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Championship Trial
Venue: Oxford
Trial Held: 21 February 2016

 

Trials Manager’s Report

Fortunately, the weather was kind to us this year.  Running a trial in February after a long wet winter is always a bit of a gamble, but the rain eased off in time for the land to dry out enough for the farmers to allow us on their precious crops.  Many, many thanks to these wonderfully generous people, who cheerfully accept the invasion.  And thanks to the village hall committee, who not only allow us to use the hall, but also the adjoining sports field for the control and agility.

The team at Oxford is well established, with just a few changes each year, and I am eternally grateful to the hard working folk who give up their time to make a success of the trial, some coming from long distances.  The TD tracklaying team of Mark Lewindon, John West and Dave Stewart did their usual first class job, and the new partnership of Tony Orchard and Richard Cornwell made sure that all the WD tracks were laid accurately and on time.  Many thanks, guys.  And the stewards out on the fields and for the control and agility, Sandra Lewindon in TD, Penny Bellis in WD and Judith Owen in CD, were equally hard working, for which I thank them.

The kitchen team was headed by Liz Stewart, who not only provided an endless supply of drinks and snacks, but also fed the team for three nights. Many thanks, Liz, and your assistants Rita, Di, Shirley and John.  And thanks to everybody who brought wonderful home-made cakes!

Two people I rely on totally are Jean Howells and Arthur Jeal; Jean ran the base like clockwork, and Arthur, as well as escorting competitors to their tracks, sorted the jumps before and after the trial, and did a multitude of other tasks, usually without having to be asked.  Thanks a million, Jean and Arthur.

Last, but by no means least, I must thank the judges, Chris Brooks, CD, Joyce Tibbetts, WD and Barry Gilbert, TD, for all their efforts.  Their tests were all sensible and well thought out, and they were a pleasure to be with.  Thank you all very much.

Well done to Gary and Pete on winning the Ticket, after a nail-biting finish, winning the run-off track against Andy and Sid.  We were lucky enough to have the use of crop fields next to the base for the run-offs, so that it was easy for the spectators to watch without having to drive anywhere.

Entries in TD, with only 31 entered, were a bit low this year, I think in common with a lot of trials recently.  I hope they will increase next year, when I hope to see you all again.

Judy Meekings

 

Stake: WD

Judge: JOYCE TIBBETTS

Tracklayers: Tony Orchard, Richard Cornwell

Steward: Penny Bellis

Thank you to the ASPADS committee for the invitation to judge the WD stake.  A well done to Judy for running the trial so smoothly, and for all the work put in before the trial, more difficult when not living locally.  Ably supported by Jean Howell and Arthur Jeal running the base, putting up the jumps etc.  As usual, gratitude is due for the food always ready on return to base - thank you for keeping me fed.

I was lucky to be provided with experienced track layers; thanks to Tony - laying 5 tracks Friday and 6 on Saturday - and Richard, 3 each day; thanks also to Penny, who laid all my squares and scribed for the C/A.

Track articles were 2” sq black plastic and 2” x 1” red underlay; square articles were a teaspoon, plastic milk bottle top, 2” red webbing and half a clothes peg.

We tracked on a good growth of winter wheat on well-drained soil.  Oxford is lucky to have farmers who allow use of such good fields for tracking.  On the first day we had a heavy frost initially, which had left the ground by the time we worked the tracks, then on the second day we had strong winds and a weather front which moved in by mid-morning; standing in horizontal rain I occasionally wonder why I love trials so much!

15 entered 3 qualified

1st           Tony Lockyer, ABBI BLACK AT HARTSHILL, CDEx – UDEx, GSD, B, 192, Q.  Always a pleasure to watch Tony.  Abbi had to work hard on the track, dropped 2 marks in the square and only lost 1.5 marks in C/A round.

2nd         Gary Haim, LOOPITOONZ SPACE RANGER, CDEx – UDEx, WSD, D, 181, Q.  Gary tracked in the worst of the weather but Buzz never gave up and deservedly completed the track with both articles, then still had energy to get all four square articles.  You should be proud of him, Gary.

3rd          Chris Gregory, THRIFTWOOD ALLEGRA, CDEx – UDEx, GR, B, 172, Q.  Also worked in the wind and rain; worked well to get round the track but Chris had to spot both articles, so dropped 5 points on each.  Then 3 articles out of the square.  A very good C/A round meant Dilly qualified well.

4th          Stan Ford, VONHAUSWOLF RAINHARD, CDEx – WDEx, GSD, D, 172, NQ

 

Stake: TD

Judge: BARRY GILBERT

Tracklayers: Mark Lewindon, John West, Dave Stewart

Steward: Sandra Lewindon

When I was first thinking about the sort of test to set, one thing was most important for me.  I didn’t want to stand in a field for several days and watch dogs that were not completing the nosework.  So the main thoughts were about creating a test where the tracklayers and stewards could be consistent and give every competitor a reasonable chance of success, but which was to an appropriate standard.

The track pattern had a very straightforward start, was 17 legs and had generous sized articles, which were a piece of tree bark 2” x 3”, a length of plant stem 4” x 0.5”diameter, and a strip of carpet 3” x 1”; all of them blended in with the land.  They were positioned to reward accurate tracking.  The search square was laid to minimise the wear and tear to the ground in a spot with no track legs crossing it.  The articles were a 3” length of electrical flex, wooden drink stirrer, 12” length of thin nylon twine and a piece of woollen jumper 2” x 2”.

The weather was windy all week and stayed dry until the last 2 tracks on the Saturday.  Many thanks to John West, Dave Stewart and Mark Lewindon for laying consistently accurate tracks.  Sandra Lewindon laid the searches and also stewarded the control round on Sunday in a very professional way.

Fifteen dogs completed the track with ten qualifying on the nosework.

The control and agility was held on the cricket pitch next to the base.  The test started with heelwork at all 3 paces followed by the speak.  The handler left their dog and walked a short distance following the steward’s commands, while the dog was asked to speak.  One or two dogs found this set up difficult.  Sendaway came next, which went around the cricket square in the centre of the field, 80 paces out to a long jump element, 80 paces left to another piece of long jump and then left again to a third long jump board.  I allowed the handlers plenty of time to work their dogs to the points indicated, but not all were successful.  A short length of fast pace heelwork took the handlers to the jumps, which were very well accomplished by everyone.

Unfortunately, the four highest placed dogs after the nosework failed to qualify on the control and we were left with a run off for the ticket between Andy Baker and Gary Atkins.  The run off track was the pattern used for the second dog if handlers had two dogs entered, and the articles were natural items which did not need to be picked up by the tracklayer.  Andy went first and completed the track with 2 articles.  Gary tracked second and found all three articles with a slightly better track mark, making him the winner.

1st           Gary Atkins, WTCh GLENALPINE PETE, 183, Q.  This is their 10th Ticket, an absolutely great young dog.

2nd         Andy Baker, WTCh SID THE LEMON SQUEEZER, 183, Q.  Slightly ahead after the nosework but a messy sendaway lost them a few marks.

3rd          Tony Lockyer, WTCh LAWINICK COME N GET IT AT HARTSHILL, 176, Q.  As usual, Tony kept going on both the nosework and control and succeeded in qualifying where others didn’t.

4th          Sheila Tannert, TARNEDGE WISP, 186.5, NQ.  More marks than anyone else, but not enough to qualify on the control section.  A very promising young dog.

Thanks very much to Judy Meekings for managing the trial so well, Jean Howells and Arthur Jeal at the base and all the efforts in the kitchen by Liz Stewart and her helpers.

 

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