A cautious attitude from home-bred Don, saved the day and won the inter-district nursery final at Carterhaugh, Selkirk for Ian Brownlie.

Ian said: “The dog has brains and used them, and when I asked him to ‘Get up, get up,’ to the sheep, he waited, and the sheep appreciated his patience.”

Don’s patience paid dividends with a comfortable lead over the field on a day when the Aberdale hoggs, suspicious of the woodwork, even the unthreatening starting post, were generally labelled ‘tricky’, but they had not the bolting instinct often seen in nursery final hoggs.

Don (JP McGee’s Glencregg Silver, IM Brownlie’s Lia) ran out and lifted cleanly and made a particularly good fetch, earning the Jimmy McNeil trophy for best outbye work. After turning round Ian, the hoggs went offline on the first leg of the drive, but they went through the gate and his cross drive was good. He penned cleanly then, in the appropriate place, the hoggs separated, Don came into the gap and won first place on 94 pts.

On a dry, sunny day that started under a heavy coat of frost, the flat, haugh field gave a good viewing of the running, but the hoggs tested the nursery dogs sorely.

In the first round of dogs ranked fifth in their team, only Julie Hill and Jiggs (J Hill’s Kep and Mollie) managed to complete their run before time ran out; with 79 pts, they eventually earned eighth place.

In the next round, three dogs completed the work, but only Dean Aitken’s Tweeddale Jill (E Lightfoot’s Cap, D Aitken’s Tammi) crossed the 50% ‘pass mark’, with 78 pts and ninth place. Dean and Jill set the foundation for their team, Dumfries and Kirkcudbright, winning the team shield.

Chris Toner’s Niro Mace (R Watson’s Ace, C Toner’s Maid) raised the standard dramatically, eventually earning second place on 90 pts. Mace had a clean outrun and lift and although he missed the fetch gate, his drive was one of the best, and a clean pen and shed won the Tweeddale Sheepdogs trophy for best pen and shed.

Two runs later, Sandy McCulloch’s Maid (JP McGee’s Glencregg Silver, DP Mullaney’s Bell) got off to a promising start with a clean outrun and lift and a good fetch. Although he had more difficulty on the drive and at the pen, a clean shed completed the run on 80 pts, and overall seventh place.

The penultimate round produced three prize winners.

Willie Welsh’s Jet (T Vickers’ Kemi Bryn and Groesfaen Anita) too, ran out and lifted cleanly, but one hogg had to be tucked in to get the packet through the fetch gate; a good drive with a difficult packet won the John Paterson memorial trophy for that. One hogg broke from within the pen and ran round it, but Jet put her back with the rest and finished the run with clean shed and 87 pts, earning fourth place.

Two runs later, Jasmine Grant’s Pat (P Byrne’s Moss and Bracken) ran out nicely for her sheep, and although they were spooked by the fetch gates, she got them through with a little zig zagging. The drive went well, but with Pat on the heavy side of the cross drive, the hoggs slipped by the top side of the gate. At the pen, they were loathed to go in and a cheeky hogg tried to break, but Pat’s cool power brought her back and patiently penned the lot. With only a minute left, Jasmine took advantage of the first chance to shed and Pat delivered a clean finish to a successful run, placed sixth with 82 pts.

A further two runs on, Julie Hill’s Gwen, litter sister of Jiggs, became second of her dogs to make the prize list, overtaking Jiggs and making Julie the only handler with two prizewinners. Gwen started out a little wide, but worked well outbye, although the hoggs fought her, faced her and stopped on the drive. She got her gates and a clean pen and a very good shed finished the work with 84 pts and fifth place.

Ian and Don opened the captain’s round, with what immediately seemed likely to be the winning run, although nine more dogs were still to run.

Judge, Neil Campbell said, “The dog went very well on tricky sheep, he did a good job.”

Third from final pair to run, Laura Hinnekens and Lhinnek Cruze finished third from the top. Cruze (L Hinneken’s Lhinnek Zorg and Meg) ran out and lifted cleanly, and had a good fetch. After a slightly wobbly start on the first leg, the drive went well, but looking to enter the pen, the hoggs re-emerged. Cruze did not let them break, but returned them to security and completed his run with a very good shed and 88 pts.

LEADING awards

Scottish inter district nursery final, Carterhall, Selkirk (Judge: N Campbell, Kinross) Nursery – 10 teams of 5 ran – 1, IM Brownlie’s Don, Dunbar, 94; 2, C Toner’s Niro Mace, Drimsynie, 90; 3, L Hinneken’s Lhinnek Cruze, Quothquan, 88; 4, W Welsh’s Jet, Dalmellington, 87; 5, J Hill’s Gwen, Heriot, 84; 6, J Grant’s Pat, Dunbeath, 82; 7, A McCulloch’s Maid, Dalmellington, 80; 8, J Hill’s Jiggs, Heriot, 79; 9, D Aitken’s Jill, Peebles, 78; 10, M Gallagher’s Avon Roy, Alyth, 77.

Teams – 1, Dumfries and Kirkcudbright, 307; 2, Lanark, Lothian and Peebles, 285; 3, North Ayrshire, 261.


John Ferguson Cup (Champion) – IM Brownlie’s Don, Dunbar.

RSABI quaich (Runner up) – C Toner’s Niro Mace, Drimsynie.

Inter-district trophy (Breeder of champion) – IM Brownlie’s Lia, Dunbar.

Lyn Lewis trophy (competitor never previously competed in National trial) – J Shanks’ Mirk, Ardtornish.

J McNeil Memorial trophy (best outbye) – IM Brownlie’s Don, Dunbar.

J Paterson memorial trophy (best drive) – W Welsh’s Jet, Dalmellington.

Bill Fleming trophy (youngest competitor) – V Shearer’s Misty, Westfield.

Robert Wallace shield – Dumfries and Kirkcudbright team

HT Johnston shield (handled by breeder) – IM Brownlie’s Don, Dunbar.

Tweeddale Sheepdogs trophy (best pen and shed) – C Toner’s Niro Mace, Drimsynie.