Success in competition ploughing is all about keeping a close eye on things and no one, it seems, takes it more seriously than Ashley Boyles. Two times British conventional plough champion, he made it number three at last week’s National Ploughing Championships held at Lichfield, Staffordshire.

The runner up was John Hill and the reversible plough-off was won by Peter Alderslade, with second place taken by Alan Critchlow. Ashley Boyles and Peter Alderslade will represent England in the world ploughing championships next year in Alberta, Canada.

Competitors faced challenging conditions on the final day of the two-day championships. A torrential downpour on the previous evening, followed by more sustained rain overnight meant event organisers had to find new areas that could carry the weight of a tractor.

Despite their best efforts, there were still large areas where some competitors struggled to keep moving – let alone apply their skills to match ploughing. Some of the lightweight vintage tractors with trailed ploughs had to be given a helping push by visitors, but for the larger classes it was case of puddling through as best they could.

For many classes it really was the luck of the draw that influenced the outcome. But that’s match ploughing…

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