What a disappointment 2020 has been. The Spring started promisingly as FTCh Ballyellen Tango had an impressive 1st showing what he is capable of, on that very tough hill – Slieveanorra in the NI Pointer Club’s Spring Open, satisfying judges Andy Law and Stephen Clarke that he was a worthy winner taking 1st place.
Bad weather called a halt to or severely hampered another couple of Spring Trials, but a much worse calamity was about to end the season very prematurely. The COVID-19 Coronavirus landed with a vengeance on our islands in March and all activity ceased.
The summer saw a hope of Trials in Ireland as the Irish Kennel Club granted licences for some trials, but with a very limited number of people able to attend – limited to 15 which included the 2 judges and a COVID Officer. The Irish Championship had had to be postponed until September to allow the reducing of some restrictions which would enable it to run. I only took 2 dogs to this – what with the likelihood of no trials in 2020, I had not put much work into my Open dogs and only competed with FTCh Ballyellen Tango and Gortinreagh Jack Duggan. Game was scarce – and despite some excellent running in 3 rounds, Tango did not meet birds. Jack had had an encounter with game in Round 1 and was named best English Setter over the 2 days.
The Ulster Clubs hoped to run trials in October, but a tightening of restriction just before then, meant all possible events were cancelled and the season was officially over.
I got to spend more time with my younger dogs and have been pleased with their progress, but unfortunately travel restrictions have meant my training trips have had to be curtailed and the cancellation of trials mean there have been no Novice trials to test them in.
We sincerely hope that 2021 sees something of a return to some sense of normality.