Sherborne Castle Country Fair - 29th May 2017

The Retriever & Spaniel Team Challenges 2017

Sponsored by BASC, Chudleys Dog Food & Hi Lost

Gundogs have been a major part of the Fair since it began 22 years ago. It was at the Sherborne Castle Country Fair that the first International Gundog Event for Retrievers took place in 2002. After that event moved on to Highclere Castle in 2006, the Retriever Team Challenge immediately filled its place, attracting many of the most highly qualified working retrievers in the South and West of the UK and even overseas. Since then the Spaniel Team Challenge became established and both the Retriever and Spaniel Team Challenges continue over a decade later to be a highly popular part of the Sherborne Castle Country Fair.

Generously sponsored and supported by the British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC), Chudley's Dog Food and gundog equipment suppliers Hi Lost, 56 dogs in 16 teams took part in the annual Gundog Team Challenges this year at the Sherborne Castle Country Fair. For both the Spaniel and Retriever Team Challenges, the format comprises a number of working tests, run to Kennel Club rules and regulations. Using blank gunfire and canvas dummies instead of game, the tests simulate situations likely to be encountered during the shooting season. Many thanks go to the judges and to the large number of volunteers who gave up their time to make the day run so successfully.

The Retriever Team Challenge

Eight teams of four dogs spent the morning in the Deer Park moving in a circuit to take part in four tests. These included a seen and a blind retrieve in bracken, a marked retrieve and a long blind over a deep gully, 2 deceptively tricky blind retrieves and a 'drive' in reedy woodland. Our thanks go to Judy Rainey and Stuart Robson who set these interesting and varied tests, at the end of which the Top Dog was determined. The team scores continued in the afternoon with a timed water test in the lake by the castle. This gives an opportunity for the public to see the retrievers in action and always attracts a large crowd of spectators. Many thanks go to our judges for giving of their time, expertise and for remaining cheerful despite the inclement weather.

  • Winning Team : Wiltshire Working Gundog Club
  • 2nd Place : South Eastern Gundog Society
  • 3rd Place : United Retriever Club - Hants & South West
  • Top Dog : Slipside Ebony, Labrador Retriever Bitch, owned and handled by Paul Green


Barry Taylor, Colin Pelham, Liz Taylor & Vickie Prichard

The Spaniel Team Challenge

All eight spaniel teams came together for a testing day, not least in terms of the weather. 4 teams started the day by the lake with a seen retrieve from water and a blind to follow. The other 4 teams started in the Old Park with a hunt-up, then a seen retrieve and a blind over a path. As they completed a task they moved onto the next.

After lunch we had 2 seen retrieves with a distraction in the woods of the Old Park. The tests were challenging and really stretched the dogs and handlers!

Thanks must go to our judges who gave their time and expertise on a day of heavy rain squalls.

  • Winning Team : The ladies of the Cornwall Field Trial Society
  • 2nd Place : Dorset Working Spaniel Club
  • 3rd Place : Bristol & West
  • Top Dog : Edgegrove Opal, English Springer Spaniel bitch, handled by Andy Faulkner


Mr. G West, Mr. N Greggory & Mr. J Davis