26 September 1997

Young handlers survive

test of nerves and skill

TO represent your country is an honour but to do so before an audience of the top trailists from across Britain and Ireland is bound to be a test of nerve as much as skill.

This was the challenge faced by the four young men competing for the National Grid young handler award. The four national presidents judged this competition and there was a draw for the order of run.

The first to take the field was Matthew Richards (19) representing Wales. Matthew, and and his dog, Kim, from Stouthall, Reynoldstown, Swansea, also took the winners trophy. The other three competitors, who each received a runners up trophy, were (in running order) John Paul Curran (17) with Bill from Boho, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, representing Ireland; James Howard (16) with Bob from Holme, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, representing England and 14-year-old David Bell of Sorn, Mauchline, Ayr, with Bob representing Scotland.

Young handler competitors

(L toR) David Bell, James Howard, Matthew Richards

(also pictured left) and

John Paul Curran.