One of the last ram lambs sold at the National Suffolk show and sale at Shrewsbury, secured the lead price of 23,000gns.

The lamb from Flintshire breeder, Arnold Oare of the Groes flock, is natural December-born son of Forkins McCoy, out of a Rhaeadr-bred ewe by Rhaeadr Raring to Go. He sold to relatively new breeders, Neville and Charlotte Pitman, buying for their Foxhillview flock from Devon. Groes produced the lead flock average selling three lambs at £8662.50.

The Pitmans also bought some of the top priced females, forking out 1800gns and 900gns for a ewe lamb and gimmer respectively from Stephen Bolland's Wharfe flock. They also went to 600gns for a ewe lamb from Mrs JJ Tooze's Spittal flock from Carnwath.

Second top price was 15,000gns paid for Stewart Craft's No 2 lamb from the Lakeview flock from Glenrothes, which sold five to average £3822. His best is backed by the best of breeding being a December-born ET entry from the same Rookery Rodeo-sired ewe that bred the 40,000gns Lakeview lamb sold to Ballynacannon and Solwaybank, last year. The sire is the 50,000gns Mullinvale Munro purchased in 2020. Jed Sharp, buying for his Worcestershire-based Hawshill flock was the final bidder.

Mr Sharp also went to 8000gns for Myfyr Evans’ substitute entry, a December-born son of the 15,000gns Stockton Sniper's Son, bred from last year's best gimmer, a daughter of Limestone Limousine which sired the 19,000gns Rhaeadr gimmer in 2021.

A second substitute entry from Mr Evans' flock from Llanrhaeadr, Denbigh, made 5500gns selling to Dennis Taylor of the Ballynacannon flock from Northern Ireland. He is also by Sniper's Son, but bred from a Lakeview ewe by Strathbogie Stradivarius. Rhaeadr sold four lambs to average £4436.

Matching that 5500gns bid, Aberdeenshire breeders, John Gibb of the Cairnton flock and Jimmy Douglas, Cairness, both Fraserburgh, teamed up to to buy the pen leader from Dafydd Jones’ Frongoy flock from Pennant, Llanon. A full brother to the 25,000gns Frongoy Rocket, he is by Strathbogie Rock on Tommy and out of a home-bred ewe by Ballynacannon Black Diamond.

Just behind, on 5000gns Dennis Taylor recouped most of his earlier investment selling his No 1 to Shropshire breeder, Phil Poole. His mid January-born Strathbogie Ghost Rider-sired entry is out of a Grennan ewe by Mountford Mustang and goes out to work in the Salopian flock

The reserve champion, from Charlie Boden's Sportsmans flock from Stockport, made 4000gns to Holly Bowdler, buying for her Tombridge enterprise from Shropshire. This was an ET brother to the flock's sale leaders at Lanark the previous week, being sired by the 200,000gns Salopian Solid Gold and bred from a Stockton ewe.

Melvin Stuart and family, Milton of Birness, Ellon, produced the pre-sale champion which made 2600gns to Norman Howl of the Normandy flock, Northamptonshire.

Shearlings peaked at 2800gns from Stephen Bolland, purchased by Carmarthenshire breeder, TJ Griffiths, Tir, with females selling to 3000gns for a gimmer from Paul Delves' Bridgeview flock from Powys, bought by Irish breeder Sean O’Gorman from Blanchardstown.

Despite reduced averages, clearance rates held up well with 72% of the tup lambs forward finding new homes and 100% of the shearlings selling. Gimmers saw an 84% clearance with ewe lambs at 86%.

Robin McIlrath, CEO of the Suffolk Sheep Society said: “The sale was a great success and a flagship day for the breed and the Society, achieving an overall clearance of 73% and an average of £1500.01 for the 168 sheep that went to new homes. Its also great to see another young breeder topping the sale.”

Auctioneers: J Straker, Chadwick and Son of Abergavenny, and Halls of Shrewsbury.

averages: 134 ram lambs, £1512.00 (-£108 for one more sold); six shearling rams, £1348.00 (+£403 for three more); 16 gimmers, £1018.00 (-£120 for three more); 12 ewe lambs, £1890.00 (+£840 for five more.