E Anglian Supermatch, 25/02/17
photos Alan V Walker
TOP DOGS and Top Puppies of East Anglia were once again welcomed to the annual East Anglian Supermatch held at the St Ivo Centre in St Ives, Cambridgeshire last Saturday. Avoiding the clash with Pawscars and holding the event a week earlier had paid off for Huntingdonshire Canine Society last year and once again, a similar number of people attended.
There had been one major question mark over the event as Hannah Thompson had stepped down as secretary of HCS and Supermatch organiser and the question was whether Allayna Allen would be prepared to take it on? Fortunately, the answer was yes so it was full steam ahead and the event could continue. I gather that now she has done it once and survived, she is ready to tweak it a little for 2018.
While the exhibits might have qualified by winning BIS and BPIS or in some cases, reserve wins, via the twenty three participating open show societies in East Anglia, gathering the information as to whether they will be attending or not is never an easy task and, like all occasions when a response is required, takes some chasing. Of the 23 societies, nine made a donation to help with the purchase of raffle prizes for the ‘fiver’ raffle which takes place during dinner.
Aware that it is a long day for both dogs and owners, the Supermatch started half an hour earlier this year and guests quickly settled themselves at their tables which were decorated with dark blue irises and anemones in a very modern style; the slim bow tied vases, reminiscent of milk bottles were also miniaturised with grape hyacinths as an additional feature. This was repeated at the judges’ and commentary tables as well, where there was yet another change of compere this year with Avril Bird taking over the microphone making announcements and telling us about the exhibits, their charming and not so charming habits and other bits of useful information as the afternoon stretched into evening. Avril was ably supported by Sue Brain the treasurer and former committee member Linda Wilson who had come down from Lincolnshire for the occasion with her husband Arnot who also found himself on duty.
Wendy Cross took charge of the hospitality as the judges arrived; all with a long association with the Supermatch having won top position in both the adult and puppy competitions over the years and well known throughout the world of dogs, so they needed little introduction. Jackie Kitchener who has awarded CCs for over 35 years and is approved to judge 12 breeds and the utility group was very happy to follow in her father’s footsteps some 20 years on. Claire Boggia, whose family was the first name I remember in dogs when my parents started showing Labradors at the Kent shows in the 1950s. Her first show dog, a brindle greyhound came from Dagmar Kennis Pordham, herself a former Supermatch judge. Claire awards CCs in Salukis, Greyhounds, Whippets and French Bulldogs. The final judge, Tan Negrecha is rarely out of the news in the dog papers, with his top winning St Bernards. He awards CCs in 14 breeds across the working, pastoral and terrier groups and last year was awarded the top breeder award at the Pawscars.
The draw had already been made and Jacqui started off judging the first round with Claire completing the round and Tan following through to take the dogs down to four. The first pairing was Toastie, the Shar Pei, kennel name Witchgait Secret Keeper, owned and bred by Sharon Sutherland. Toastie has two CCs, nine RCCs and was joint top utility puppy last year, BPIS at Bournemouth, RBPIS at Border Union and Eukanuba puppy year finals overall runner up. She is the sixth generation Shar Pei Sharon has bred and is very fit and active just like her owner as they go running together. Toastie met Peggy the Whippet, or to give her her correct name, Shalfleet Pgegy Sue owned and bred by Jane Wilton-Clark and went on to the final.
The other two semi-finalists were Prue the 14 month old Wire Dachshund, Derochaise Elusia owned and bred by Eileen Maes-Jones and Viv Bates, and David and Roxanne Simms’ Siberian Husky, Arcticskies Mirror Image known at home as Lorenzo, a very laid back dog. Prue enjoys digging the garden and grass cutting when not at shows and won BIS and BPIS at the Hound Club of East Anglia and BPIS at the Hitchin show as well as having five championship show first places and she went on to the final to be beaten by Toastie the Shar Pei. The final decision for top puppy was judged by all three judges who were unanimous in their choice.
After a short break, judging continued for Top Dog of East Anglia, using the same format and with Tan starting the judging off followed by Jacqui and then Claire who took the dogs down to the final four. They were the 22 month old Wolfhound Glengail Ggilmour at Floydian, owned by Deborah Treadwell and bred by Steve and Lesley Bradley. Known as Dave at home, he is something of a gentle giant and brought with him a whole table of supporters. We are always told something about the dog and Dave can be something of a thief having helped himself to another exhibitor’s packed lunch left on the bench at a championship show. His main wins are overall BIS at Luton premier show and runner up Junior Wolfhound of the Year and RBD at Driffield. Dave met Mandy Holmes’ 3 year old Border Terrier Ir Ch Barney Caramel Wafer at Bimandi and went through to the final. Mandy is a great supporter of the Supermatch, has won top honours and been a semi-finalist for three consecutive years and rarely a year goes by when she is not qualified.
The final pair was Tracey Pittock’s 3 year old, homebred Japanese Spitz Cheechako Kristofferson, Kris, who met Koko the 2½ year old Pomeranian Ch Shelkovy Nos Unique Land Southampton Wolf at Angelrock owned by Paulette D’arcy, Nigel Duffield and Jackie James handled by Nigel and bred by Mrs S Schipova. Koko was Dog World top Pomeranian 2016 and has 16 CCs and six RCCs, one BIS, four RBIS, seven BOB, G1, G2 and PG1 to his credit. The three judges consulted once again and were unanimous that Koko, who had put in a great performance from start to finish, was declared Top Dog of East Anglia over Dave the Irish Wolfhound.
Best Presented Female was Megan Phillips who handled a Pomeranian. Also pictured is Rachel Newel.
Every competitor received a smart rosette with their dog’s name printed on the tails of the rosette when they finally left the ring along with a bag of Royal Canin and the top winners received framed rosettes as a permanent memento of the occasion.
More photos and presentations to the judges followed including the award for the best presented duos, (handlers and dogs) voted for by the spectators from their tables. The winners were Phil Reid in the kilt and Megan Phillips wearing a beautiful, almost ethereal dress carried off to perfection. I must say that many of the exhibitors had gone to a lot of trouble to complement their dogs. Megan came from lucky table number 13 which managed to scoop the £50 raffle run during the evening and many of the raffle prizes! Lucky number for some!
Best Presented Male was Phil Reid who handled PBGVs. Also pictured is Rachel Newel.
The not to be missed ‘fiver’ raffle, which is done during dinner raised £655 for the Animal Health Trust Cancer Centre was a magnificent amount to raise in a short space of time.
With the business side of the evening over it was time to relax, dine, chat and dance to music coming from Roger and his Starlite Show while many were thinking about heading off to a show or a meeting the following day.
New secretary Alayna Allen and chairman Alison Mount made presentations to the three judges Tan Nagrecha, Clare Boggia and Jackie Kitchener.
The event was generously sponsored by Royal Canin and Dog World, Dorwest, Vine Technical Services Ltd, Pawprint and Star Beds. Without their sponsorship this enjoyable evening with the opportunity to dress up and to show off some of the best dogs in the region could not take place.
The committee behind the table containing the raffle prizes.