Fri, Mar 22, 2024 12:00 PM

Top dog teams’ skill nets place in nationals


Eloise Martyn

Recently the Awatere Dog Trial Club, near Seddon in the Marlborough District, hosted the annual Farmlands Centre Championships at the Westenra’s family farm in the Awatere Valley.

There are eleven Dog Trial clubs in the Top of the South region, each hosting an annual event in late summer. The Farmlands Centre Championship event rotates between these clubs and creates a step up in the competition as it culminates in a high-pressure runoff between the top five dog and owner teams to achieve the highest aggregate score. Each of the five finalists automatically qualifies for entry at the National event held in May.

“To qualify for National’s at the other events requires multiple good performances, as you have to accrue enough points,” Awatere Dog Trial Club president Sam Lunn explains.

“There were local contestants, some from Canterbury and some from as far as the central North Island that came to compete in the hopes of booking their spot at National’s”.

Dog Trial Club legend Paul Kemp, with dog Clunk, who placed 5th in Event 2; Short Head & Yard at the recently held Farmlands Centre Championships at the Westenra’s family farm in the Awatere Valley. Photo: Scott Archbold

“It was a great couple of days with the sheep working very well making for a very high standard of runs, with 15 out of the 20 finalists being local Marlborough/Nelson competitors we were very happy,” Sam explains.

Treasurer of Flaxbourne Dog Trials, located on Marlborough’s east coast, Tahi Doonan was a competitor in the Farmlands Centre Championships.

“The Awatere Club has really stepped it up this year. The courses and the sheep were well presented which is great because it gives us our best shot at competing fairly,” Tahi says smiling.

“The Centre Championships are a great taste of what’s involved, and the type of pressure you get in the bigger more prestigious competitions.”

Experienced dog trialist and local farmer Tahi Doonan, with dog Ash, won first place in the Zig-Zag Hunt event at the recently held Farmlands Centre Championships at the Westenra’s family farm in the Awatere Valley. Photo: Scott Archbold

The Championships is a big community event that is only possible because of the support from members and locals.

“A special thanks to our club members who contributed a huge amount of time over the period leading up to the event as well as Kate Shadbolt, Pip Lunn, and the team in the Kitchen for feeding more than a hundred people over the two days and our major local sponsors  HBC Contracting, Ngaio Downs Contracting, Brackenfeild Angus, Marlborough Helicopters, Gills Construction, Rural Livestock and all our other silver sponsors which are too numerous to mention; I can’t stress how important it is to a small community event like this,” Sam says seriously.

Sam also says the Westenra family, where the event was hosted, and other landowners who supported the event had made a huge contribution by offering the use of their land and livestock for the event.

“It’s a huge commitment for these families and is much appreciated, especially during a season of such trying conditions like we are having this year,” Sam explains “It was a great couple of days, and the success of the event and the support we have received has really given the Awatere club a real buzz.”

Event winners:  Event 1: Long Head - Bruce Horton & Larnie, Event 2: Short Head & Yard - Mark Copland & Don, Event 3: Zig-Zag Hunt - Tahi Doonan & Ash, Event 4:  The Straight Hunt - George Shield & Noise

Marlborough App Logo
Marlborough App
Marlborough App is owned by Top South Media. a locally owned media company.