Inter Club Working Test
The GRC had the honour of hosting the Inter Club Working Test on 15th June 2003 at Holway, Cattistock, Dorset, by very kind permission of June & Robert Atkinson.
The Golden Retriever Inter Club competition has run annually since it's inception in 1979 (except for 2001 due to the F&M outbreak) when there were but 5 Golden Retriever Clubs. Today that number stands at 13 with each club taking turns to host the event.
This year the GRC felt incredibly privileged to have been invited, by Mrs June Atkinson & her son Robert to run this competition at the home of their famous working Goldens with the HOLWAY affix.
Mrs June Atkinson has been successfully campaigning her Holway Goldens for over 50 years and is undoubtedly the heart and driving force behind the progress and recognition of today's working Golden. Robert followed in his Mother's footsteps by winning the prestigious IGL Retriever Championship 30 years after her.
The GRC are extremely grateful to the 6 judges and the many helpers who gave up their time to make the day such a success.
Of the 13 Clubs, 10 were represented.
These were (in alphabetical order)
Berkshire Downs & Chilterns Golden Retriever Club
Eastern Counties Golden Retriever Club
The Golden Retriever Club
Golden Retriever Club of Northumbria
Golden Retriever Club of Wales
Midland Golden Retriever Club
Northern Golden Retriever Association
Southern Golden Retriever Society
South Western Golden Retriever Club
Yorkshire Golden Retriever Club

GRC FT Secretary Gwen Knox welcomed the teams and spectators and explained the format for the day.

Each team would undergo 6 tests which had been devised by June Atkinson, Ken Chandler & Judith Evans.

The judges for the test were
Mrs Margaret Allen
Mrs Judith Evans
Mr John Jones
Mr Roy Burns
Mr Robin Watson
Mrs Judy Hendry, (who kindly stepped in at the last minute to replace Mr Dick Downing who was unable to attend.)
Each test under the supervision of one of the judges had two components; one for the Novice dogs and a more difficult one for the Open dogs.
Test 1 was a team test with two seen dummies and two unseen 'runners' with the team deciding who went for what. (Those who forgot that the runners were retrieved first were heavily penalised)

Test 2 was a walk-up with each getting a seen retrieve in the first field, although the dummy fell in rushes and thick grass so no retrieve was easy. After passing through the hedge two dummies were dropped by the thrower and as the team walked on a dummy was thrown for the novice dog to retrieve, but before that could be retrieved the open dog was sent back for the unseen behind and downhill to the right.
The lay of the ground meant that for some of the time the dog was out of sight of the handler and errors crept in. After the unseen had been retrieved the seen was retrieved by the novice dog. This was then repeated for the second pair.

Test 3. was a seen in thick rushes followed by an unseen behind for the novice dogs and a longer seen in front followed by an unseen at right angles along the line for the open dogs but with a deep water filled ditch between dog and dummy.

Test 4. there was a long walk to this test. Here the novice dogs had a seen thrown into a small river, the dogs saw the splash but could not see the dummy. When this had been retrieved the open dog was sent for a retrieve across the river and some yards back. This must have been more difficult for the earlier teams for there was thick cover for the dogs to negiotiate before reaching the river. For the later ones there was a track for them to follow.

Test 5. was a seen in front followed by a seen behind into a pond for the novice dogs and an unseen in front with a seen behind in the pond for the open dogs. Again the cover in front was thick.

Test 6 was again a team effort with points being awarded for each dummy retrieved and some for team effort. Two dummies were thrown in uncut grass/reeds in which the dogs were mostly out of sight of the handlers, and collected by the novice dogs and then the team had to collect a further four dummies in the grass - there was a time limit.
One of the dogs successfully completing his task.
During the lunch break a scurry and welly wanging competition took place.
Competitors waiting their turn at the scurry
An enthusiastic return put June Atkinson's dog into 2nd place
Scurry Results

1. Ralph Pitafield with Bramble (22.8 secs)

2. June Atkinson with Volley (23.5 secs)

3. Toby Mann with Bisto (25 secs)

Welly Wanging Results

Best Male ~ Robin Watson

Best Female ~ Jane Hodgson

Guess The Weight of the Calf
Won by Miriam Fowler (with a guess of 113lb)
The Auction
Organised by Sarah Olner raised over £900
Many thanks to those who kindly donated prizes
GRC Committee members provided the refreshments & manned the raffle
At the end of the day the results were announced by Gwen Knox
and prizes were presented by Robert Atkinson
Pebbletoft Polka (B) Mrs A Wagland
Pebbletoft Lyric of Moscargrange (B) Mr S Crookes
Millrythe Adelaide of Moscargrange (B) Mrs A Crookes
Pebbletoft Chorus (B) Mr P Wagland
Top Scoring Dog (Open & Overall)
Castlemans Classic Fin (B) Ms S Crossland (GRCW)
Top Scoring Novice Dog
Haremire Apollo (D) Mr J Griggs (YGRC)
The GRC presented June Atkinson with a commemorative bench as a token of their appreciation
Finally Phil Wagland of the winning team proposed a vote of thanks.
The day ended with Gwen handing over the 'Inter Club File' rather like the Olympic torch to Midland GRC, the hosts for 2004.
The GRC Committee wish to express their grateful thanks to all the Field Trial Sub-Committee for their tireless work in organising this super event on their behalf.
All excess proceeds are to be donated to the Children's Hospice South West
Was there anyone who did not make the pilgrimage to Holway for the Inter-Club Working Test on Sunday 16th June at Holway, Dorset? If so they missed a day to remember! In fact, a weekend as most people travelled down the day before and met up at the Crown in Cattistock for a most enjoyable evening.
The day itself was memorable for many reasons. Firstly it was kindly hosted by June and Robert Atkinson on Holway ground - the undisputed mecca of the working Golden Retriever world; secondly, the weather was as near perfect as it could be - especially for those camping in the top field; and thirdly we were graced with the presence of most of the Golden Retriever Club Committee, both for the dinner and for the event itself. And despite the inevitable show versus working banter, it was a great pleasure to be, as it were, a united body for this very special event.
Organised with her usual efficiency by Gwen Knox with a huge input from Sara Olner who, amongst other things, arranged a very successful auction, and with fascinating side shows such as the welly wanging competition and guess the weight of the calf, it was, in the words of Dick Bridges himself, 'a truly cracking event' which will undoubtedly go down in the Club annals as one of the 'greats'.
No less than ten teams from all over the country, each of four dogs, two novice, two open, took part and the ground, which lends itself so superbly to all the requirements of a Working Test, provided some interesting and challenging scenarios, all of which could be viewed as typical shooting field situations.
The teams were split into two groups starting opposite sides of the lane and swapping over after lunch. Fortunately the stream flowed through both sides allowing plenty of opportunity for dogs to cool down between tests.
The atmosphere throughout the day was happy and relaxed and everyone seems to have greatly enjoyed themselves. In such beautiful surroundings and with such perfect conditions it would have been difficult not to and many thanks are due to June, Robert and family for all their help and fantastic hospitality not only over that weekend but over all the previous weeks of planning and preparation; to Gwen, Sarah and Judy for excellent organisation and smooth running; to Ken Chandler, family and friends who came down en masse from Sussex to provide guns, dummy throwers etc.; to Jean Dilloway for her out of this world cakes at the end of the day; to all who helped out in so many different ways - and last but by no means least, to all those people who travelled so far to compete and in doing so made this a very special occasion indeed