It was smiles all round for team Scotland as they were named best overall team in the fourth annual Four Nations International Gundog Competition at the 32nd GWCT Scottish Game Fair, taking place from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September at Scone Palace, Perthshire.
Sponsored by Skinner’s dog food, the competition featured a new purpose-built 150m² arena, bringing together teams from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. Spaniels (three per team) competed in the morning and retrievers (three per team) in the afternoon. Each breed was tested on their ability to mark and retrieve. While England lost to Scotland in the retrievers category, failing to secure a third win in a row, Ireland managed to claim a second win for the spaniels following their victory in 2019. All teams took home rosettes, tankards, Skinner’s dog food vouchers plus bottles of Pig’s Nose blended whisky with 1st place also receiving Tain Pottery charger plates, leads, lanyards and the coveted Four Nations shield.
It was an extremely close competition with Scotland receiving 634 points and runners-up Ireland only three points behind. England came 3rd with 626 and Wales in 4th on 587. Team rivalries remained fun and friendly throughout the day as the atmosphere surrounding the event was one of excitement and joy. The competition was held under Kennel Club rules with judges Mr Mark Clifford, Mr Ian Flint, Mr Damian Newman and Mr Chris Brain in charge of scoring.
Roddy Forbes, the Nairnshre-based team captain for Scotland, said: “It’s absolutlely brilliant to win on home turf and I’m really pleased with how the team and dogs performed. I want to thank everyone in the team for putting in the work and coming along to practices, even those that didn’t make it on the team who still came along to help and throw dummies. We’re a very close-knit team. The set up for the competition has been great, it’s a new course but the team here, led by Sam Drysdale have done a terrific job at putting it all together.”
Commenting on the event, judge Ian Flint said: “The atmosphere here has been terrific and friendly with everyone willing each other on. We had to set this new course up overnight and it’s worked well – it’s shown how the dogs work under pressure. There’s been such a high quality of handlers and dogs this year, in spaniels especially as the dogs were all so close in terms of standards when it came to hunting. We were very pleased as judges this year to watch so many outstanding runs across the board.”