After a two year hiatus due to COVID, we were delighted to once again sponsor the gundog events at Chatsworth Country Fair. We just love this traditional country fair, its picturesque location and the fantastic array of events on offer for families & lovers of the countryside.
The Inter Team Working Test was held on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September, organised by Philip Smithies and his extensive team of assistants; Bronwyn Roberts assisted by Joan Heyes and Joyce Smithies, chief steward Michael O' Hanlon and judged by Glyn Coupar and Paul Hasney.
Competing were thirteen teams of three handlers, each representing gundog clubs and societies from throughout the United Kingdom. Even though some competitors had run in the individual competition held on the previous day, this did not give them an advantage as Michael O'Hanlon used a different piece of ground.
On day 1, the 3 team members all competed at the same time in a '3-dog walked up.' Each member received two marked retrieves in front, a blind retrieve behind and then a marked retrieve in front on the river.
"The natural bunkers soon tested the handler and dog and good marking and the ability to run in a straight line was the order of the day. Unfortunately for some the blind retrieve proved a challenge with some dogs loosing many points or recording a zero." Steve Burns, Gundog Commentator
At the end of the day, 4 handlers out of 39 returned a perfect score of 80 to be joint best individual. At the end of the first day, the scores (from high to low) were as follows:
232 - Dove Valley Working Gundog Club 232 - Midland Counties Labrador Retriever Club 220 - Pennine Training Area 215 - Midland Gundog Society 214 - South Eastern Gundog Society 212 - Three Ridings Labrador Club 209 - Northern Golden Retriever Association 207 - United Retriever Club (North Midland Area) 202 - Clwyd Retriever Club 200 - Eastern Counties Retriever Society 194 - Lancashire & Merseyside Field Trial Society 190 - Burns and Becks Gundog Club 181 - Dukeries (Notts) Gundog Club
On Sunday, the second day of the inter club test began with all 39 competitors having 2 retrieves; a blind and a mark.
All of the action took place in front of the grandstand which was full to capacity. This placed extra pressure on the competitors, with some having never competed at an event in front of the general public before.
The format was the same as the previous day, with all three team members in line. The first dog was sent across the river for a marked retrieve in thick bracken. When successfully picked and delivered to hand, another dog was sent across the river for a blind retrieve, also in bracken on the riverbank.
This sequence was maintained until all three team members had either succesfully completed their retrieve, or had attempted a retrieve but were called up by the judges.
"The marked retrieve proved the undoing for a number of experienced dogs and seasoned handlers." Steve Burns, Gundog Commentator
At the end of the tests two dogs had scored maximum points and there was a 'run off' to decide on the winner of the "Staindrop Challenge Trophy for the Best Individual."
As usual, the awards were presented by Her Grace, the Duchess of Devonshire, assisted by Joan Hayes.
1st - Midland Counties Labrador Retriever Club - Winners of the Chatsworth Country Fair Challenge Trophy
2nd - Midland Gundog Society
3rd - Dove Valley Working Gundog Club
4th - Pennine Training Area
5th - Clwyd Retriever Club
The winner of the Staindrop Challenge Trophy for the Best Individual was presented by Joan Hayes to Di Stevens. The runners up award was presented to Craig Jackson.
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all in the awards.
It is always excellent to see the young handlers demonstration on Saturday lunch time. It is great to know that many people are enjoying the sport from such a young age. We are delighted to hear that their WuffitMix goody boxes went down well and they liked their gifts.
Many thanks to Sue Worrall of Watersplash Photography for the wonderful pictures from the event.