Kevin Evans became the first Welsh handler to achieve a one:two at the International sheepdog trials – at Dromore, in Co Down – with his 2016 International winner, Preseli Ci and Ace, respectively.

The Blackface ewes and gimmers behaved well on a big and challenging course which could easily lure dogs into coming in before they had covered the ground. They proved hard to shed, but penned and singled more readily, though a knowe on the supreme cross drive took the sheep out of sight.

The qualifier was set on flat ground that rose near the top and for the supreme the course extended further back, opening out to the side, following a fence which opened out round a corner and over a hill, which was not obvious to some dogs.

Ci (R Games’ Roy, L Harris’ Jet) came well in on her first outrun but with commands, reached her sheep and lifted and fetched without much difficulty. Her turn back for the second packet was better than the first outrun, and she lifted and fetched with just minor wavers. Her drive was the best of the supreme, before a great shed and clean pen completed the winning run – the unanimous choice of four judges.

Ace (S van der Sweep’s Garry, M Oosthook’s Nettle) had the best turn back of the day, but when the sheep went out of sight on the cross drive, emerged off line and missed the gate. The shed took time, but once made, a clean pen assured Kevin’s place in trialling history.

Scotland fared well. Fraser Shennan’s Mia won the qualifying round, earning the farmers’ cup, with Neil Gillon’s Shweep close behind. Mia (JR Welsh’s Tanhill Nap, FW Shennan’s Fizz) had a great run on the course, with minor wavers on the fetch and drive, and with a little work and patience Mia shed, penned and got her clean single to set the seal on qualifying success.

Scotland’s success in the qualifier spearheaded a team effort which gave it the top team aggregate. It also saw six Scots go through to the supreme round of the top 15, along with six Welsh, two English and one Irish.

In the supreme, Scotland claimed the two places immediately behind the Welsh top dogs.

Neil Gillon’s Shweep (N Gillon’s Bhoy, S McCrindle’s Peg) was slightly short at the top and when flanked, the sheep moved, but he made a good fetch. He needed whistles to go out wider on the turn back and when he came into sight, he had crossed the course, but Neil put him back and he landed on his sheep.

The dog brought them in and drove well until the ewes went off line when out of sight on the cross drive, though Shweep put them through the gate well enough. At the shed, Neil let a collared sheep make her way out of a block of plain sheep and together, he and Shweep shed 13 uncollared ewes inone go, stopped a break, shed the other two sheep needed to win the Johnny Wilson prize for best shed.

His work at stopping two attempted breaks, and at the pen was enough for third.

Chloe Cropper – great niece of English team member, Jim Cropper – was in the Scottish team for the first time, having previously run three times for England. Her Penllwyn Fly (A Lyttle’s Spot, IB Jones’ Penllwyn Meg) got off to a good start, second only to Peter Martin’s Daisy, with a grand first outrun, clean lift and a good fetch. The look back proved testing, but Fly went out over the hill, lifted and fetched her sheep and drove well. One awkward ewe made trouble at the shed and time ran out with neither shed nor pen. Despite that, Chloe and Fly had done enough for fourth.

Ross Henderson’s success with Jude (RB Henderson’s Glen, D Wallace’s Jen) in the driving contest proved another feather in the Scottish team cap!

LEADING awards:

Qualifying round (Judges: T Lambe, Ireland; R Dalziel, Scotland; S Harden, Wales; M Schofield, England). Four teams of 15 ran – 1, F Shennan’s Mia, Barr, S, 401/440; 2, N Gillon’s Shweep (Sweep), Dailly, S, 395; 3, DK Evans’ Preseli Ci, Libanus, W, 379; 4, DK Evans’ Ace Libanus, W, 372; 5, P O’Donnell’s Limber, Co Wicklow, I, 364; 6, R Henderson’s Jude, Crawford, S, 363; 7, JS Howard’s Bill, Huddersfield, E, 360; 8, C Cropper’s Penllwyn Fly, Drimsynie, S, 359; 9, P Martin’s Daisy, Glenlyon, S, 342; 10, RFM Ellis’ Bronallt Sweep, Bridgend, W, 343; 11, DM Howells’ Rock, Port Talbot, W, 334; 12, A Owen’s Llangwm Cap, Corwyn, W, 331; 13, AD Carnegie’s Linburn Rook, Comrie, S, 331; 14, TW Longton’s Maya, Quernmore, E, 325; 15, M Jones’ Nan, Dyffed, W, 316.

Supreme day (Judges: T Lambe, Ireland; R Dalziel, Scotland; S Harden, Wales; M Schofield, England). 15 ran (judges points plus merit, an aggregate of all four judges placing 1-15) – 1, DK Evans’ Preseli Ci, judges 521/680 (merit 60); 2, DK Evans’ Ace Libanus, 492 (56); 3, N Gillon’s Shweep (Sweep), 477 (52); 4, C Cropper’s Penllwyn Fly, 434 (47); 5, A Owen’s Llangwm Cap, 426 (44.5); 6, TW Longton’s Maya, 406 (40); 7, F Shennan’s Mia, 384 (34); 8, P O’ Donnell’s Limber, 382 (33.5); 9, P Martin’s Daisy, 374 (29); 10, JS Howard’s Bill, 360 (24); 11, AD Carnegie’s Linburn Rook, 337 (19); 12, RFM Ellis’ Bronallt Sweep, 328 (17); 13, DM Howells’ Rock, 313 (13); 14, R Henderson’s Jude, 261 (8); 15, M Jones’ Nan, DQ (4).

Brace (Judges, S Gallagher, Ireland; JG Templeton, Scotland; G Evans, Wales; R Dean, England). 1, J Maginn’s Kate and Lad, Ire, 379/560; 2, G Jones’ Fran and Maddie, Wales, 378; 3, C McGarry’s Cora and Tara, Ire, 368; 4, R Hutchinson’s Denwyn Moya and Jock, Eng, 360; 5, K Cropper’s Tsarvo and Zac, Eng, 349; 6, A McKenzie’s Bhoy and Mist, S, 339; 7, B McConnell’s Roy and Sky, Wales, 276; 8, G Gardner’s Meg and Nan, S, 247;

OTHER prizes:

Stirling Team Shield (top 12 dogs) – 1, Scotland, 3840; 2, Wales, 3595; 3, England, 3280; 4, Ireland, 3036.

Young handler – E McNaught’s Quories Moxy, Wales.

Driving championship – R Henderson’s Jude, Scotland.