15 October 1999

Neighbours take top spots

The 49th British National

Ploughing Championship

took place last weekend at

Shillingford Farm in

Oxfordshire.

Mike Still reports

YORKSHIRE proved again that it has some of the countrys finest ploughmen, when neighbours John Hill and Geoff Fretwell claimed both titles at the British National Ploughing Championships.

Both men, who live in the same village will now plough for England in the World Ploughing Contest at World Ploughing 2000, in Lincolnshire next year.

Using a New Holland tractor and Lemken plough, Mr Hill, who farms at Hoylandswaine, near Sheffield, won the Reversible Championship for the second year in a row. His winning total of 487 points earned him victory over Scotlands Andrew Mitchell by the slender margin of five points. This is Mr Hills tenth British Championship title.

In contrast, Mr Fretwells win in the Conventional Championship could not have been more decisive. His winning tally of 403 points put him 34 points clear of the runner- up, Pip Davies from Hereford. For Mr Fretwell, whose Penistone farm is just a stones throw away from Mr Hills, this was his first Championship victory after 39 attempts. "This victory is very sweet for me as I will not only be ploughing for England next year, but ploughing on English soil," said Mr Fretwell who won the Conventional Championship with an International tractor and Fiskars plough.

For Mr Hill, next years World Ploughing Contest marks a very special occasion – his tenth anniversary as an international ploughman. "I very badly wanted to win at Shillingford this year," he said. "I ploughed in my first World Contest at Horncastle in 1984 and finished third, and ploughing in Lincolnshire again next year brings the wheel full circle."

In the nine world contests in which he has ploughed so far, Mr Hill has never finished lower than third, making him Britains most consistently successful match ploughman.

Wales dominated the National Young Farmers Conventional Ploughing Championship, one of two NYF titles decided at Shillingford. In a tense contest, Ross Wilson from Penyffordd took the title with a score of 370 points, using an International tractor and Dowdeswell plough. In second place was fellow Welshman Elfed Jones, a mere two points behind.

The National Young Farmers Reversible title went to Valmet driver Roger Hudgell of St Albans, who also used a Dowdeswell plough. His winning score of 495 points put him comfortably ahead of runner up Sally Robinson (453 points), and Susan Parish also did well by finishing fifth. The first time two women have finished in the top five in this competition.

The British National Ploughing Championships are organised by the Society of Ploughmen, and their executive director Ken Chappell said: "It has been an excellent two days and ploughing conditions have been perfect, with just enough variation between the plots to make the competitors work really hard."

The Championships attracted more than 16,500 visitors during the two days. &#42

Thirty-ninth time lucky – Geoff Fretwell (above), who farms at Penistone near Sheffield, took first place in the conventional ploughing class.

Second year in a row – Yorkshireman John Hill (below) came first in the reversible ploughing class.

Championship results


British National Reversible Ploughing Championship

Placings Points

1. John Hill, Hoylandswaine 487

2. Andrew Mitchell, Angus 482

3. Simon Witty, Malton 457

4. James Witty, Malton 456

5. Chris Howell, Warwickshire 427

British National Conventional Ploughing Championship

Placings Points

1. Geoff Fretwell, Sheffield 403

2. Pip Davies, Hereford 369

3. Nigel Vickers, Shropshire 363

4. David Chappell, Doncaster 359

Adrian Brewer, Wadebridge 359

National Young Farmers Reversible Ploughing Championship

Placings Points

1. Roger Hudgell, St Albans 495

2. Sally Robinson, Driffield 453

3. Andrew Vincent, Notts 444

4. Thomas Wooliscroft, Nuneaton 435

5. Susan Parish, Hampshire 432

National Young Farmers Conventional Ploughing Championship

Placings Points

1. Ross Wilson, Penyffordd 370

2. Elfed Jones, Clwyd 368

3. Ashley Boyles, Market Rasen 353

4. Carl Fretwell, Sheffield 349

5. David Truelove, Kenilworth 340