ABB Autumn Championship Trials at Stow-on-the-Wold Senior Stake Thursday 4th October 2012 Judge Report by Alan Taylor
I would like to thank the A.B.B for inviting me to judge the senior stake at Stow-on-the-Wold.  lt was a most enjoyable day with good weather, beautiful scenery and good company.  All Hounds showed some good hunting in parts, the weather was sunny with a stiff breeze blowing from the west. LINE ONE Joy with BONHAM BONHAM had a good green start along the side of a wood then turning uphill to a gate in the corner of the next field which he marked well.  The line went diagonally across the next field which he did at a good pace marking the gate, the next field was still grass and the line ran parallel with the road to a hunt jump which Joy put him over and he went 50 yards on line, when Joy was not convinced and pulled him back to the hunt jump and cast around both sides of the jump with no success, trying over the jump back in the stubble made their way across, not on line but in the right direction.  I had to leave at this point and Joy asked for assistance shortly after this.  BONHAM did the first half of the line very well which was all grass but struggled with a change of ground condition.
LINE TWO Matthew with BUDDY Whilst waiting to start a tractor was working the ground and getting closer to the line.  As he started the tractor crossed the line, but did not cause too much of a problem. Matthew and BUDDY went across the next grass field at great pace until confronted by cows on the line.  After getting past the cows, BUDDY went left and over a fence, and hunted around a wood, then across a stubble field over a brow and out sight.  When l got to the top of the hill, Matthew and BUDDY were nowhere to be seen, so l followed the line which took a sharp turn left onto a footpath through a wood only to find out BUDDY had missed the turn and gone up the valley.  My assistants reported BUDDY marked the footpath two or three times with Matthew not believing him when they did go through the wood up the footpath. Once out the other side they struggled to own the line with any confidence. LINE THREE Anne with SUSIE Set off nicely in a stubble field into a second stubble field and went to her right, possibly hunting game because she stopped and looked at Mum for help.  After casting up and down the next green field she found the line and hunted very well, around a turn to the next gate which went into a field of sheep which SUSIE found very difficult find scent but made her way to the road crossing.  Started again nicely across the next grass field but the line touched the footpath before turning right down the next field.  However, SUSIE went down the footpath.  Anne, sensing this was not right brought her back, but did not run the line with any conviction after this point.
LINE FOUR Jill with JUSTICE The start of this line was in a field that had just been sown with winter wheat.  The line walker had walked the headland and JUSTICE hunted this speaking as he went.  The next field was stubble with the straw still in the swath, as JUSTICE cast himself he was speaking true to the line which made my day.  After the next stubble field it was a field that had been sown after the line walker had crossed it so I suggested she cast in the opposite corner, picking up the line they had a very deep ditch with a double fence to cross.  This negotiated; they hunted on to the road crossing nicely. After the road crossing it was a sown field which they worked across with a big thick hedge to negotiate, then two large sown fields, which the line walker had walked along the edge three quarters of the way, across the second field was a right turn which JUSTICE, missed.  He then struggled to get out of the field because of some very big fences and hedges.  Once a way out was found they picked up the line and hunted the last mile across a mixture of stubble and old pasture very well speaking as he went with no I D.  This was the best work of the day and I awarded a C of M and the Speaking Cup, well done in very difficult conditions.
I would like to thank Duncan and Simon for assisting me, for Barry as manager and looking after us so well.  The scenery was beautiful with autumn colours and in particular one place on line 3, Simon and myself was guessing how far we could see, 10 - 20 miles maybe more.  I would also like to thank our President, Ron, for his hospitality.  I think the word got out as the senior day was very well attended and I hope everybody enjoyed the day, I certainly did.  Thank you. ALAN TAYLOR. 30/10/2012