The England team duly arrived at the Hilton Hotel in Newbury on Friday and the first
priority was to find shade for the dogs as there had been a dramatic change in the weather.
The temperature was now in the high 20`s – a huge change from the previous blog!
In the evening we attended a `Meet the Teams` dinner where each team was introduced
and given an engraved crystal glass by Skinners as a delightful memento of the event. It was
a great opportunity to catch up with friends old and new.
The judges this year were Heather Bradley – England, Mark Bettinson – Wales, Nigel Carville
– Ireland, Gereon Ting – Germany, and Tom West – England. Between them they have a
vast wealth of knowledge and experience of this prestigious event for retrievers.
Sixteen teams stepped up to the challenge:-
Sweden, Finland, Scotland, Austria, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, England,
Wales, Hungary, Holland, France, Italy and Switzerland. All teams ran 4 dogs and completed
5 tests each day. The tests had been ably set by Peter Castleman; the consensus being that
they were the best ever. Such a wide variety of obstacles on challenging ground taxed both
dog and handler.
At the end of the first day all attended the Skinner`s Gala Dinner. Such a lovely and
amazing event with some countries sporting national dress. Everyone eagerly awaited the
announcement of which team was in the lead after the first day. The England team were
delighted to be ahead by 17 points. Would that be enough – only time would tell!
The second day dawned bright and hot. You could feel the excitement and tension in the air.
Team Captain John Halstead, did a brilliant job of keeping our nerves in check and keeping
us on the straight and narrow. To much delight, all England dogs went even better on the
second day, each dog achieving at least one perfect score. But was it enough? Word was
that other teams had gone really well too.
When all 10 tests had been completed everyone assembled in the main arena of Highclere
Country Fair. The England Team wore the superb Regatta coats into the ring with Captain
John Halstead waving the England flag. With 64 dogs in the arena, it was quite a sight.
Silence fell as the announcements were made. It was a great moment for us when it was
announced that England had won!
First – England with 700 points
Second – Holland with 674 points
Third – Austria with 662 points
So England had won the coveted Skinner`s World Cup. They managed to extend their lead
from the conclusion of the first day – no mean feat. The icing on the cake was that England
also had the overall top dog in any team – Brendan Kelly with Ravenstar Dillon. It was
Brendan`s first time running for England and he did the team and himself proud.
The other teams were gracious in defeat and lots of congratulations were bestowed upon
England. Then it was the long treck home for everyone. What a weekend it had been; great
camaraderie and sportsmanship of the highest order in this Jubilee and Olympic year.
Well done to all. Once again the team would very much like to thank Regatta for their very
generous sponsorship. The clothes certainly made the England team look the part in this
prestigious event as the photos testify.
Our thanks must also go to Skinners for their amazing support in the 11th year of this
The England Team:
David Latham – FT CH Delfleet Neon of Fendawood
Nicola Rudgard – Waterford Featherman
Brendan Kelly – Ravenstar Dillon
Lee Hartis – FT CH Lowforge Aragon of Leacaz
Mark Demaine – FT CH Calderhey Adder – Reserve