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The 12th East Anglian Supermatch

TWO GUNDOGS came out on top at the 12th East Anglian Supermatch on Saturday - Sonia Grief’s Italian Spinone, Goldenfly Magic In The Sky JW (top puppy), and Linda and Arnot Wilson’s Pointer, Bonnygate Gunns A Blazing JW (top dog). Both these homebred JW winners have had successful show careers to date and were popular winners with the 200-strong vociferous ringside.

The Supermatch is hosted by Huntingdonshire CS and Pedigree Masterfoods, and one of its major objectives is to raise money for the Wood Green Animal Shelter, with all the profits being donated to the shelter to assist in the purchase of much needed veterinary equipment - to date these include a critical care unit, Arnold’s electric auroscope/ophthalmo-scope, Apalert respiration monitor and adaptor, haematology bio chemistry blood testing machine and an operating table. The combined receipts from 2001 and 2002 will help to provide X-ray facilities for a redeveloped veterinary area at the shelter.

Top Puppy at the 12th East Anglian Supermatch, Sonia Grief’s Italian Spinone,
Goldenfly Magic In The Sky JW.

The venue for the match, the Burgess Civic Hall, St Ivo Recreation Centre, St Ives, a light, airy hall, is ideally suited for the event, and the organisers had certainly pulled out all the stops to make everything look special - the carpeted ring was of a good size and surrounded by a white picket fence, which always adds to the ambience; and the 14 tables were arranged in a square horse-shoe around three sides, which enabled spectators to view the judging in comfort as well as making the transition from ring to dance floor effortless.

The matches were due to start at 4pm but an accident on the Cambridge side of the A14 meant a delay of about 20 minutes, which made the scheduling rather tight. However, with the combined experience of the three judges, Meriel Hathaway, Robin Searle and Robert Dawson from Australasia, this did not present too many problems.

The 64 contestants (32 puppies and 32 adults) had qualified by winning BIS and/or BPIS at open shows held by participating regional canine societies during last year; and there were just three absentees - two puppies and one adult. The mix of breeds was, as you would expect, quite varied and most of the dogs took the occasion in their stride, with just a few being a little overawed by the experience, which was a shame.

Several exhibitors had more than one entry, including Ms C Davani whose two Kerry Blues both made it through to the final few rounds - the puppy, Kamaghan Hot Stuff at Arkama, co-owned and bred with Pat Munro and Di Scawthorn, was a quarter finalist, and the adult, Arkama Bombshell at Kamaghan, bred by Pat Munro, was runner-up top dog.

Runner-up top puppy was Mr A Pratt’s Dalmatian, Elaridge Lilly Langtry, bred by Mrs S Stokes.

Runner-up top puppy was Mr A Pratt’s Dalmatian, Elaridge Lilly Langtry,
bred by Mrs S Stokes, pictured her with the top puppy winner.

The compere was Bernard Hall, who is undertaking his penultimate Crufts commentary this week - he has a wealth of experience and always adds an air of professionalism to such an event. As usual, he was accompanied and assisted by his wife, Rosemary. They have recently returned from a trip to South Africa and were both looking very well.

Michael Quinney was on his first outing after falling ill some weeks ago, the night before he was due to judge at the North of England Dalmatian Club ‘of the year’ competitions on January 19. He was, naturally, feeling a little frail, but is hopefully well on the road to recovery. He is, of course, judging Joyce Mann’s Dobermann dog and Pekingese entry at Crufts as she is currently suffering from a viral infection - hope to see you around the rings again soon, Joyce.

Top Dog at the 12th East Anglian Supermatch, Linda and Arnot Wilson’s Pointer,
Bonnygate Gunns A Blazing JW.

The after dinner speakers were Alison Mount, chairman of Huntingdonshire CS, who thanked everyone for their support and generosity; Andrew Winfrow, Regional Breed Manager, Pedigree Masterfoods, who raised a toast to the winners and said that Pedigree were proud to be part of the event; and Dennis Baker OBE, Chief Executive of Wood Green Animal Shelters, who said that the fundraising efforts of the Supermatch would help make up for the many losses they experienced last year after the foot and mouth outbreak, which not only lost revenue for the shelters but forced them to close for three months.

Needless to say, the dancing and revelling went on late into the night - Ken Allan, Supermatch Organiser, must be pleased with the fruits of his and his helpers’ labours - an event to put down in your diary for next year!