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(Updated 1/6/01)


Crufts Inter Regional Obedience Competition

by Janet Martineau

Photo by Alan V Walker
The Inter-Regional Obedience competition on the last day of Crufts 2001, was won by the Midlands Team,
seen here with team Manager Roy Page, Kerry Williamson of Dog World the judge Mr P. Lubbi
and Angus Shield of the Co-Sponsor Purina.

Judge - Mr Peter Lubbi

The Judge for the two days was Peter Lubbi. He first came into Obedience Competition in 1970 and has worked a series of working sheepdogs and collies ever since then. He started judging in 1978 and always sets a course and judges in a manner to suit all breeds. The format being slightly different this time we were to have the Restricted Classes on the first day - the classes being Novice, two dogs per team, and A, B and C one dog per team per class and all must be other than Border Collie or Working Sheepdog, one crossbred per team was allowed.

On the second day the teams consisted of one each in Novice, “A” and “B” and two in “C”, and the entry was open to all breeds - this led to a take over by the collies with one GSD and one Crossbred.

Peter’s ring party performed their tasks splendidly and were well rehearsed in their duties, everyone being where they should be at the right time, and time was saved by the manner in which the tests were planned and placed in the ring. His stewards were John Diplock, Dale Fraser, Ian Fraser, Mike Stubbington, Sandra Phillips, Enid Diplock, Lesley Lubbi and Freda Wickenden, Pat Handfield was his scribe and was a text book example of where a scribe should be at all times.


We had to get used to the new screens. The team colours were the background for each dog’s score as they worked. It was a great improvement in that one had time to watch a dog work and then could take note of the score from the list that appeared and if one missed anything the whole score for that dog came up again when it came in to do scent. One of the screens was not behaving on the Monday and kept disappearing for repairs and coming up with the wrong colours but it was sorted eventually. They weren’t filming at all during the Inter-regionals, we just had the scores and between classes an update on the state of the teams.

I did miss the vocal introduction for the individual competitors for the first two classes. It seemed cold and impersonal to have simply up on the screen “West 2”, or “Northern 1”. There were a few changes in the teams due to the change of date and it was not easy to work out who was who from the programme if changes had been made. I pointed this out and from “B” and “C” a nice friendly voice did tell us who was coming next and for what team.

Both competitions were scored on a points for places system and this always makes it more difficult to tell how the teams are doing. It is kinder and it is the method of scoring that seems to have been accepted. At the finish the first, second and third in each class were awarded prizes and then the overall team winners.

The tests that Peter had set were similar if not identical for each day. Nothing catchy, no diagonals or fancy stuff and minimum of furniture in the ring. The novice and A rounds
were simple and set well in the centre of the ring. B was a bit larger and contained plenty of nice long stretches. The C test heelwork contained something like 35 instructions to the handlers and looked to be a very nice round to work. The sendaways were for both B and C down the centre of the ring, not all the way, to a large triangular “Stop” as the back marker and two small “Go” sign to run between, or to a black and white bull’s-eye between two little arrows. He alternated these between B and C on the two days.

So, how did they all work? Very happily - there was a great atmosphere around the collecting ring and the benches.

In the Breed Restricted Competition right from the start the Northern Team made its intentions clear - going into the lead after Novice and remaining there as each class came to an end, and when it came to class “C” a joker remarked that even it they didn’t work their “C” dog they would hold onto first place.


We had sparkling rounds to watch from some lovely dogs. The Standard Poodle from the Midlands, the Russian Black Terrier from the South were especially noteworthy of the less usual breeds. There was preponderance of Golden Retrievers who without exception gave lovely cheerful performances, GSDs also were there in number, working happily and with style, Shelties, Beardies, a Schipperke, a Groenandael and Crossbred. During the lunch break each day the reserve dogs went through their paces, how nice to have the chance to work in that ring without the pressure of being marked for your team.

The Southern Team had the Novice winner - Fiona Oliver with Malenbrook Macho Mutineer, Golden Retriever, and close behind her were the two dogs from the Northern Team tying for second, Andrea Pirt and Beneruan Blyton, Golden Retriever, and Anna Parish with Bosum Baggywrinkles, Beardie cross.

Photo by Alan V Walker
The Inter-Regional Obedience Competition finalists: The semi-final winning Team was the Northern Region, seen here with the team manager Mr. L. C. Moore, the judge Mr P. Lubbi (celebrating his birthday) Angus Shield of Purina and Simon Parsons of Dog World.

“A” was a straightforward round and we had a Scottish win with Louise Saunders and her Sheltie, Torriglen Taking Steps in first place and equal second Carol Wiltshire and GSD. Arncourt Prenta for the West, and Theresa Elsom with her Sheltie, Trestus Little Michael for the Midlands. But the places that the Northern Team achieved kept them ahead still.

Class “B” was a standard “B” type of round with sendaway to the triangular STOP sign. This class was due to be won by the Midlands with Sandra Hills GSD. Norstock Impudent at Shangay having put up a splendid performance with the best heelwork, sendaway and retrieve total but he couldn’t stay still for the Stand or Sit stays, what hard luck. This gave the Northern Team a win with Terry Wainwright and GSD. Gefni Vibrant Virtuoso being first, followed by Jan lewandowski for the South with Golden Retriever Pepsanner Sun Chariot, and third was Pat Baxter with Crawbutts Baxter again a Golden Retriever.ComprehensiveSo by “C” the Northern Team were still in the lead by nine points over their nearest rivals and despite their dog fidgeting on the down stay and losing marks for it they ended up ahead by just two points. The sendaway was to the bull’s-eye type target. It was a nice comprehensive heelwork round and they all worked it well considering the stress and the weight of responsibility on them at this stage of the competition. The result being first was Chris Allen with crossbred Coltriever Connoisseur for the Midlands, second was Jean Rawlings with GSD, Shazermo Parbrook Realta for the South and third was Maria Carter with her hardworking little corgi Gabriella De-Cesare for the West.

The scoring system being put into operation came up with the team results as follows :-

1st The Northern Team with 39 points.
2nd The Midlands Team with 37 points.
3rd The Southern Team with 34 points.
4th The Welsh Team with 28 points.
5th The West Team with 27 points.
6th The Scottish Team with 24 points.
7th The Northern Ireland Team with 10 points.

The Open Competition. The teams were made up of one German Shepherd and one crossbred amongst the fraternity of Working Sheepdogs and Border Collies. The tests being as the day before apart from different retriever articles and a swap of the sendaway markers.

Northern Ireland came first in the Novice Test, Jenny Bingham with BC. Astro Blue Bailey, second was Melanie Lilley for the Midlands with Topori Dark Breeze W.S. and third was Hilary Hughes with Kathrow Gertie for Wales. This gave Northern Ireland a nice boost putting them in first place.

Photo by Alan V Walker
The Regional Class Winners, Class A; Louise Saunders and “Jamie” ( Scotland), Class B; Terry Wainwright with Kerby (Northern), Class C; Chris Allen with “Conner” and winner of Novice (Midlands). The judge Mr P. Lubbi, Angus Shield of Purina
and Simon Parsons of Dog World.

Class A brought some changes. It was won by the Scottish dog, Mary McKenzie with Sarkam High Society, second was Ron Jefferson with Kingslodge Blackleg and third was Jill Holness with Foxtwist Anarchist for the Western Team. Now we had three teams all on 10 points in the lead, Northern Ireland still, and the Midlands and Scotland.


Class B and another Midlands success, Julie Scotcher with Josarem Heartbent did a super round to come first, second was Stella Henstridge with Dumavala Zhivargo for the South, and third was Jan Ging with Fagan of Blaise for Wales. And the points now showed that the Midlands had gone into the lead with the South just 3 behind them.

Class C and a really good effort all round. It was a great standard of work in the heelwork, only two serious problems on sendaway, seven went clear on D.C. and only one dog failed scent. We were all much impressed by Tracy McKinlay’s young dog My Charrey Mie Connor, from the Isle of Man and working for Northern Ireland, had he not a lapse of hearing in D.C. he would have been third. But points for places are what mattered. The Southern Team up with the winner in this class. Evelyn Price with Mr Kacy Sorrel Dalemain, so 15 points for them, but the Midlands Team came second and third so 25 points were earned by Steve Fraser with Darian Laser Dancer and Barbara Peters with Choystean Painted Lady.

Photo by Alan V Walker
The individual winners from the Inter-Regional Obedience competition, Winner of Novice; (from Northern Ireland) Jenny Bingham with Bayley, Class A; Mary McKenzie with Hope ( Scotland), Class B; Julia Scotcher and Josaren Art Beat, Class C; Evelyn Price with Kacy.

There we were then with the final line up being

The Midlands Team on 43 points.
2nd The Southern Team on 40 points.
3rd The Welsh Team on 30 points.
4th The Scottish Team on 22 points.
5th The Northern Team on 21 points.
6th The Northern Ireland Team on 20 points and
7th The Western Team on 18 points.

A close run thing and a very good competition, with much camaraderie and banter and buzz amongst those delighted to be picked for their regions. I’m all for it.

Audience-wise there was a lack of support for the obedience this year, but not only for the Obedience. The whole gate was down judging by the comparative ease with which one could walk around and shop, absentees in my own breed were I should say about 30%. Until the afternoon there was a vast array of empty seats on all four days round the big ring. Partly due to the change of date, but also many of those there feel that being tucked away at the bottom end of Hall 5 and having to compete with the free seats and the activities going on in the rings in Halls 3 and 3a doesn’t exactly help.

Why could not the day time seats round the big ring also be free? Where is that exciting scramble to find a piece of balcony to lean over, and as for getting a seat to watch the obedience in Olympia or Earls Court, you had to get there at crack of dawn to get anywhere near the championships in those days. The need to book and pay in advance seems to have killed all that. Obedience is a bit of a specialist thing but a few more folk coming and sitting to watch, even if for only a short time would make for so much more atmosphere and fun.

But, I have to say that I liked the new format, I think it worked well from the team and competition aspect and I hope personally that it is given a few years as it is to settle down. The restricted breeds day was fun and gives the other breeds a chance to show what they can do, while the open to all can be a bit more ‘cut throat’ competitive. I enjoyed it.