Sheep dog trials: Storm clouds can have a silver lining

Okaihau man Shaun Haynes - shown here at the Broadwood trials last year with dogs Reg, Doc and Millie - and Millie placed in the short head and yard event at the Bay of Islands sheep dog trial last weekend.Leo [Jecentho, of Whatawhata] is proving to be a thorn in our sides.
Okaihau man Shaun Haynes - shown here at the Broadwood trials last year with dogs Reg, Doc and Millie - and Millie placed in the short head and yard event at the Bay of Islands sheep dog trial last weekend.Leo [Jecentho, of Whatawhata] is proving to be a thorn in our sides.

With the predicted storm arriving on schedule, the Papakura Sheep Dog Trial Club was forced to postpone their annual trials last Thursday and Friday

This proved a blessing for the Bay of Islands SDTC as many Waikato competitors travelled to compete on Friday and Saturday on the steep course at Mt Ahu Ahu on the outskirts of Kaikohe and Ohaeawai.

Local commentator Merv Cameron said while the boost in numbers was appreciated, they made the second day, Saturday, a very long one, with the short head and yard event not finishing until about 7.45pm.

Whenever he comes north he raises the bar of what we need to achieve to beat him.
Merv Cameron

Visitors took out both heading events. Dave Andrews with Dick from Taumaranui came in with a late evening run to hold off Tangiteroria's Andy Ross with Pip making the long drive north worthwhile for the winning pair.

Cameron said the long head course on the daunting hill at Mt Ahu Ahu proved challenging. While the sheep worked quite well, most dogs failed to score highly in the runout section.

"Quite understandable, hot weather, huge hill and unfit dogs — mine included," Cameron said.

A dog needed to be involved in full-time farmwork to develop that fitness, and Leo Jecentho's Scott showed exactly that by taking out the event he said.

"Leo is proving to be a thorn in our sides. Whenever he comes north he raises the bar of what we need to achieve to beat him. Dedication and lots of farmwork on the 2833ha station at Whatawhata is proving to be a great benefit to his five-dog team."

Cameron said Judge Roger Jordan was adamant that no one put together a solid run — it was either a good head and poor pull down, or the exact opposite, poor head and good pull down.

The final points proved this with Jecentho's 91.5-point effort ending up as the long head event's best score.

In the lesser entries in the hunt, Scott McRae's faithful Toby won the zig zag, while a new dog to the Northland circuit, Simon, now owned by Neville Child, was also impressive for taking out the straight hunt event.

The hill trials won't get any easier for anyone this weekend with the Mangakahia event being held on the huge hill at Twin Bridges tomorrow and Saturday.

"All will be hoping for some cooler weather again," Cameron concluded.

RESULTS from the Bay of Islands Sheep Dog Trial at Mt Ahu Ahu on Friday and Saturday, February 2 and 3, were as follows.

Event 1, Long head (judge R Jordan): L Jecentho with Scott 91.5 points (1st), K Whittaker with Jess 90, N Child with Rod 88, J Nelley with Stream 87.5, M Child with Dice 86.5 (5th).
Event 2, Short head and yard (S Osborne): D Andrews with Dick 93.5, A Ross with Pip 91, L Jecentho with Tess 90.5, S Haynes with Millie 90, M Moody with Spot 89.5; 1st intermediate: S Haynes with Millie.

Event 3, Zig zag hunt: S McRae and Toby 97.5, M Child and Frank 95.5, R Jordan and Tone 93.75, R Davis and Guy 93.5, N Child and Simon 93, 1st Maiden: J Innes with Jack 88.5.
Event 4, Straight hunt: N Child with Simon 96.75, M Child with Frank 96.5, M Child with Ralph 95.5, G Smith with Henry 94.5, S McRae with Toby 93.5, 1st Maiden: J Innes with Jack 90.5.

- Northland Age

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