When Northland hosts the North Island and New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Championships at Te Ahuahu from May 27 to June 1, the region's top dog triallists will be defending the Cyril Perry Provincial Trophy they secured in Blenheim in 2018.
This trophy is sometimes referred to as the Ranfurly Shield of dog trialling.
The New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association is made up of 13 centres (provinces) which all compete for supremacy when a national championship is held.
This trophy was presented to the New Zealand association 30 years ago by the Perry family in memory of CP Perry MBE and the service he gave to the dog trials in New Zealand.
Cyril Perry served on the National Council of NZ association for 28 years and, for 11 of those, he was the national president. No one in the New Zealand dog trial history has come even close to challenging this record.
While president, he was responsible for getting the Dog Show on television, won a national shorthead and yard in 1977 and judged in every North Island Centre, hence his being awarded an MBE.
The Cyril Perry Shield is awarded to the top centre in the NZ championship runoffs.
The four events — two heading, two huntaway — have seven finalists in each and they are awarded from seven points for the winners down to one point for the seventh placing.
Some centres in New Zealand have never won this trophy. Northland was one of these until 2018 at the Blenheim nationals.
Last year Northland had three finalists with five dogs between them which was an amazing achievement in itself but they were judged so highly they accumulated a total of 25 points for their overall success.
Neville Child with Harry won Event 1, beating his brother Murray, and Dice into second place.
Scott McRae with Cory was fifth in the same event. In Event 3 Scott McRae and Toby were third and in Event 4 Murray Child and Ralph were fourth.
These three men and their dogs are in great form this trial season and have every reason to think they can do well at the coming championship.
Having a home town advantage maybe some help but the fact they won this trophy in Blenheim shows that home town is not always successful. All Northlanders will be hoping for some local success.