I would like to thank the ABB for inviting me to judge novice stake at autumn trials, and the landowners and farmers of the Cotswolds who allowed us to use the land.  It was my first judging appointment and I cannot say how much I appreciated the experience and capabilities of my two assistants, Mr Keith Long and Mr. Matthew Price.  Their help was truly invaluable. Thank you to the stake managers, Barry and MAC for setting the lines of the day and getting everyone to where they should be at the correct times.  Thank you also to the linewalkers, Christine for road marshalling, Julia for our much needed lunches, and everyone who helped a busy day run so smoothly. In particular, thank you to all who competed. It was a pleasure to watch your hounds hunting. A lovely green start for line 1 on a beautiful bright morning. A very happy hound made a steady start and speeded up somewhat in the 2nd field. He got to the corner where we watched the hound checking.  The hound was a bit too deep in the 3rd field but kept working.  By the penultimate field the hound had lost some of his initial enthusiasm and the handler was leading the hound from this point and continued ahead of the hound through the last field. The hound was encouraged into the line walker which he did with a nice wag of his tail.
ABB Autumn Championship Trials at Stow-on-the-Wold   Novice Stake Monday 1st October 2012 
 Judge Report by Joy Cook
Line 1. Fiona McKenzie and Sanft Charger of Moorlander
Line 2. Nick Sutcliffe and Sanft Daylight Another lush green field to start in. In the 1st field the line went to the right of the trees, but Nick and his hound went straight down the field to the hedgerow at the bottom where they picked up the line which went off to the left.  Correctly they went through the gate, but then went off to the left where the line went straight on, leaving them in the wrong field.  They kept on working and were left with Matt, who said they didn’t regain the line but got round with a nice id. Line 3. Rob Manley and Ch. Trailfinder Kitchener What a funny start.  Keith and I got to the start of line 3 and were informed that the hound didn’t want to get out of his van.  With a bit of coaxing and some biscuits he reluctantly got out and was harnessed up.  Once he was at the flags he was in a better frame of mind and took off positively in a clover field. He went through the gate and correctly swept down to the left keeping close to the hedge and followed the line round and through the 2nd field at a good pace. Over the track, into the 3rd field 6 dogs were being exercised off lead when the hound entered the field.  Although a bit distracted he was encouraged to hunt on through that field and through a metal gate on the left. Once into the last field he continued on line at great pace into the runner, unfortunately with no id.
Line 4. Jackie Wallace and Sherlock Charming A really positive start through the 1st field correctly on the line at a good pace. At the metal gates pilgrim checked and continued straight forward into a field of cattle  whereas the line had gone diagonally down to the corner of the field. The hound continued nose down completely un- perturbed by the vast amount of cattle and for a while the cattle didn’t mind the dog sharing their field. By the time Jackie got Pilgrim to the gate the cattle wanted them out and began to drive them out of their field. After some delay to get out of the corner, into the next field ,they were back on line at which point I left them with Matt to finish. They picked up pace again, but unfortunately chose the wrong gate between a choice of two in the last field. Came in with a good finish and id. Line 5. Duncan Robertson and Rache Lancealot This unrestricted hound set off slowly on a green uphill start, casting round and checking beautifully.  The hound momentarily went off to the left but came back and continued steadily up to the left hand corner of the field. As soon as they reached the corner into the 2nd field he was off and did not stop, unquestionably on line, positively marking gates, over a hunt jump and kept the line without faultering.  It was a pleasure to watch.  Found his linewalker in 14 minutes, unfortunately no id. photo
Line 6. Nick Sutcliffe and Sanft Dawn Started keenly in a clover field which had grown thick and long and was hard to walk through, let alone run.  The hound moved steadily over the ground and came into the next field where the line went up the right hand side of a plantation.  The hound was doing beautifully to this point.  At the top of the field there was a road crossing on the right hand side which the handler and hound could not have failed to see but went off to the left and into a 3rd field.  The handler was whistled back and brought back to the crossing where the hound started off nicely again doing a deep loop, keeping to the line. Keith stayed with Nick who reported that they kept to the line and as Matt and I came to the next start we were able to see the hound coming in enthusiastically. Line 7. Chantal Van Raemdonck and Harvey Truffe Medievale The breeze was getting up as we started line 7, again in a lush green field. The hound set away from the flags enthusiastically and was deterred from playing with the scent article. In the 2nd field he checked the hunt jump, then decided to go off to the corner where they went through a gate, realised they were stuck in a copse and came back.  The hound marked the hunt jump twice then went off to the right came back and marked the jump again and eventually was put over.  Matt stayed as we moved on to the next line.  The handler was whistled back, put back onto the line and hunted in well with a lovely id which may have been worthy of an award if the hound had hunted more of the line.
Line 8. Jill Harrington and Houndsong Caruzzo Line 8 was started in a strong breeze and in contrast to all the previous lines in a field of stubble.  The hound wanted to loop out further to the right, away from the hedge line which would have been correct but was brought off and kept too far to the left. The hound crossed into the plough to the left and than came back and handler and dog pushed on into a 2nd field of stubble.  They picked up the line at this point which went off to the left in front of a barn, into a field of plough.  There was a green track running along the top of the ploughed field which we thought the runner might have taken but the hound chose the plough. Confirming later with the line walker, the hound was right to do so. They worked over the plough, left around the trees and onto soil.  They had overshot a bit but got round and came in to the finish. Line 9. Billy Page and Anluan Cerdwin The breeze had gone and all was calm again for the start of this line in a green meadow. What a reluctant start. Despite all Billy’s efforts and encouragements the hound simply did not want to hunt. Billy pushed his hound on and got into the 2nd field which was a green valley.  10 minutes in and nothing. The hound wasn't interested.  Billy led her up the hill through a gate and Keith followed, eventually getting round. It was just not this hound's day!
Line 10. Fiona McKenzie and Farlap Baracnik of Moorlander Another start in a green field.  The line looped away from the wall.  The hound was too close to the wall at first but then went back towards the middle of the field where he picked up the line. They got to a gate which the hound checked and went through. Unconvinced they came back and checked the hunt jump and the hound rightly identified it as the line. Unable to get the hound over, they went back to the gate, went through and came down to the other side of the hunt jump to pick up the line. They worked nicely from this point, through a field of stubble where the hound was stuck in the corner waiting for Fiona to help him through.  In the last field he kept to the line but stopped short of the line walker and would not come in to acknowledge despite best efforts of the handler. Line 11. Peter Whiteside and Farlap Bargain It was a pleasure to watch this hound steadily working the first field of plough which he did beautifully.  They got to the hunt jump which the hound identified and got over easily.
Just after, there was a gate and another hunt jump to the left which they checked, went through and came back. He cast around, checked the gate and the 2nd hunt jump again and went off to the right which bearing in mind the way the wind was blowing, may have been correct. They pushed down the field to a metal gate and were back on line. Matt followed, but Keith and I watched from a wonderful view point for a while, seeing the hound working well and correctly doing the right turn around the trees. Matt reported there was a bit of confusion in the next field but the hound worked it out without assistance. Behind the trees there was a sharp 90 degree right hand turn which the hound did correctly and got in to the finish. Line 12. Nick Sutcliffe and Clearwater’ Emerald Sanft A positive start over a stubble field.  We thought the hound may have been too far to the left but bearing in mind the wind blowing strongly to the left we were happy to accept the hound’s decision.  The hound hunted on in front of a farm building and into a 2nd field of stubble. They then crossed the boundary into the next field much further to the right than where the line went straight on.  They picked up the line again and got round nicely through yet more stubble which the hound worked very well.
Line 13. Lorraine Priestley and Marksbury Prattle at Quikotic The line started in plough to the right side of the field.  The hound continued on a bit too far as the turn to the left should have been made sooner. The hound worked nicely over the 2nd field of plough, crossed over the hedge line and did the left turn nicely and looped down to the road crossing. The hound had been quite positive to this point but then hesitated as they approached the road. Once over the road crossing Matt followed the rest of the line. Matt saw the hound to be a bit lost in the plough although he continued to work and look for the line. They drifted to the right which unfortunately meant they missed out a loop. Line 14. Martin Page and Marbilus Aston The rain came down as we started this line in a green field.  The hound set off well and skirted round in front of the trees following the line, but continued forward where the line went down to the left. The hound looked so positive that Martin followed and we questioned if the line had perhaps gone that way too. Checking our maps we whistled Martin back to get them back on line. Keith followed and they got round and finished. Line 15. Fiona McKenzie and Sherlock Tabasco of Moorlander Still raining, we set off through a long field of plough which the hound worked slowly, but nicely.  The 2nd field was green and the hound picked up pace. They made the turn before the hedge but unfortunately they should have been at the other side of the hedge.  Once they were on the correct side they were on line again but continued straight on, one field too far. Matt saw them in to the finish.  Although a bit too deep in the last field they came in nicely.
Line 16. Krist’l Bal and Sanft Chimer Keith started with this line and I caught up, as the hound worked very slowly in the first field of stubble.  When the hound eventually reached the bottom right hand corner of the field he started to work back up the right hand side of the field.  He was turned around by Krist’l and was put over a gate.  Once onto the green the pace quickened and he continued following the line straight over the field, and off through a gate to the left. He continued at a nice pace through two more gates and hunted well in the clover, coming in with a nice id. Unfortunately, the first field let them down on what was otherwise a very nice line. I was happy to be able to award first, second and third prizes in novice stake. 1. - Rache Lancealot. 2. - Ch. Trailfinder Kitchener. 3. - Farlap Baracnik of Moorlander. Certificates of merit awarded to  :- Farlap Bargain & Clearwater’ Emerald Sanft. Winning line walker  - Billy Page. Joy Cook - Judge.
Duncan Robertson with Rache Lancealot, and the Fields Trials Novice Cup