Save the Children Gundog Event – Margam Country Park in south Wales

‘Save the Children Gundog Event’ 

Sponsored by BASC & Chudleys

Supported by Sporting Saint and Barbour

Grand Final Report

Monday 30th of August 2010 was the date for this year’s ‘Save the Children Gundog Event’ Grand Final. The event was held in the wonderful setting of Margam Country Park in south Wales which was bathed in glorious sunshine.

With the exception of last years winner Mr Steve Wells and his dog Woodash Eddie who was invited back to defend his tile, all the other competitors had gained a place in the final by qualifying at a number of heats held across Britain.

The final along with all the qualifying heats were run on a fun and inclusive basis and not governed by Kennel Club rules, this is not trialing, this is about the everyday shooting man/woman who wants to have a chance to enjoy testing their dog within everyday shooting scenarios found in the field, without the added pressure and stringent rules of a registered working test.

The dogs on show were mixed in their experience, breed and age. Some handlers and dogs were used to the competition side of dog work but there were many there that only use their dogs to pick up or wildfowling. It was also good to see a couple of juniors taking part after qualifying at one of the heats. The atmosphere at Margam was of excitement along with some nervousness on what lay ahead.

Huw Jones had designed a fair test for all dogs and owners with nothing to challenging but as many found out that the retrieves were not as straight forward as first thought.

The first two tests were set up on a small hill, set within grassy avenues of about forty yards wide and bordered by either pine woods with thin cover or large mature rhododendron bushes.

The first of these consisted of two seen straight retrieves; one dummy thrown at about 45 yards with another placed some 20 yards directly behind the first but just out of sight over a brow. The nearest dummy had to be picked first.

The second test was a straight marked retrieve up the left hand side of the slope, as the dog returned with the first dummy a distraction shot rang out and a ‘blind’ retrieve was placed to the right of the slope behind a bush, both at a distance of about 45 yards.

Lunch was taken after everyone had completed the first two tests and it became apparent that the course had caught one or two out already, and that it all came down to the final two retrieves.

As both the competitors and the large gallery of spectators gathered around the area of the last test there was certainly an atmosphere of expectation and nervousness in the air especially as the dogs ran in the order of their entry number.

The test it self consisted of one retrieve into water at a distance of about 50 yards, although the dummy was seen thrown and was accompanied by a shot, its landing was obscured by a border of rushes some 8 yards wide which the dogs had to negotiate first, this was then followed by a ‘blind’ retrieve which was placed in light cover between two trees some 45 yards away and at about ninety degrees to the first retrieve.

This certainly sorted the field out with some dogs failing on the water retrieve and some on the blind.

Judges on the day Mr Huw Jones and Mr Dick Stanley then retired to add up the scores, eventually two dogs owned by Steven Wells and Penny Jenkins were called out for a run off although only the judges knew for what position.

The run off was over one dummy and after both dogs had slight problems with this the judges deemed that Steve Wells was the winner. At this stage most people thought that this was a run off for first however when the judges called up the third place name it was Steven Wells with a score of 108, he had failed to hold onto his title, therefore a new name would be engraved on the trophy. Runner up with a score of 110 was Meurig Rees with his young Labrador bitch ‘Ceri’. The winner of the 2010 event with a score of 111 was thirteen year old Sian Stevens of Llangenech near Llanelli with her dog ‘Blakey’.

The organisers would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have helped with running the qualifiers, the dummy throwers and Judges but most of all to those who supported this event, Barbour and Sporting Saint and to its sponsors BASC and Chudleys.

The dates and venues for the 2011 event qualifiers will hopefully be in place by no later that the end of December, please check out the diary section.

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