Journal, Twicebrewed Twines, Pernamax Canine and Acme Whistles, the following awards were made.
 
Sadly, we were unable to award First place.
 
In Second place winning The Merriwych Trophy and The Hawkslow Cup for the Best Yellow Labrador was Simon David Capstick with Finefields Goose.
 
Third place was awarded to Jayne Coley handling Kilpen Nightcap of Waterford.
 
Carol Probert with Etomanni Amber of Corsemalzie was awarded The Coomberry Trophy for The Gun's Choice.
 
We would like to thank everyone who helped make today a success particularly "The Dove Valley Team" consisting of Rachael Pugh Lewis, Mikki Deville, Cherryl Jones, Henry Carney, Steve Wilshaw, Garry Watson, Bob Seaman, Janey Beharrell, Bridget Noakes, Sarah Emery, Richard Kershaw, Carl Humphries and Dave Field.