Katy Cropper wins last three open trials
England: Elaine Hill
ON Easter Saturday (April 15) Katy Cropper topped the entry of 38 dogs at the Holmrook Open with Zac (E. Gray’s Cwmadog Beth, P. Bristow’s Bill), winning by a single point.
Two days later, she travelled south to the Holme Society Open at Clough Head, Haslingden. Here the lengthy gather of about 450 yards was up a steep hillside.
As the sheep were turned out from the top left corner, all dogs gathered left-handed where they could follow the wall. Due to length of the outrun and the steepness of the ground, most dogs needed some redirecting.
Once lifted, the Cheviot hoggs were taken along the skyline and through an obstacle. Only then were they turned and brought down the rough hillside, through a second fetch obstacle, over a broken down wall and a ditch.
On completion of the right-hand drive the trial was concluded at the pen. Worked in threes the hoggs were difficult over the outfield, particularly in the morning, but they were good to pen. Ross Watson judged the entry of 71. With run number three, Iain Ibbotson and Jim set the standard gaining 77 points.
A little later Thomas Longton and Maya went ahead on 80 points. Late in the day when the sun was low in the sky and quite dazzling, Katy ran Zac at 65.
For going a little straight to start and needing redirecting, Zac lost three points from his outrun. He took his sheep nicely along the brow of the hill and through the hurdle. Having a tight turn into the fetch was not easy, yet Zac turned his sheep reasonably well.
From the 30 points allocated by the judge for the fetch Zac lost 11. He kept his sheep steady over the drive where five marks were deducted for line deviations. Fortunately, his sheep walked straight into the pen as Katy closed the gate with only eight seconds left.
With a score of 81 and a single point advantage, Katy and Zac took their second title of the weekend.
Mr Watson also judged the brace class where one dog gathered a packet of three sheep turned out on the left and the other gathered a second packet to the right. Sheep were brought to a central point where they were united and turned down the hill into the fetch.
On completion of the driving using one dog, sheep had to be shed into two threes. They were then put back together and penned by the two dogs while the handler remained by the post.
Tom Huddleston had the winning run with Udale Ola (T. Huddleston’s Udale Jet, R. Hutchinson’s Sweep) and Nessy (I. Brownlie’s Mo, R. Hutchinson’s Sweep) scoring 114 points.
The judge said: “The two dogs worked well together and the run was a pleasure to watch.”
With Zac and Tsavo, Katy was the runner-up on 113 points.
The following Sunday at the Lee End Open, Quernmore, Hilda Cleary judged the entry of 59. With a fetch of about 350 yards the course was set over two fields divided by a broken hedge and shallow ditch.
Most gathered right-handed, passing through the larger and more obvious gap into the second field. There were more than 20 retirements, mainly for the dogs losing their way over the difficult gather.
Once lifted, the hoggs were brought through a gap in the hedge into the first field. After passing through the fetch obstacle they were turned left into the drive. There was just one drive obstacle made up of three hurdles. Sheep were pushed through the left and the middle gates and then turned sharply back through the middle and the right-hand ones.
The Herdwicks ran well over the outfield and were good to pen. Second to the post, Sergio Perello and Rap set a high standard gaining 87 points. They stood top for most of the day until Katy ran Tsavo (T. Lawrenson’s Bonnie, F. Cleary’s Bill) at number 54. Following a clean outrun, the medium-coated bitch lost just a single point from her fetch and one through her driving. Finishing clean at the pen gave Tsavo a single point advantage with the winning score of 88.
HOLME, Clough Head, Grane Road, Haslingden, Lancashire, (Judge, R. Watson, Millom) Easter Monday Open (71 ran) 1, K. Cropper (Shap) Zac, 81 of 100; 2, Thomas Longton (Quernmore) Maya, 80; 3, I. Ibbotson (Oakworth) Jim, 77; 4, S. Duckworth (Haslingden) Barney, 76; 5, T. Huddleston (Caton) Udale Ola, 74; 6, J. Cropper (Deerplay) Dan, 69.
Brace (5 ran) 1, T. Huddleston, Udale Ola and Nessy, 114 of 140; 2, K. Cropper, Tsavo and Zac, 113; 3, S. Cropper (Deerplay) Danny and Beechwood Ben, 103.
LEE END, Lee End Farm, Quernmore, Lancaster, (Judge, H. Cleary, Barnacre) Open (59 ran) 1, K. Cropper, Tsavo, 88 of 90; 2, S. Perello (Caton) Rap, 87; 3, T. Huddleston, Udale Ola, 86; 4, F. Cleary (Barnacre) Billy, 84; 5, P. Ellis (New Hutton) Joe, 83; 6, K. Cropper, Moor Lodge Jim, 83.
RHOSYBOL, Session 1 (Judge, Arwel Staples) Open National, 1, Ll. Evans (Swyddffynnon) Zac, 6 OLF; 2, H. Owen (Caergeiliog) Lad, 6; 3, A. Williams (Penmachno) Max, 6.5; 4, M. Davidsson, Sweep, 7; 5, E. L. Morgan (Aberystwyth) Craig, 8; 6, P. Williams (Treuddyn) Meg, 10. Session 2 (Gwynfor Owen)1, G. Lightfoot (Llandegla) Omega Mari, 8; 2, D. Davies (Abergynolwyn) Sali, 9 OLF; 3, Ll. Evans, Zac, 9; 4, G. Lightfoot, Omega Taff, 11; 5, E. L. Morgan, Nel, 12; 6, K. Schwarze (Prion) Dot, 14.
Trials diary - ENGLAND
April 29 and 30. EAST ANGLIAN, Open and Novice, Castle Rising, Norfolk, PE31 6AN, 8.30am start, entry closed, catering, enq to G. Baldry tel: 078818 02290.
May 1. CROPREDY, Open and Local, Thornby Farms, Thornby, Northants, 8am start, entry closed, enq to J. Aldridge tel: 07737 073714.
May 6. TRAWDEN, Spring Open, new venue, C. Taylor, Norden, signed from Austwick village, Settle, North Yorks, LA2 8DJ, 8am start, enter on field by 2pm, enq to C. Palmer tel 079323 18145.
May 13. YORKSHIRE, Open with Championship, Park House Farm, Elslack, Skipton, BD23 3AT, 8.30am start, enter on field by 1.30pm, max two dogs per handler.
May 13 and 14. ESCRICK PARK, Opens, Estate Office (on A19) Escrick Park Estate, Escrick, York, YO19 6EA, 9am start, enter on field, catering and toilet facilities, no entry restrictions.
April 28. GARNDOLBENMAEN A’R CYLCH, Dolwgan Isaf, Local class, Classes 3 and 4. Start 4pm, entry on field, contact M. Griffiths, tel: 01766 530 834/ 07876 552 285.
April 29. GARNDOLBENMAEN A’R CYLCH, Open national and Class 2, two sessions, catering, start 8am, contact M. Griffiths, tel: 01766 530 834/ 07876 552 285.
April 29. LLANGADOG AND DISTRICT, Old Racecourse Fields (on A4069 towards Llangadog) Two sessions, Open national, catering, start 7am, pre-entry, contact: C. Price, tel: 07815 289 410/ 01550 740 506. Eye testing at trial, contact: Claire Ridge, tel: 07773 192 283.
May 1. CWMDU, Bwlch, Open and Novice national, two sessions, catering, start 7:30am, contact C. Watkins, tel: 01874 711 609.
May 3. GLYNLLIFON, Cynnog Road, Caernarfon, LL54 5DU, Open national and Class 2, two sessions, enter on field, young handler class, catering, start 9am, contact N. Lloyd Davies, tel: 01286 830 261.
May 6. DYFFRYN NANTLLE VALE, Talysarn, LL54 6AU, Open national, two sessions, pre-entry, young handler class, catering, start 8am, contact B. Griffith, tel: 01286 880 088. Eye testing at trial.
May 6. ERWOOD, LD2 3PX, Open and Novice national, two sessions, enter on field catering, start 7:30am, contact A. Rees, tel: 01982 560 336/ 07817 707 621.
May 7. ERWOOD, Local class 14-mile radius, start 2pm.
May 13. FELINDRE, Pantycaragle Farm, LD7 1YE, Open and Novice national, two sessions, enter on field, catering, start 7am, contact K. Haker, tel: 01597 840 453.
May 14. BALA, Rhiwlas Estate, LL23 7NP, Open and Novice national, two sessions, enter on field, young farmers’ class, catering, start 8am, contact D. Williams, tel: 01678 520 853.