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Championship Trial
Venue: Oxford
Trial Held: 14 February 2009

Trial Managers Report, CD, UD, TD Stakes

TRIALS MANAGER’S REPORT

This was never going to be an easy task, taking over running a big Championship Trial from a manager who had run it for 20 years. However, with the help of a great team, all ran smoothly, and I think I can safely say that ASPADS Oxford trial is safe for the foreseeable future – though I don’t think I’ll be managing it for 20 years!

The weather before the trial presented a challenge, with the worst snow for many years leaving me wondering if we were even going to be able to go ahead. In the event, having consulted some of the local farmers and seen the weather forecast, I decided to go ahead, and I’m very glad that we did so. We ended up having almost all possible changes of weather, with snow on the ground at the start, then floods, more snow, frosts, and finally lovely sunshine.

The one thing I wasn’t looking forward to was liaising with the farmers. I needn’t have worried. All the farmers were so easy to speak to on the phone, and when I met them face to face, with Roger Shrimpton (TD judge) along to look at the land for the Ticket stake, they could not have been more helpful. What a relief! Without these wonderful people, we wouldn’t have any trials, so my first thanks must go to them for their generosity in allowing us on their crops.

The judges, Roger, TD, Jan Vallack, UD and Barry Gilbert, CD, were great. Thank you all for your cheerfulness, and fortitude standing out in the cold all week, and for setting fair and thoughtful tests. Barry also laid TD tracks all week, and with the other TD tracklayers, Steve Liney (all the earlies) and Tony Orchard, made sure that all competitors had a well laid track, often in difficult conditions. The UD tracklayers were Stella Smyth and Gary Martin, who, once shown where they were to lay their tracks, just got on with the job, with minimum fuss and no further input needed from me. To complete the “outdoor team”, there were three first class, experienced square stewards - Lynne Liney, TD, Chris Gregory, UD and Caroline Ashford, CD; these last two also stewarded their respective C/A rounds. Thank you to all of you for a brilliant job.

The base team – well, what can I say? We were all treated to Jacqui Gibney’s cooking for 6 evenings, and what a treat it was! Many thanks, Jacqui, from everybody who had the pleasure of eating with us. Jacqui also wrote the certificates, as usual absolutely beautifully. Jean Howells ran the base with quiet efficiency, leaving me almost redundant, and Arthur Jeal escorted the competitors to their tracks, and did a load of other jobs, often before I even knew they needed doing. And in the kitchen, Caroline Martin provided all the helpers with sustenance during the day, as well as organising refreshments for competitors, with the help of various willing helpers, including Gary when he wasn’t laying tracks, moving jumps or doing any number of other jobs. Thank you, everybody; having such an experienced team made my job easy.

Finally, to those competitors who managed to get messages to me – well done, you passed the Krypton Factor test!! Whoops… next year I’ll make sure I get the right mobile number on the report sheets.

JUDY MEEKINGS

 

STAKE: CD

Judge: BARRY GILBERT

Steward: Caroline Ashford

Thanks to the Society for the invitation to judge, Judy for all her organisation before the trial and during the week, and Caroline Ashford for stewarding. Jacqui Gibney provided superb food all week and the whole team helped make the trial a great success in spite of some severe weather.

CD was held on Friday and Saturday and we had two sunny cold days. Searches were done on stubble and all the dogs had a good attempt at both the search and retrieve. There was less breeze on the second day, which did make it harder for the dogs to locate the articles, which were a 6” piece of plant stem, a peat pot, and a 3” square of cloth. The piece of stem did its job beautifully in 1) showing the dogs which really used their noses; 2) showing the dogs could retrieve without mouthing and breaking it; and 3) showing handlers that they should believe their dogs when they bring them something unusual.

Heelwork, recalls and stays were pretty good, with only the 50 pace sendaway to two orange poles proving too difficult for some dogs. It is not uncommon for the jumps to present a problem in CD and this was also the case at Oxford, with only three dogs successfully completing all three jumps.

So at the end of the two days we had three dogs qualifying excellent.

1st Mrs D Cottrill, SANDY’S OAK, Lab, D, 90.5

2nd Mrs C Gregory, CASSOP DANNY, GSD, D, 86

3rd Mrs J Baker, JABY PHLOMIS, NSDTR, B, 85

4th Mrs F Stoneley, ORCA OF WESSEX, WSD, B, NQ.

 

STAKE UD

Judge: JAN VALLACK

Tracklayers: Gary Martin, Stella Smyth

Steward, Square & Control: Chris Gregory

Control Steward Friday: Gary Martin

Thank you to ASPADS for the invitation to judge the UD stake. To Gary Martin and Stella Smyth for tracklaying in difficult conditions - I’m sure the competitors would agree that they were superb with great results. To Chris Gregory, square steward, control steward with wonderful driving skills (the brain training comes in handy for undoing locks), thank you, Chris! Gary stewarded control on Friday afternoon. You were all cheerful companions, thank you. To the domestic goddess par excellence, Jacquie Gibney, for the gorgeous evening meals, just the thing at the end of the day. To Judy Meekings for being a very considerate trials manager and her base steward Jean Howells. Congratulations to her making Jed up to Working Trials Champion, well done.

To Caroline Martin in the kitchen, always there with a smile and the welcome cup. And to Arthur Jeal with his piece of crackling, thank you all. The gift was very welcome and useful.

21 Entries, 16 ran.

1st Jenny Orchard with WILLOWY WHISPER OF TADMARTON, LAB B, 196, UDEx. What a stunning little bitch, tail doesn’t stop wagging. Hope your arm is better soon Jenny. Track 88 + 20, Sq 35, Control 33, Agility 20. The only one with full mark agility. Congratulations Jenny and Willow, well done.

2nd Suzanne Jaffa with AMBERSLADE BUCCANEER, ASD, D, 195, UDEx. I thought Buck was the winner until the long jump, that was the difference between 1st and 2nd. I’m sure it’s only a blip, lovely accurate work. Track 90 + 20, sq 35, control 35, agility 15. Very impressive, well done.

3rd Gill Lawrence with BEKKIS DULCIMER, BC, B, 187.5, UDEx. Stayed down when her brother next to her moved. Tracked in the snow. Track 89 + 20, sq 30, control 34, agility 14.5, well done.

4th David Cutler with CALLISAE MYTEE MAJESTIC, WEIM, B, 184, UDEx. Tracked in icy conditions. Track 88 + 20, sq 32, control 31, agility 16. An entertaining, charming team, she’s a star, well done.

Also qualifying UDEx:

Gail Gwesyn-Pryce with CONCENN YWEN, GSD, D 191, well done

Gennie Chapman with BUZBY BARKLEY, WDS, D, 183, well done

Dave Self with TREGONHAY THORN, ESS, D, 169.5, well done.

Jackie Rutter with Katie won the best track trophy, full mark track on what seemed to be the Cresta run, very icy downhill!

Thank you for the privilege of judging your dogs, and struggling through some dire road conditions. Congratulations if you qualified; if not then I’m sure you are not far away from it. You and your dogs were a credit to Working Trials. Good luck to you all in the future.

 

STAKE: TD

Judge: ROGER SHRIMPTON

Tracklayers: Steve Liney, Barry Gilbert, Tony Orchard

Steward: Lynne Liney

Many thanks to ASPADS Committee for the invitation to judge the TD Stake at their Oxford trial, and for their first class hospitality. Trials Manager, Judy Meekings, and her team of loyal helpers put on a very well organised and happy trial; it was a pleasure to be part of it all. Judy took over the Trials manager’s job in rather unusual circumstances and everything ran so smoothly you would have thought she had run this trial for years – everything, that is, apart from the weather! To me, Judy, you were the star of the trial. Thank you again from all of us.

Thanks to Jean Howells, who competed on Monday, and then took over running the base for the rest of the week, keeping control and making sure everybody behaved themselves. Thanks also to Caroline Martin for the catering and looking after all so very well throughout the week. And many thanks to Jacqui Gibney, who also competed on Monday, then provided us with wonderful meals every evening. I don’t know how she does it – quite remarkable! Then she made a beautiful job of writing out all the certificates. Thanks to Arthur Jeal for escorting the competitors to their tracks in good time and often in quite difficult conditions, for helping out at the base when needed, and sorting out the jumps.

Very special thanks must go to my tracklayers, Steve Liney, who laid all the earlies, Barry Gilbert and Tony Orchard, who all at times during the week laid tracks in very difficult conditions. My steward for the whole of the week was Lynne Liney – and what a splendid job she did. The squares were all laid spot on, and the way in which she stewarded the C/A was just great, making my part so much easier. Nothing was too much trouble, and you were good company – many thanks again, Lynne.

All of you did a great job in making the trial the success I felt it was – thank you all once again on behalf of the competitors and myself for all your time and efforts.

The weather over a week can make such a difference to the outcome of a trial, and Oxford was no different. The weather looked as if it was going to take charge again for yet another Championship trail, but the snow we had on the days leading up to the trials never came back again, so we started the trial with a good covering of snow all over the tracking land, but at least the roads were generally clear. So Monday was cold, fine and dry, a tracklayer’s nightmare and a competitor’s dream, as you could see every footprint. Although we had some good results not all of the teams found it easy, and by the afternoon the temperature had risen and the snow was thawing rapidly. Tuesday started off cold and sunny, and the conditions were good for the first batch of tracks, but the snow was disappearing quickly on the second set of tracks, the ground was very wet and the dogs struggled. On Wednesday the thaw continued, the ground was very wet and muddy everywhere and only one team got round. Due to a very heavy overnight frost, the ground on Thursday was rock hard for the first tracks. John Wykes and Jaff got round the track in what were to me very difficult conditions. Although conditions improved during the day it was still very wet and muddy underfoot. Friday was fine and dry, and the tracking conditions improved considerably, and all the competitors got round.

Over the five nosework days the tracking conditions changed dramatically, and I finished up with eighteen nosework qualifiers out of the thirty six that took part, which all considered I thought was very good.

Conditions for the Control and Agility were glorious, and the ground had dried out very well. The round started with the speak, which was in two parts, one stationary and one on the move. The sendaway consisted of a choice of two run out points, one giving a left re-direct, the other a right re-direct, all one hundred and thirty of my paces to bushes kindly planted by Steve Liney! The Agility was of a pretty good standard, although it did cause problems for some teams that were in a very good position after the nosework. There were no problems in the stays.

At the end of the day there were ten teams with TDEx and two with TD. There was a run-off for third place , which was a search square.

1st Stevi Boyall with STYPERSON LOMOND, Lab, 205.5, Qual TDEx. Track 93, articles 30, search 35, control 28.5, agility 19. Worked on Friday; a very nice steady track with three articles, and a full mark search square put Stevi and Harley into fourth place after the nosework. They kept it all together for the Control and Agility and were very consistent throughout. You have a lovely way of working together. This very well deserved win makes Harley a Working trials Champion – couldn’t be better done.

2nd Gary Martin with TYTRI ROY, BC, 203, Qual TDEx. 97, 30, 34, 27, 15. Tracked on Monday in the snow, and took full advantage of it; a fine performance and a good team effort – you work very well together. Went into the C/A in joint first place – but for the clear jump it could have been a very different story, but we’ve all been there! None the less, a really good all round performance. Well done.

3rd Dave Marchant with WTCh WAGGERLAND MURPHY, WSD, 202, Qual TDEx. 97, 20, 34.5, 30.5, 20. Tracked on Monday and just flew round the track and search square, both completed in next to no time. Murphy made it look all too easy – he really does enjoy his work. Went into the C/A in sixth place and put on a very good performance – one of the best sendaways, and even got two marks for heelwork! Must be one of the most consistent teams around at the moment. Well done.

4th Liz de Unger with BARNSTHORN STRIKE IT LUCKY, Lab, 202, Qual TDEx. 98, 30, 33, 26, 15. Also tracked on Monday. He really worked well for you today, with a super track - a pleasure to judge - followed by a very good search square. You looked very pleased with this performance, and rightly so. Went into the C/A in joint first place, but not such a good sendaway and problems with the jumps spoilt your day. But still a performance to be proud of. Well done.

Also Qualifying TDEx:

Sheila Tannert, WTCh STYPERSON BRIAR, Lab, 199.5

Kathy Ingham, ObCh RUSKATH OTHENTIC IMAGE, WSD, 199.5

Tony Lockyer, WTCh DOUBLE TOP AT HARTSHILL, WSD, 195.5

John Simpson, GLENROYAL YAZZ, GSD, 188.5

Julie Atkins, WTCh OUR DUG, BC, 182.5

Colin Ball, CONNEYWARREN TUCKER BOX, Lab, 182

Qualifying TD:

John Wykes, WTCh FLYNNTASTIC RED JAFF OF TARNFORCE, BC, 173

Jacqui Gibney, BRYNHEULOG AP BRECON, WSD, 171

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