Unlike last year where we had wall to wall sunshine, this year the day loomed dark and wet, with gale force winds and heavy rain forecast.

This possibly put some competitors off travelling, however we had a brilliant turnout – over 70 dogs, and the day ran well, albeit a little soggy.

As the Club hadn’t managed to run a puppy test during the year, we decided to add a Fun Day Puppy Test to the itinerary before the main event. The puppy’s were split into two groups, under 12 months and 12-18 months. We had 6 under 12 months puppy’s run, and a further 13 in the 12-18 month category. The tests were split into 2 parts, an obedience test judged by Beth Payne and a water test judged by Maurice Stanbury.

The obedience test was a basic puppy test, with walking to heel on and off the lead, sit, stay, recall and steadiness to a thrown dummy, all retrieved nicely to hand. We extended the older puppy’s with a memory blind and a seen retrieve across the obedience course, over a ditch and into a rough patch of grass and all puppy’s achieved all elements which was a pleasure to watch.

The water test with Maurice went equally as well, with only one puppy having never swam before being pulled from the test.

The rest of the competitors with dogs over 18 months were split into Spaniels and Retrievers with the spaniels having a hunt up exercise on the Hunting test, judged by Julia Griffiths, followed by a retrieve, whilst the Retrievers had a seen and blind in the same area.

The bank/ditch test judged by Zoe Townsend also ran well with most dogs scoring double figures, which was better than last year, as that turned out to be the bogy test.

The water test judged by Alex Brain ran well too, with all dogs achieving a retrieve, if not a successful delivery!

Finally, the seen retrieve judged by Julie Adams, in her first judging role, ran like clockwork thanks to the brilliant throwing of our two dummy throwers.

Whilst these tests were going on, competitors were also able to take part in a bales scurry and a pick-up scurry, both of which drew a crowd.

A sausage scurry, back by popular demand was also put on, however the dogs were unimpressed with the sausages on offer, so not too many were eaten this year.

A challenge of a long retrieve bought out the competitive nature of some of the contestants, with a seen retrieve at the bottom of the field to shot, but to get to it, the dogs had to go from their handler, through a seam of rough, over the water, run down to a log jump, over that into some more rough to the retrieve and then come back the same way, over the jump, over the water. The winner was the person to do the whole retrieve in the least number of commands. It was also timed just in case there was a tie on one command!

Although the competitors tried hard unfortunately, no dog achieved the challenge as laid down, most skirted the water both ways, although the dog that won did swim on the outward run and did the retrieve in 3 commands. The most number of commands was 30 plus, without the dog actually picking the dummy! But there was lots of laughter and cheering on for the dogs competing.

Although the weather did hold for us with just a couple of showers during the day, the marquee guarding the shop and paperwork eventually succumbed to the wind and blew away which hampered the results as they went from dry and legible to wet and soggy by the end. Luckily we had  written out the certificates, so were able to hand out the prizes.

Results were as follows:

Puppy’s up to 12 months                                                              Puppy’s 12 – 18 months

1st     Paul Passmore with Teal                                                        1st    Jess Latham with Vera

2nd  Tim Williams with Teal                                                          2nd   Mary Jane Opie with Lorry

3rd   Jo Vincent with Maddie                                                         3rd   Zoe Osmond with Jago

Spaniels                                                                                               Retrievers

1st   Nicky Chapman with Teaser                                                 1st   Lynne Zorab with Purdy

2nd   Chris Pope with Bonnie                                                        2nd   Sue Gray with Enzi

3rd   Jo Vincent with Tia                                                                3rd    Jess Latham with Evie

Sue Gray and Enzi also won the best Veteran

The Bales Scurry was won by Michael Doleman and Beenie

The Pick -up scurry was won by Louise Latham with Dottie

The sausage scurry was won by Jess Latham and Jeffrey

And the £20 Long Retrieve was won by Kate Opie and Honda.

All in all a very good day, that allowed newcomers to the sport see what happens in a test environment without the pressure of a Kennel Club event , let people who had recently joined the club chat to other club members, and let people use the tests as a bench mark as to how their training was going, which was really the aim of the day.

The only thing that marred the day, was the person who walked off without picking up their dogs poo by the water, that was watched by the audience watching the long retrieve and the people who left poo bags dotted around the field and by the gate by the marquee. Its these people who not only give the club a bad name, they make land-owner’s think twice about letting the club back on their land. We all know as responsible dog owner’s, you pick up your dogs poo and take it home – every time without fail.