A Hawke's Bay sheep dog triallist who was part of the history-making breakthrough by female triallists in the 2019 round of national and island championships will have one of the biggest teams of dogs at the year's South Island and New Zealand Championships in Southland next week
Becs Scragg, a member of the Wairoa Collie Club, is lining up six dogs at the championship that start on Monday, hosted by the Southland Sheep Dog Trial Centre and the Greenvale Sheep Dog Trial Club at Leithen Valley Farm, off Switzers Rd, north of Gore.
Only Poverty Bay triallist Leo Edginton has more, with seven, among the 13 which he and staff from the hill country station he runs near Tolaga Bay.
The championships have attracted a big of entry of almost 500 dogs, with 251 trialists, from retired farmers still pottering with one or two in the kennel to young shepherd, as the sport bounces back from the Covid-10 enforced cancellation last year.
With dogs each entered in two classes – two heading or two hunts – over 900 runs of up to 15 minutes each will take place in the South Island championships during the week, with the top seven in each class qualifying for the New Zealand title runoffs.
At the 2019 South Island championships near Hanmer Springs in inland North Canterbury, Scragg, then known under the pre-married handle of Becs Baynes, was one of three women among the seven in the zig zag hunt runoff.
With sheep dog Jazz she was sixth, but the class was won by Poverty Bay trialist Jo Waugh with Guy, the first time a female handler had won either an island or New Zealand championships title in the history of the events dating back to 1911.
Otago trialist Steph Tweed was third in the same runoff with Lou, but a few weeks later superseded the Waugh effort by winning the North Island and New Zealand straight hunt titles with second dog Grit in Northland.
Scragg was the star performer of the early Hawke's Bay season and featured in a New Zealand Rural Games teams match in Palmerston North in March, and on the northern Southland hills will also have huntaways Brook, Fred, Scooby and Tom, and heading dog Floss.
Waugh will have Guy and two others, and Tweed will also have a team and three, including Lou.
More than 20 triallists will travel from Hawke's Bay and Southern Hawke's Bay, among them Hawke's Bay centre president Rocky Hawkins who has the three stars of his centre championships, in huntaways Box and Kane and heading dog Jean.
Among others are former big-title winners Bob Bruce, Kevin O'Connor, Laurie Horsfall, Kevin Connor and Southern Hawke's Bay triallist Guy Peacock, with two dogs, including Chief, with which he won the national short head and yard title near Blenheim in 2018 – the from Hawke's Bay to win a New Zealand championships title.
While it will be a big week for the more busy triallists – Scragg is expected to go through at least 12 runs – it will be an even bigger week for Hawke's Bay triallist Grant Magee, who has at least five days ahead of him in the judging box.
Results from the 2021 North Island Sheep Dog Trials Championships at Te Ore Ore, Masterton, on April 26-30:
Long head: Stuart Child (Te Anga) and Brodie, 93.5, 95, 188.5pts, 1; Mark Copland (Methven) and Don, 95.5, 91, 186.5pts, 2; Graham Wellington (Aria) and J Lo, 93, 92, 185pts, 3; Lex Gratten (Kaitieke) and Crew, 94, 90.5, 184.5pts, 4; Graham Wellington (Aria) and Murphy, 95, 87.5, 182.5pts, 5; Brian Dickison (Greenvale) and Cole, 94.5, 87, 181.5pts, 6; Bernard Arends (Makotuku) and Tarn, 92.75, 78, 170.75pts, 7.
Short head and yard: Mike Evans (Omihi) and Dawn, 94.5, 93, 187.5pts, 1; Guy Peacock (Makotuku) and Slim, 96, 90, 186pts, 2; Guy Peacock (Makotuku) and Chief, 95.5, 89, 184.5pts, 3; Neil Evans (Omihi) and Lad, 94.75, 89.5, 184.25pts, 4; Brian Dickison (Greenvale) and Mack, 95, 86, 181pts, 5; Merv Utting (Poverty Bay) and Fern, 94, 63.5, 157.5pts, 6; Merv Utting (Poverty Bay) and Guy, 96.5, 35, 131.5pts, 7.
Zig zag hunt: Henry Hindmarsh (Tolaga Bay) and Prudence, 98, 95, 193pts, 1; Guy Collins (Tolaga Bay) and Mia, 97.7, 94, 191.7pts, 2; Bruce Parkinson (Raetihi) and Holly, 97.2, 93, 190.2pts, 3; Tim Macpherson (Rangiwahia) and Gus, 97.5, 88, 185.5pts, 4; Ben Te Kahika (Waingake) and Rogue, 97, 87, 184pts, 5; Ethan Smith (Marlborough) and Chub, 96.5, 86, 182.5pts, 6; Jimmy Davy (Tokorima) and Milo, 96.7, 84, 180.7pts, 7.
Straight hunt: Grant Plaisted (Waikari) and Coke, 97.3, 97, 194.3pts, 1; Ned Grorge (Wairoa), 96.5, 97.5, 194pts, 2; Lloyd Smith (Waihemo) and Charlie, 97, 96, 193pts, 3; Tom Manson (Mohaka) and Chief, 97.5, 95, 192.5pts, 4; Tim Stevenson (Dannevirke) and Banjo, 97.2, 92.5, 189.7pts, 5; Angus Spence (Mangamahu) and Brin, 96.75, 90.5, 187.25pts, 6; Leo Edginton (Tolaga Bay) and Bully, 96.6, 89, 185.6pts, 7.