Blog posting by Alan Rees, Wales Gundog Team Captain
Well, we’re home after a gruelling weekend at Englefield Estate near Reading, the new venue for the Skinners World Cup Retriever Gundog Working Test. What a fabulous venue! They threw everything at us as competitors and the ground was fantastic and also the hospitality next to none.
Thirteen Teams finally arrived – four retrievers in each team, in total 52 competing dogs, the best from all over the continent. The United Kingdom fielding all four nations England, Scotland, Ireland and of course Wales. On behalf of Mark Bettinson the Wales Team Captain for this event a big thank you for all your help in getting us there.
As a result Wales managed to get in front of Scotland and Ireland but the England Team was superb and ran out worthy winners, the IGL Retriever Champion winning Top Retriever handled by Richard King accompanied by three top professionals in Jayne Coley, Lee Hartiss and Andy Latham. All the team Field Trial Champions, all IGL Retriever Championship award winners, all very experienced dogs and handlers having the correct millage on the clock so to speak.
Wales were 7th overall as a team, a creditable performance, the two experienced dogs and handlers returning 90% and 85% respectively for Craig Perry and Alan Rees, the two young dogs on the team found the going tough on certain tests. From the first test two simultaneous marks, in thick cover at a distance of around 280 mts set the scene, the course would be set with very difficult tests and set at International standard, at the first test there were no fewer than 12 failures.
So now the stage is set for the rest of the season – the Kennel Club test, the biggest in the country – good luck to all entered and then onto the coveted CLA Game Fair in Harewood near Harrogate.
An update re the CLA Game Fair my selection of the 10 dogs to represent Wales is nearing completion, 5 Spaniels and 5 Retrievers. Again Wales this year is sponsored by CSJ and I personally thank CSJ for your continued invaluable support.
The Spaniel team and reserves were selected at a test on the 10th May, numbers were down slightly, but the quality definitely up – as the saying goes it’s not about quantity it’s about the quality.
The Retriever team position 20 invitation letters went out to qualified dogs for a selection day on the 5th April (two pulled out due to bereavement; two pulled out due to a prior commitment, 5 handlers didn’t return their stamped addressed envelopes) The day set out and judged by Jayne Coley a neutral on neutral ground proved very beneficial, two dogs broke 90% and ran off namely Craig Perry and Alan Rees ( Craig being named the winner and will be our individual representative on team GB at Chatsworth in June).
I judged 9 of the dogs at Windsor and had a good look at the dogs under competition pressure here, in addition I ran at the Labrador Club of Wales Open working Test to have a look at the dogs in contention. A number of dogs have also been invited to the Skinners event training sessions for me to look at, all in all I’ve looked at all dogs in contention this year in an effort to strengthen our position regarding the CLA. My selection for the last few places will take place shortly at a Captains Run Out by invitation (exactly like the Scottish selection process).
Watch this space for the announcement of our 10 representatives selected to run for Wales at this year’s CLA Game Fair, hopefully we can go one better than last year and bring home the CLA trophy for the first time in its over 60 year history. Thank you all for your continued support.
Wales Gundog Team Captain