Successful penning and shedding with Ben and daughter, Meg ensured that Iain MacDonald triumphed at Knocknagael, with the top two places to his credit.

The Cheviot and cross hoggs could be sticky at times and the topography of the field created problems for dogs and handlers turning them round the post on to the drive away. The course was set on what was basically flat ground, but at two levels, with the starting post and pen set on the higher ground and a drop down a small bank leading to the main, lower area of the course. As dogs turned the sheep on to the first leg of the drive, the descent of the bank tended to give the hoggs thoughts of freedom of movement and independence while the rise up the bank could disrupt the return to the pen.

Ben (D Rees’ Cap, R Shaw’s Bet) ran out to his sheep, but they came away at an angle. Ben got them on line, and although the hoggs strayed on the way in, Ben worked well at Iain’s feet. The line of the first leg of the drive wavered, but the cross drive was better and the return to the pen very good. A clean pen and shed secured first place.

Iain’s Meg (I MacDonald’s Ben and June) got off to a better start and had a good fetch. Her turn was wider than Ben’s, and again, the line wavered on the drive away, but the improvement on the rest of the drive matched Ben’s. A good pen and a clean shed put the run into second place, ahead of third on outbye.

Peter Martin's Ivy (K Freeman’s Mac, K Howlett’s Meg) worked steadily from the start and kept a good line on the fetch and around Peter’s feet. The drive went well, with only minor wavers. A good pen followed, but at the shed, insufficient attention to the discarded sheep detracted from the run and Ivy took third place.

Hamish Mitchell’s Dan (JP McGee’s Glencregg Silver, D Mullaney’s Nan) ran out and lifted cleanly and had an excellent fetch. Dan had trouble keeping the sheep on line on the bank leading up to the post and on the drive away, but a clean pen had him well ahead of the field before the bell sounded on an unfinished run which earned fourth place.

The open trial was held in memory of the late Jim McIntyre and raised £1395 for the Scottish National trial fund.

Scotland has now completed the nursery league season with the announcement of the district teams (see below) which will compete head on at the Scottish Nursery Final on Saturday, March 2 at Low Balyett Farm, Stranraer DG9 8QL.

Leading Awards

Jim MacIntyre Memorial, Knocknagael (Judge: E MacKinnon, Coullags). Open – 51 ran – 1, I MacDonald’s Ben, Staffin, 85; 2, I MacDonald’s Meg, Staffin, 83 outbye; 3, P Martin’s Ivy, Glenlyon, 83; 4, H Mitchell’s Dan, Glenfarg, 82 outbye; 5, D MacRitchie’s Moor Lodge Nell, Ness, 82; 6, P Martin’s Tilly, Glenlyon, 81; £1395 raised for Scottish National trial fund including donation from Tomatin SDS.

Local district Nursery league teams (some with comparative points for the season).

Shetland – 1, B Smith’s Glen, Dunrossness, 49; 2, J Ramsay’s Sally, Ollaberry, 47; 3, J Nicolson’s Abby, Scalloway, 46; 4, J Ramsay’s Lyn, Ollaberry, 43; 5, R Colclough’s Marje, West Sandwick, 37.

North – 1, I Sutherland’s Dan (Hielan Cap), Strathnaver, 75; 2, D Worthington’s Bob (Albert), Skarfskerry, 70; 3, G Simpson’s Greiston Mick, Forgue, 57; 4, H Cooper’s Roy, New Deer, 46; 5, J Grant’s Nell, Dunbeath, 44; res, N Sutherland’s Usk Valley Rex, Strathnaver, 34.

Central – 1, M Gallagher’s Hillrunner Bee, Alyth, 62.5; 2, M Gallagher’s Dalriada Chief, Alyth, 61; 3, S Martin’s Cherry, Cashlie, 51.5; 4, K Dickson’s Llwynsarn Sky, Fintry, 50; 5, E Nilsson’s Dalriada Amy, Alyth, 46.5; res, AD Carnegie’s Dot, Comrie, 37.

Lanark, Lothian and Peeblesshire – 1, S Morgan’s Mainstay Pip, Heriot, 71; 2, H Brown’s Meg, Coulter, 49; 3, IM Brownlie’s Lark, Dunbar, 47; 4, IM Brownlie’s Beck, Dunbar, 45; 5, I Fleming’s Wheatwood Ruby, Douglas, 40; res, GC Gardner’s Glant Bob, Lesmahagow, 27.

Borders – 1, J Foster’s Cap, Earlston, 58; 2, I Jackson’s Zac, Ancrum, 42; 3, J Robinson’s Nap, Coldingham, 35; 4, WS Elliot’s Roy, Yetholm, 34; 5, E Foster’s Glen, Brotherston, 28; res, A Dickman’s Lady, Oxton, 28.

Dumfries and Kirkcudbright – 1, F Shennan’s Fred, Barr, 76; 2, AR Mundell’s Jock, Moffat; 64; 3, F Shennan’s Nap, Barr, 59; 4, D Robertson’s Zak, Langholm, 53; 5, T Blacklock’s Mist, Kirkconnel, 33; Res., J Thomson’s Roy, Carsphairn, 29.

Wigtownshire – 1, I McMillan’s Cat, Newton Stewart, 38; 2, M Young’s Duncailleann Tandy, Stranraer, 35; 3, K Keith’s Foinaven Ellie, Lockerbie, 32; 4, S McCrindle’s Duncailleann Play, Stranraer, 32; 5, A Stewart’s Annandale Spot, Lockerbie, 26; res, C Armstrong’s Mirk, Archbank, 20;

South Ayrshire – 1, R Welsh’s Fly, Prestwick, 47; 2, W Welsh’s Jan, Dalcairney, 42; 3, J Shennan’s Dak, Barr, 25; 4, N Gillon’s Uno, Barr, 25; 5, A McCulloch’s Storybrooke Guy, Dalmellington, 24; res. J Welsh’s Bob, Beoch, 21.

North Ayrshire – 1, E Gray’s Greylees Flute, Ardros; 2, I Lockhart’s Roy, Carsphairn; 3, SL Davidson’s Mac, Sandbank; 4, C Toner’s Fernhill Spot, Drimsynie; 5, L Gast’s (Scalpsie Kelp) Herbie, Scalpsie; res, E Gray’s Mainstay Jock, Ardros.

Arran and Kintyre –1, I McConnell’s Fly, Lamlash; 2, J Shanks’ Link, Ardtornish; 3, J MacKillop's Glen, Fort Augustus; 4, R Rennie’s Ash, Furness; 5, JC MacLachlan's Craig, Spean Bridge; Res, W Stevenson’s Tweeddale Morag, Whiting Bay.