As usual, The CLA Game Fair Gundog Internationals produced exciting competitions. On the first day, the Aigle Euro Challenge, judged by Robin Wise and Graham Cox, was a tremendous success with teams from the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the UK. The standard was excellent over the course of rough grass, a jump and a water retrieve, with no fewer than 27 awards of full marks, 20/20.
The UK Team of Jennie Hankey with Ardmuir Mouse Fair, Sara Gadd with FTCh Mansengreen Diesel of Birdsgreen and Mike Tallamy with Brindlebay Butler, all Labradors, with 92 marks each, achieved a total of 276 out of 300 to win. Germany came second with 262 marks, Austria third with 261 and Italy fourth with 254. Hungary, competing at the Game Fair for the first time, was fifth with a very creditable 250. Switzerlands Werner Haag with golden retriever bitch A Blizzard Op De Bartlet, was highest individual with 95/100.
The International Team Competition between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales was eagerly awaited, particularly as the fair had been cancelled last year, and the large stand was full on both days.
The spaniels were judged by Roger Tozer and Jim McConnell, with great emphasis on hunting. Dogs were asked to hunt up until a dummy was thrown ahead, the retrieve causing little difficulty, followed by a pigeon flush from some brashings, dogs to stop hunting and watch it away. The second test was a water retrieve, which was extremely welcome in the really hot weather, and the third was a walk-up with a mark behind but dogs sent first for a blind ahead over the fence then for the one behind.
Simon Tyers for England, with the only cocker running, FTCh Timsgarry Simpson, received a very creditable 91/100 marks with a magnificent 59 out of 60 for hunting.
The retrievers in the afternoon, judged by John Castle and John Lees, were outstanding, requiring eight retrieves in all. David Lathams 96/100 with FTCh Mediterian Blue remained unbeaten to the end even the tricky retrieve across the river to the far bank caused no bother.
On Sunday the spaniels produced the highest score of the competition Adrian Slater for England, with Kipperidge Wandas 98/100, was quite an achievement.
The afternoons retrievers were startling in their efficiency, requiring a run-off for second highest between Annette Clarke, Jamie Bettinson and Billy Steel Jnr., all with 95 marks, Billy Steel prevailing.
His Grace the Duke of Marlborough kindly presented the prizes. In first place was Team Scotland with 909; second Ireland 899; third England 898.
Highest Team of Spaniels: Scotland, 453. Best Spaniel: Englands Adrian Slater with Kipperidge Wanda. Best Hunting Spaniel: Scotlands Billy Leonard with Buccleuch Amber.
Highest Team of Retrievers: England, with 463. Best Retriever: Englands David Latham with FTCh Mediterian Blue. Best Marking Retriever: Waless Jamie Bettinson with FTCh Lavenghyl.