When the White Rose Bloomed Again
The 2002 BSA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Venue Horsfall Athletic Stadium Bradford.
Judge Herr Werner Rapien SV
Tracklayers Ian James BSA and Michael Naisbit BSA
Helpers Thorseten Holzkamper SV and Kevin Sullivan BSA
On Sunday 20th October 2002, The White Rose Club came to the fore once again with their third National winner in the form of Richard James and Jet. Richard led the way throughout the trial finishing with a magnificent, never bettered, score of 288, a clear ten points ahead of his nearest rival. You will have to forgive my biased enthusiasm but, having been privy to Jets training since she was a seven weeks old pup, I am obviously delighted for my long-standing friend and club chairman, Richard James.
However, the result was the end of the national, for the full story we must return to Saturday the 19th, where 16 anxious competitors gathered at Malkin Wood Farm, Boothstown, ready for the tracking draw, which would help to decide this year’s national winner. The weather was ideal with a slight covering of frost, and the tracking fields had just the right amount of growth. Our Judge for this prestigious event was Herr Werner Rapien Sv, who is a serving police officer and an instructor at the dog training school in Stuckenbrock.
To ensure complete fairness, the competitors drew lots to decide which group of six they would be in and then, again, after the tracks were laid they drew lots again, to decide the tracking order. This seemed to work well and the first competitor to present himself was Eric Robert, who proceeded to set the standard for the day with a 96 and an excellent. Christine Hines, who has in the past produced several 100pt tracks, was drawn number three. Unfortunately, a missed last article and several mistakes on the track reduced her score to 87.
On that note, for some reason, there were a total of five dogs that missed one or more articles, and, as an article is worth 6 or 7 points depending where it is on the track, it is too many points to lose in top-flight competition.
The next few competitors had mixed fortunes, with a couple of failures. Eric’s second dog, which started the track well, decided it would sooner chase mice than track. Which resulted in a disqualification. Phil Kenyons dog tracked from the start, like an express train, refusing to stop at the required stations, namely the articles, which again, proved very costly. We did not see another excellent score until, Dougie Bannerman, who ran, in tenth spot, had a very good track with some minor checks on the first two corners, and a slightly bigger problem on the third, and fourth corners but still produced a creditable 96 excellent.
With 96 being the score to beat, Richard and Jet, who had drawn number 14, presented themselves to the judge who, as he had with all the competitors, wished them the best of luck. From the start of the track, the dog applied herself, tracking with concentration and an intense deep nose, which is the sort of picture that every judge and competitor wants to see. On reaching the first article she was a little slow in going down but the article indication was very correct, on resuming the track, she had a little check, where a hare had just run across the track. She had a slight check on the second corner and, again, a very slight check on the third corner. Her article indication was correct on all three articles and her speed, during the track was consistent, which is very important in order to achieve good points. She finished the track with a cracking 98 pts and an excellent performance, giving her a two-point lead on the other competitors.
At the end of a very successful day, there were thirteen qualifiers and at least ten of these could, with luck, produce winning scores the following day.
Ian James and Michael Naisbit, who are both very experienced and capable tracklayers, laid all tracks. For which we thank them.
Sunday morning arrived and with the weathermen predicting a very wet and blustery day, we arrived at the Horsfall Athletic Stadium, which was to be our venue for the day. This is a first class stadium with a covered stand and, most importantly toilets; those of you who have been to the White Rose club will realize the luxury of such facilities!
It had previously been decided that the competitors would run in draw order, and again, in two groups of six, and a group of four.
I don’t know if Eric won or lost the draw but, again, he was the first to run, finishing his obedience with 90pts. Christine Hines ran next and, if she was to remain in contention after her disappointing track, she needed to pull out all the stops, which she did, managing a very good with 94 pts. There followed some good and very good obedience rounds during the trial but Christine’s score held, right up until Richard James and Jet gave a very precise and correct performance, achieving a very good with 95 pts
In the first group’s protection phase, Christine, again, led the way with a very powerful performance giving her an excellent, with 97pts and a total score of 278
In Group two, there were, if history is anything to go by, at least five dogs that were capable of very good protection rounds but, unless a miracle happened, they could not equal Christine’s score.
There where three very good performances from Thomas Nye, Dougie Bannerman, and Stuart Nye but, due to a lot of extra commands and some inattention in the guarding phases, the best they could achieve, was Tom & Dougie on 93, and Stuart on 92, giving them all a total of 273, five points short of the 278 already achieved.
As group three prepared themselves for their protection rounds, there was great excitement in the stadium, as it was possible for at least three competitors to achieve or even better the leading score.
Paul Flanagan was first with his very powerful dog, Blaise, and with a combined tracking and obedience score of 182, he needed an excellent round and a score of 96 to equal the leader. Unfortunately, it was not to be, for in spite of a very strong performance, the dog decided to leave the helper during the hold and bark phase, losing a lot of points in the process He finished with a total score of 270.
By now the smart money was riding on Richard or Mike Baverstock, who needed only an 85 & 89 respectively to equal the lead score and, on a good day, both dogs were well capable of such a score. Richard ran first with an excellent, well-controlled hide search. We all knew that Jet’s weakest exercise was the hold and bark and, whilst the bark should have been more continuous and intense, she managed a grading of good. The rest of the round went like clockwork with the speed into the grip, and the grip itself, both fast and full. The outs were instant and very clean. With only minor point deductions in the guarding phase. The crowd waited with baited breath for the Judges critique, giving Richard and Jet a score of 95 and a wining total of 288. Whilst Mike still had to run, he needed an impossible score of 99 just to equal Richard. So for the third time in the history of the BSA, the National winner came from the White Rose. Christine held second place with 278, followed by Thomas with 273.
Kevin Sullivan, BSA did all the short work, testing all the dogs in a fair and consistent manner. Thorsten Holzkamper SV was the long work helper, who also tested all the dogs well. He had a slightly unusual style in that he was left handed and ran as fast as was possible towards the dog, taking the bite head on, then driving the dog to the right This had no effect on the dogs and most of them gripped full and firm. Thank you to both of them.
The White Rose would like to thank Werner for his very fair assessment of all the dogs. I would like to thank him for allowing me to accompany him. I learned a lot. Also, in spite of a very bad weather forecast, whilst it was very cold, we managed to complete the trial in very nearly dry conditions.
To run any trial, never mind an event as important has the BSA National, needs an army of willing volunteers and, whilst the judge, tracklayers, and helpers tend to get the recognition, behind the scenes are the members who never get a mention. In some case’s they don’t even work a dog, but never the less, give selflessly of their time, energy, and, in many cases, money, for which they get little or no recompense. So, on behalf of our club, I would like to thank them wholeheartedly for all their efforts. It would not be fair to name them in case I unintentionally left anyone out. But they know who they are. Thank you one and all.
We would also like to thank .the following for loan of equipment, without which we could not have managed.
- Stuart Nye, for the Hides
- Mike Baverstock, for the Hurdle
- Thomas Nye, for the Protection Equipment
For me, there were only two disappointments over the weekend, the first was the lack of catering facilities for which we, as a club apologies. We were let down at the last minute and we were unable to do anything about it and, secondly, “Where were all the spectators?” If the BSA National, the most prestigious event of the year, held at a central venue, cannot attract more than a sprinkling of spectators, what hope is there for the sport?
Finally, I would like to mention Caroline Robertson, who had to leave the sport to follow another love, but has unselfishly allowed Richard to work Jet, giving him, and our club, the success they deserve.
Non members / visitors must request permission to attend in advance of each session.
A training fee of £ 5.00 per person per session including tea/coffee
Chairperson: P James
Secretary: A Brooks
Treasurer: C M Spurr
Trainer: K Sullivan
Tuesday: 12:00pm till late
Sunday: 11:00am till late