This week sees the close of the Field Trial Season and on Tuesday the GWPC ran the last of its 4 field trials this season, an All Aged Stake at Somerford Hall. Near Stretton, Staffordshire, courtesy of Martin Daniels esq.
Somerford Hall is a challenging ground with some very experienced Pheasants, well versed at keeping their heads down and running for cover at the slightest noise. The trial has a number of open, rough grass areas but the majority of the trial is in woodland in a mix of Bracken, Rhododendrons and Brambles, giving good cover and hiding places for the birds.
Our Judges for the day were Nigel Cox and Penny Pickstone and we started the day with a full card of 12 runners, including 9 GWP’s, a GLP, a HWV and a Korthals Griffon.
The official judges report will be available on the GWPC website soon, however, below is my summary of day.
We quickly got into birds with some challenging retrieves. By lunchtime we had completed the first round of the card and lost 6 of our runners for a variety of reasons. The scent seemed to be difficult but all dogs performed to a good standard.
In the afternoon, scent conditions seemed to improve and the dogs were having a lot more success in the woods. By the end of the second time around the card, we had 4 dogs qualified through to the water, which so easily could have been 5 but for a very fast low flying Woodcock.
3 GWP’s and a HWV went to the water. It is a blind over water for All Aged (in this case a pigeon) and this water was a good distance, made harder by the rain and a very strong wind blowing into the face of the dogs as they swam across.
Three of the four dogs made it all the way across the water, but 2 sadly had difficulties finding the retrieve and completing the return. The third, however, found its quarry and returned back across the water, delivering to hand.
In the end a GWP dog, Merle Haggard, handled by Mr Geoff Saint was awarded a 3rd Place and another GWP dog, who was in the final four at the water, Mr Wilson Jnr at Mapelhaze, handled by Roy Cullen, was awarded the Guns Award.
Despite a difficult season, with the resignation of our FT Secretary early in the season, the GWPC ended up running 4 trials as planned:
Open Grouse Stake (Alston, Cumbria) Only 1 CoM awarded
All Aged Stake (Claughton, Lancs) 1st-4th places awarded + 2 CoM’s
Novice Stake (Myerscough, Preston) 2nd-4th places awarded + CoM
All Aged Stake (Somerford, Hall) 3rd place awarded
I would like to thank all our hosts and competitors for a great season as well as the GWPC’s sponsor, Skinner’s dog foods. But special mention must go to Mr Trevor Rigby, who stepped in at short notice as acting Field Trial secretary and guided us through the season, assisted by Andrew Fleming as Chief Steward and a number of the GWPC main committee who helped out to make this happen.
Our first Championship Show with CC’s is Crufts, entries are now closed. This year Mr Chris Atkinson is judging the breed, gundog day being the Sunday (11th March).
GWP entries have fallen dramatically at Crufts in recent years as the public are charged an admission fee so most eligible GWP’s cannot enter Crufts as they are docked. However, if you are hoping to meet the breed, volunteers organised by the GWPC will be manning the discover dogs area on each day of Crufts.
The first Championship Show of the season after Crufts with classes for our breed is the Birmingham National on Saturday 12th May, where the breed is being judged by Mr Jeff Horswell with CC’s on offer, docked dogs permitted, so a good turnout is anticipated.
So if you have any news of any successes in Open Shows or any field of competition with your GWP you would like included, contact me. All contributions gratefully received.
Peter F McCullough
m: 07515 964424