26 September 1997

ROUTE TO NATIONAL TEAM

TO gain a place in a national team a sheep dog and his or her handler must be placed in the top 15 in a national competition, events in which 150 dogs take part by virtue of points accumulated in other trials.

At the international event the 60 dogs forward compete in a two-day qualifying trial from which the top 15 go forward to compete for the supreme championship. The highest scoring competitor is captain. The 1997 captains were Denis Birchall, a three times national champion who lead the Irish team; Hefin Jones who captained the Welsh team for the fourth time; George Gardner who led the Scottish team and Richard Montgomery who arrived at the top of the English team after 20 years of trying for a place.

Cooling off:Hot from the field and into a pail of water.