The Wales Team sparkle and shine at the Home International

Nigel Probert, of Wales, was awarded best gundog of either breed

The Wales Retrievers walked away with the Northern Goldsmiths Retriever Team Trophy

A posting from Alan Rees, Captain of the Wales Team

THE GAME FAIR

RAGLEY HALL 29th TO 31st JULY 2016

What a weekend, you couldn’t have scripted it any better …

All the hard work of putting everything together for the Game Fair, replacing the CLA Game Fair, was well worth the effort.

It was a resounding success, the Gundog Chairwoman and her crew put on a great show. The arena this year had been well thought out and the tests showed the requirements to simulate the shooting field. On behalf of the Wales team a great big thank you to everyone concerned in the organisation.

England, with their usual strength in depth, ran out overall worthy winners with a total score of 1,090, followed closely by Ireland with a total of 1,086, Wales finished on 1,052 with Scotland on 1,003. Both English and Irish spaniel teams were a joy to watch, consistently individually scoring over the magic score of more than 100 out of a possible 120.

Credit where credit is due to our two lads, David Pither with an outstanding run at 110, followed closely by David Williams at 103. Well done to you both! The rest of the spaniel team held their own and fought for every point.

The Retriever team competition brought together 20 of the best dogs and handlers from the British Isles

This is always a keenly contested international with only the best taking the field watched as usual by an international audience. To say that the competition was ‘Nail Biting’ is an understatement, going into the last quartet of dogs, representing their individual countries, Wales and England were neck and neck, with only a few points separating all four international teams.

The Retriever competition concluded with Wales Retrievers victorious on 561, Ireland on 558, England on 556 and Scotland on 552 – only 9 points separating the four teams out of the total available points for the competition of 2,400. What a fantastic conclusion to the competition!

Wales Captain, Alan Rees, played his card, and came out as the first competitor to go over the track and established a formidable benchmark of 116 out of a maximum 120.

All the Wales Retriever Team, more than held their own in the arena

Simon Hagain with 113, Haydn Willmott kept us in the hunt with 111, Mark Bettinson fought his way to a creditable 104, and then came Nigel Probert, our final dog and handler, with a winning performance of 117.

Well done all, what a fantastic set of results

To add to the suspense, four dogs tied on 116, which resulted in a run off for second and third. For the first time during the competition the judges set a test using the full length of the arena for an unseen retrieve over three fences, into the woods, with no shot. Sadly, one dog failed, and the end result placed Les McLean of Scotland in second and Alan Rees in third. Nigel Probert, of Wales, was also awarded best gundog of either breed.

The Wales Retrievers walked away with the Northern Goldsmiths Retriever Team Trophy, which dates back to the first Game Fair International in 1978

Wales’ first win was in 1992, followed by 1997, 1998, 2001, and now in 2016. Incredibly, Alan Rees has been a member of the winning, International Retriever Team on each of these 5 occasions.

In thanking everyone involved with the Wales International Team, my greatest gratitude must go to Ceri and Phil, of CSJ, who encouraged and supported us every step of the way over this weekend. We couldn’t have done this without you both. A special thank you also to Wendy of CSJ.

We are already looking forward to 2017, having accepted the invitation to compete at the Game Fair at Hadfield House and also the new full Gundog International Event at Scone Palace, Scotland.

Good luck to all for the coming trialing season.

Alan Rees

Wales Captain

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