The International Gundog League

Retriever Society

Open Qualifying Stake 19th/20th September 2016 at Hy-Fly, Pilling, Lancashire

The IGL’s two day qualifying Open Stake was held at Hy-Fly in Lancashire by kind permission of Mr Graham Holden on the 19th and 20th September. The judges were Terry Prentice (President of the IGL), Les McLean, Lynn Mitchell and Polly Dunckley. Allan Schofield had organised the excellent team of guns who so generously shot for the Trial and Kevin Hughes, the Steward of the Beat, ran the line with good humour ensuring a steady flow of partridge rising from the sugar beet.

A full card of 24 dogs ran in the Trial although the card changed significantly from the original draw as the Secretary worked through the reserves calling in no 53 just 36 hours before the Trial commenced. With Terry and Lynn on the right and Les and Polly on the left the Trial was held entirely in beet with the steep sided Hy-Fly ditches causing a fair number of problems. Scent seemed reasonable when the bird was on the fall but over the two days no dog was able to take a line in the beet although there were a couple of runners taken when birds landed on the grass strips at the edge of the beet. Good marking was essential and Di Wiggin with FT Ch Brockeweir Daisy and Annie Wales with FT Ch Brockweir Fleurie marked well. So too did Steve Richardson’s Birdsgreen Cludo of Wedgnock but to no avail as despite hunting the area of the fall beautifully the bird had moved and he was unable to pick.

A bird landing on the far bank of a ditch caused problems for dogs and judges alike but after four dogs failed to pick the judges decided that the bird was unpickable and all four stayed in. Di Wiggin had a good two dog eyewipe on a bird which had moved and Di Harrison’s Hatchfield Lyon was eyecatching retrieving across the line. At the end of the first day 13 dogs were called through to the second day.

Again the sun shone as the second day commenced in a new field of beet. Fairly quickly several dogs were lost, falling victim to miss marking and an eyewipe. Judith White with Minstead Axel picked behind other dogs twice and Kevin Lewis with Cassie of Meaburn by Trefoel was very efficient picking his birds. Almost before we knew it the Trial was down to three dogs and unfortunately their final retrieves saw one dog fail first dog down, another be called up having struggled to retrieve over a ditch and the third to pick over the ditch but on borrowed time.

The final result saw just one award being made to Di Harrison and Hatchfield Lyon who received a CoM and the Charles Allington Memorial Cup for the highest placed owner/handler. As judge Terry Prentice said it had been a super Trial and the judges were as disappointed as the competitors not to be able to award a first place.

Huge thanks must go to all who helped at the Trial – and in particular Sue Schofield who not only organised accommodation and food but was dog steward over the two days – and to those who took part – the competitors were enthusiastic and sporting and their support for the IGL was appreciated.

Hy-Fly was a brilliant ground for the Trial and the IGL hopes very much that we will be back there soon!

Report by Gilly Nickols, IGL Hon Secretary