avid Lissett’s gutsy little bitch, Ft. Ch. Edwardiana Tweed, proved herself to be a cut above the rest - gaining a well deserved victory in the 28th running of the Irish Kennel Club’s Championship Stake for Any Variety Spaniel.
Held over two days - Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th December 2003 - on the beautiful Clandeboye Estate, Co. Down, North Ireland, Tweed’s victory brought to a conclusion two of the very highest quality days of spaniel trialling seen for some years.
Superlatives and exaggerated expressions of praise such as: tremendous, terrific and superb are often banded about to describe events such as these. Hyperbole, rhetoric, embellishments, and statements exaggerated fancifully through excitement are found to be the case when reflecting on memorable occasions. Oftimes, these expressive remarks carry with them a hollow ring!
The 28th running of the Irish Kennel Club’s A.V. Spaniel Championship was not to be one of these!
This Championship was first class!
From the organisational skills of Spaniel Secretary, Vinnie Cauldwell, to the on the spot care and attention to detail of Chief Steward, Jim Gaughran, to the service and backup from the Judges’ Stewards, Bill Joyce and Frank Touhy. The stewardship of Tom Shiels, Anthony Smith, Colm Ryan and Sam Polley designated to Number Board duty and the Crowd Control stewards. Last, but certainly by no means least, Barry Garvan, Steward of the Beat, the Headkeeper and his team at Clandeboye Estate who has superbly readied the ground and guaranteed a perfect supply of game, and the superb standard of spaniel work on show, the entire Championship ran with consummate clockwork.
Temperatures of -4 to -5.5 greeted those that gathered on the first morning, but did little to blunt the enthusiasm of both competitor and spectator - who all were looking forward to witnessing some high class spaniel work! None were to be disappointed! Frost and fog gave way to glorious winter sunshine accompanied by top class shooting from J. Agnew, T. Crothers, D. Barr, S. Lee and B. Garvan, who shot intelligently throughout the entire trial, selecting birds to give every spaniel opportunity to show it’s worth.
Heartfelt thanks must go out to the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava whose kind permission gave the use of the beautiful sprawling estate of Clandeboye, allowing the championship to be staged.
Game was in abundance, but not in mass flushes as is often seen, rather a very reliable and steady supply of game was the order of the day. Barry Garvin and his behind the scenes team have to be highly commended for putting on such a fine display; a display which went a long way into making this Championship the success it ultimately has been.
Varying forms of cover had to be dealt with throughout the two days, ranging from light brash to heavy bamble… to rhododendron… to ivy laden woods. Although difficult at times, the organisers did their very best; safety taking precedence, to permit the following crowd of spectators every opportunity to see the dogs work.
Judges trusted with assessing the dogs over the two days were Mr. Ralph Edwards (Wales), who had judged last year’s British championship, and Mr. Ken Lindsay (N. Ireland). Referee on duty was Mr. Dennis Porter (S. Ireland). It has to be said that both judges were seen to judge in a very positive manner, giving every opportunity to show off their talent and ability.
Twenty-four bitches and eleven dogs vied for the coveted 1st prize over the two days, with bitches exclusively filling the first four positions.
Kicking off the Championship proper were dog no.1, Mr. J. Butler’s English springer spaniel bitch, Garrigaunroe Bushwacker (Castlemagner Butler x Carrigaunroe Fizz). Quickly getting a find and retrieve on her first run, she was accompanied on the far side by dog no.2, Mr. M. Walsh’s ESS dog, Ft. Ch. Namore Barney (Ft. Ch. Trawsgoed Lad of Caldyview x Tessa of Kilgrain). Sadly, Barney eventually was eliminated through an eyewipe.
Following on from that was dog no.3, Mr. J. King’s ESS, Forhawns Bertie (Ft. Ch. Webbswood Twist x Baildonian Roxy), and no.4, Mr. J. Rock’s English springer spaniel bitch, Emma of Tinglecreek (Birdrowe Ruben x Birdrowe Jenny). Emma also fell by the wayside through an eyewipe.
Next into the line was dog no.5, Mr. W. Edgar’s very pacy dog, Iced Prince (Ft. Ch. Toonarmy Tirator of Snailsden x Swallowlaw Firefly), who hunted hard. He had a fairly long run under Ken Lindsay, the Irish judge. He’s always a dog who puts every effort into his hunting.
Mr. I. Shepherd’s and Miss L. J. Bowman’s no.6 ESS dog, Int. Ft. Ch. Cheweky Treestump of Cundallhill (Ft.Ch.Kenine Robb of Rytex x Rytex Rue), who was last seasons Irish championship winner, was the next dog in and seemed to have a very good run.
Following on from this was no.7, Mr. C. Norris’ English springer spaniel bitch, Pennyghent Pansy (Ft. Ch. Kettlestang Comet x Spenclough Milly of Pennyghent), who had a fine run with multiple finds and retrieves.
Continuing on under the judge was dog no.8, Mr. D. H. Lissett’s English springer spaniel bitch, Ft. Ch. Toonarmy Top Tip (Ft. Ch. Trawsgoed Lad of Caldyview x Ft. Ch. Megstone Belle in Toonarmy). Top Tip had a fine first under the first judge. However, while going extremely well towards the conclusion of her second run impressing onlookers, blotted her copybook and was eliminated. Unfortunate, as many discriminating "judges" felt this bitch had to be "Well there!"
One animal which certainly caught the eye was Dog no.9. Mr. D. Hickenson’s ESS dog, the very hard hunting Edwardiana Tay (Ft. Ch. Laganmill Malvern x Ft. Ch. Toonarmy Torrent), was handled very ably by Mr. A. Patterson, was the next dog in. This dog hits cover vigorously and with purpose showing no fear of any form. Hunted hard and continuously, he had his finds and retrieves during a fairly longish first run. A very good run from a very good looking spaniel.
Next spaniel to be eliminated was dog no.10, Mr. E. Ming’s English springer spaniel bitch, Tygore Fly of Gola (Birdrowe Wizard x Necterine Nell), through a failed retrieve.
Dog no.11, Mr. P. J. Davitt’s ESS bitch, Monalue Cherry Blossom, (Ft. Ch. Steadroc Sker x Ft. Ch. Monalue Elderberry Lady), was next in under the judge. She was followed by dog no. 12, Mr. R. Young’s ESS bitch, Edwardiana Tawny ( Ft. Ch. Clarburg Art x Ft. Ch. Toonarmy Torrent). Not very long in under the Welsh judge, Ralph Edwards, it was indicated that Tawny had passed a rabbit. Going really well at the time and looking very stylish, this talented young bitch was unfortunately eliminated, much to the dismay of her handler!
Moving along to fresh ground, the next dog under the judge was no. 13, Mr. D. McKeeman’s ESS bitch, Kenmar Una (Ft. Ch. Anahoe Dusty x Ft. Ch. Kenmar Melissa). She was followed by dog no.14, Mr. M. Walsh’s fine imposing ESS dog, Taffslad of Poleberry, (Ft. Ch. Bramble Taff x Bridevalley Renata), who had quite a solid run with finds and retrieves.
Mr. D. Lissett’s terrific little bitch, no.15, Ft. Ch. Edwardiana Tweed, (Ft. Ch. Laganmill Malvern x Ft. Ch. Toonarmy Torrent) was the next spaniel under the judge. It was obvious from the commencement of her first run, that this was a bitch - barring any mishaps within the body of the stake - who was going to figure prominently. Very flashy, with a lot of drive, extremely prompt to every command, well handled, this was a spaniel that was tuned to the minute. Several good finds and effortless retrieves seen her well there.
She capped off her second run on the first day with a super eyewipe over a distance of ice-filled water, when Mr. P. McMahon’s ESS bitch (no.31), Clonduff Falcon of Cordberry (Int. Ft. Ch. Millshadow Aster x Popeshall Lass), could not be persuaded to handle out far enough in water. Brought across for a prospective eyewipe, Tweed made her way across and through part of the frozen lake, breaking ice on her way. She handled upwind from the bird, took a draw, and made her way back through the ice, again. For a heart stopping moment, it seemed that the ice had gotten hold of her, but she showed her guts and size of heart - and retrieved readily to her no doubt proud handler. A well deserved round of applause rang around the trial ground from an appreciative watching gallery! This retrieve impressed many, particularly the judges, as she was awarded the Carthageinne Perpetual Trophy for the Best Retrieve Of the Championship.
Mr. P. Taylor’s no.16 English springer spaniel bitch, Cloughcor Lass (Glencarw Lotte x Kenmar Lass), was another who had some fine runs. Hard going, with a lot of drive and pace, she had two good finds and retrieves on rabbits.
Running on the second day, she was brought across for a possible eyewipe against Ft. Ch. Whitehope Loughangel, who was just fresh into her run when asked to retrieve a very difficult bird. Finding it hard to handle and move Loughangel to the area necessary, Cloughcor Lass was brought across from the far side. Hunting energetically and purposefully for the hen bird, another cock was shot whilst she was on her retrieve. Handled out to the area in search of the hen, Cloughcor Lass sadly returned with the cock! Very unfortunate… as this was a bitch who seemed to be well there, and who had held sound claims of placing .
Other spaniels running which could not be seen were Mr. W. Chambers’ (no19) ESS bitch, Hillside Bramble (Int. Ft. Ch. Millshadow Aster x Sally’s Secret) and Mr. G. Veasey’s (no.21) ESS bitch, Bracken Snaffle (Int. Ft. Ch. Laganmill Maestro x Keness Rosa).
Miss S. Keehan’s ESS bitch, Rosstina Scamp (Prothallium Flex x Christina’s Choice Again), was no.17 and handled by Mr. J. Keeshan. She was going well in her run, when unfortunately, being held down to allow another dog to complete it’s retrieve, moved in and was eliminated.
Moving on to work a head wind was Mr. D. Lissett’s (no.20) Ft. Ch. Annickview Anna (Ft. Ch. Steadroc Sker x Rytex Ricicles).Working along a wooded edge, Anna put up a polished performance. Akin to the winner, Tweed, Anna - although small in stature - was extremely polished and demonstrated her undoubted ability, with positive finds and unhandled retrieves.
The next dog to be seen was Mr. M. Stewart’s (no.22) Kristy’s Moor (Ft. Ch. Anahoe Dougie of Drumross x Limehill Buzzard). Casting off under the Welsh judge, Kristy’s Moor showed purpose in his hunting as he worked out a thick patch of bramble and creeping briar. Showing good drive, the dog could not contain himself, and was eliminated for retrieving a freshly shot bird without prompting!
Mr. I. Wilson’s (no26, ESS) dog, Keeperscourt Dancing Brave (Int. Ft. Ch. Rytex Ruffer of Tasco x Wyndhill Regale), started his first run in a heavy patch of bramble growing along a steep banking which bordered a deep drain. Moving purposefully, the dog lost his footing and dropped into water. Eventually moving along, he had a very good find on a bird, which he retrieved effortlessly.
Two spaniels which could not have failed to catch the eye of the judges were Mr. J. McAdams’(no.27) ESS bitch, Ft. Ch. Flowbog Wisp (Ft. Ch. Clarburg Art x Anahoe Ena), handled by Mr. D. Kelly, and Mr. K. McCrossan’s (no.28) ESS dog, Kenmar Ulick (Ft. Ch. Anahoe Dusty x Ft. Ch. Kenmar Melissa).
Flowbog Wisp put up a very polished performance with fast, pacy, head down, getting under cover action. Obviously well schooled, and readied Wisp put up a highly creditable performance with positive finds and effortless retrieves. The owner and handler could not have failed to be happy with her runs on the first day.
K. McCrossan’s youngish dog, Kenmar Ulick, showed that he was a dog with a future ahead of him. His hunting ability could not be hid as he displayed drive and pace coupled with style and a good degree of handling ability. He had a good find on a bird, was handled slightly some way out to the fall in an open field, readily found and retrieved.
Whispers began to circulate that this young dog had a terrific day, and had to be in the reckoning. Sadly for all his supporters, almost to the conclusion of his runs, the dog moved to chase on a rabbit while hunting out a punishing pile of bramble. Certainly this is a dog to remember for the future!
Micky Walsh’s consistent dog (no.30, ESS) Ft. Ch. Bramble Taff (Ft. Ch. Laganmill Malvern x Beanhill Titterington) always puts his best foot forward. Giving 100% as always, Taff tore up cover with excellent application. Responsive to his handler at all times, he had a good positive find, which he retrieved readily from across an open field. Taff put up his usual expected fine effort throughout the two day Championship.
Mr. P. McMahon’s (no.31) English springer spaniel dog, Clonduff Falcon (Int. Ft. Ch. Millshadow Aster x Popeshall Lass), was going through his paces alongside the lake edge. A bird was shot, which fell some way out into water. Falcon could not be persuaded far enough out into water and was eyewiped when Edwardiana Tweed was brought across.
Mr. P. Mc Mahon’s (no.32, ESS) dog, Int. Ft. Ch. Millshadow Aster (Ft. Ch. Kenine Robb of Rytex x Int. Ft. Ch. Phillip’s Girl), a previous winner of the championship, took his place under the judge. He showed fine drive and application. However, he was overcome by the excitement of the moment and broke.
Another spaniel to be eliminated was dog no.33., Mr. G. V. Ford’s ESS, Clangregor Cronan (Int. Ft. Ch. Laganmill Maestro x Toonarmy Tasgaigh). Failing on a retrieve, the bitch was eliminated through being eyewiped.
One particularly eye catching spaniel to run over the two days was dog no.34, Mr. D. Kyle’s ESS, Perdita’s Prize ( Ft. Ch. Kenine Robb of Rytex x Finknottle Fantasy). She is a really nice hunting animal, who showed a lot of style and pace coupled with vigorous hunting ability. Well schooled by her handler, she had several good positive finds and good retrieves on the first day.
The remaining two spaniels to run on the first day were no.35, Mr. N. Blakeney’s ESS bitch, Skronedale Felicity (Int. Ft. Ch. Laganmill Maestro x Int. Ft. Ch. Phillip’s Girl), whose runs I was unable to catch. And finally, dog no.36, Mr. M. Mckinstry’s ESS bitch, Popeshall Lass (Ft. Ch. Anahoe Ernie x Ft. Ch. Laganmill Pansy), handled by Mr. Damien Kelly.
The second day of the championship saw the crowd of spectators swell greatly - with many having traveled long distances to see for themselves some fantastic spaniel work. Weather again kept around zero, but conditions kept dry throughout, until reaching the water test, where the first drops of rain fell.
Kicking off day two were (no.23) Mr. J. McNamee’s Forestmay Pearl and Mr. M. Walsh’s Taffs Lad of Poleberry. Both dogs had fine runs, yet again. Both were to come away from this championship with well deserved Diplomas.
Both Mr. P. Taylor’s Cloughcor Lass and Mr. P. Dyson’s Ft. Ch. Whitehope Loughangel fell by the wayside; the former through retrieving the wrong bird when brought across to search out a short strip of wood - and the latter for failing on the initial bird.
David Lissett’s bitch, Annickview Anna, began her second run along the back edge of a small wood. Having another terrific run, she had several good positive finds on woodcock - some seeming difficult retrieves, which she made look a dawdle, and took with infinite ease. Another polished performance from both dog and handler who seemed to be very much in tune with one another.
Mr I. Wilson’s Keeperscourt Dancing Brave’s next run demanded that he hunt some heavy patches of briars, which he took to with ease. A flush on a rabbit, which was shot at and made it to the burrow, gave the inspecting judge, Ken Lindsay a fruitless search. Hunted on, Brave showed his style and application with good pattern. Eventually, another rabbit was shot by the right side gun. Brave was offered the retrieve, which he made without fuss.
Mr. McAdam’s Flowbog Wisp, handled by Damien Kelly, presently was having a very good run - yet again, along side a stone wall. Showing a lot of style and drive - and as usual, under super control - she had her finds and retrieve, capping things off with a first class run.
Micky Walsh’s Bramble Taff had a fairly long unproductive run. Moving into a more open and bare wooded area, birds were, for once, hard to find. Taff hunted with his usual lust for life, and eventually came up with the goods - producing a fine bird which he made light work of retrieving back to his handler. Not the run that Taff needed to figure in the major awards, nevertheless, covering himself in glory with a highly creditable Diploma for his efforts over the two days.
Mr. Kyle’s Perdita’s Prize had another great run. Showing some fast polished hunting, she had two good positive finds in quick succession which she made light work of retrieving.
Finishing off the final day was Mr. S. McKinstry’s Popeshall Lass. Handled superbly, as always, by Damien Kelly, she again showed the polish of the first day, with some very pacy, athletic hunting, eventually getting her find and retrieve.
The championship had finished. Both judges retired to mark up their books on what had been a memorable championship marked by some top-class spaniel work, polished handling, positive judging and articulate attention to detail by those whose task was to make the championship run as smoothly and as effortlessly as it did.
Whispers abounded as to who had won. Most knowledgeable onlookers were not too far off the mark when a call went up for a run off between Mr. Lissett’s fine bitch Ft. Ch. Edwardiana Tweed and Mr. J. Mc Adam’s Ft. Ch. Flowbog Wisp.
Taken some distance to a fresh piece of open wooded ground, both bitches were cast off against one another. Very little could be seen between both spaniels in the run off. Referee Dennis Porter was called across by the judges to assist in the decision making.
Various dogs were called to the water test, where all were given a single retrieve and proved their adequacy in taking to water.
The prize giving threw up few surprises.
Ken Lindsay, the Irish judge officiating on the day, in his summing up of the championships could not speak highly enough of the work undertaken by the staff at the Clandeboye Estate, and in particular, headkeeper Barry Garvin, who put on a superb show of game. This had been a championship that had run like clockwork from beginning to end.
The Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava graciously assisted in the prize giving, which were as follows:
- 1st place: Mr D Lissett’s, essb, Ft. Ch. Edwardiana Tweed Awarded the J McGrath Perpetual Cup and the Cathageinne Perpetual Trophy for The Best Retrieve of the Championship plus the Chubby Williams Memorial Perpetual Prize, given as the Guns’ Award to the Spaniel the Guns most enjoyed shooting over.
- 2nd place: Mr J McAdams’ essb, Ft. Ch. Flowbog Wisp Awarded the Parkmaple Perpetual Trophy for Second Place and the R McElhinney Perpetual Cup awarded to the Best Irish Dog
- 3rd place: Mr D Lissett’s, essb, Ft. Ch. Annickview Anna Awarded the J McKenna Perpetual Trophy for Third Place
- 4th place: Mr S McKinstry’, essb, Popeshall Lass Awarded the Cretoka Perpetual Trophy for Fourth Place
The Eastern Region Army Game Perpetual Cup was awarded to Mr A Calvin, breeder of Ft. Ch. Flowbog Wisp, as the breeder resident in Ireland - the produce of whose kennel placed highest in the Championship.
The Duisk Perpetual Cup was awarded to Mr M Walsh for most points accumulated in Field Events under Irish Kennel Club Rules during 2003
- Mr J King’s Forhawns Bertie
- Mr W Edgar’s Iced Prince
- Mr I Shepherd’s Cheweky Treestump of Cundallhall
- Mr D Hickenson’s Edwardiana Tay (handled by Mr A Patterson)
- Mr M Walsh’s Taffs Lad of Poleberry
- Mr G Veasey’s Bracken Snaffle
- Mr J McNamee’s Forestmay Pearl
- Mr I Wilson’s Keeperscourt Dancing Brave
- Mr M Walsh’s Bramble Taff
- Mr D Kyle’s Perdita’s Prize