Sun 24 Oct 2021, Orton Waterville

Level 5: Judge - Justine Steele

Village Hall, 11 Glebe Avenue, Orton Waterville, Peterborough. PE25EN

Start: 0930
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Justine Steele

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

As usual I was excited to be judging another SWUK trial. I was also thrilled to be back at Orton Waterville Village Hall a place used previously only a couple of times by myself for training and over 18 months ago!
Many thanks to my team as usual of Victoria who is a star regarding getting you all to the searches on time and Karl who on his first stint at scribing duties took to it beautifully…some lovely maps were drawn!!
I will also at this point congratulate Sue Mcauliffe and Tiva who seemingly waited(!) until today so that I could have the honour of presenting their L5 Excellence Title. Many Congratulations indeed…
The first interior search consisted of five finds in five minutes, which may have been slightly predictable given the size of the hall however I had two gun oil on the right hand side and the other three were all clove on the left. I positioned the entry point to the search all the way to the right side and almost on top of the first target scent. Most teams got off to a good start although a lot of handlers and some dogs did feel drawn to the collection of luggage in the centre of the hall. Looking back some may feel that the time spent on this luggage may have been disproportionate to the time spent on the rest of the area!!
Unfortunately David and his lovely old boy Nikan couldn’t seem to get started in this area and as a result was unable to qualify moving forward having found only one. However, as a team they picked up and found every single find in the rest of the trial, collecting bonuses and without dropping any handling marks. I suspect achieving 100 points and not qualifying is a rare feat and deserves a certificate and rosette in itself!
The exterior search consisted of four finds in an upside down L shape. They were fairly equally set apart and I felt this was going to be quite a standard test with plenty of time of four minutes. This however was not the case for a couple of teams, memorably Ruth and BooBoo correctly calling the fourth target just as time was being called!!
I felt the most difficult of the four was the second scent on the right which was in a seam in the wall. Many dogs were interested on the floor directly below, but failed to track back up the wall to the source. Ruth and Dot at this point we are in great shape having found all and were to become overall winners when their closest rival fell at the last and missed two in the final search area, preferring to sniff out some crumbs!! (Don’t worry Chumley I will protect your privacy!)
Moving onto the the final test, the second interior search consisted of a small corridor opening up into a relatively small room that was mostly empty except for stacks of chairs with a sink and cupboard just to the right as you enter the room. The first target was again early in the cap of a radiator perhaps 2m into the search on the left. Some teams shot past this area, straight into the room where the searching properly began. Most did find they were able to come back within the time and find the target in the corridor in the four minutes that were allowed.
Moving forward into L6 and L7 the tests start to get more difficult in terms of decreased time but also with regards to position of target scents to be found. There may be more debris and sometimes the scented articles are not so equally spaced out so that actually the search areas start messing with your head!!! Add to that the addition of Truffle and then the decoy I suspect the Wrong Alerts may play their part as they have for many today. It’s always been my motto to ‘Train more than Trial’ and that actually ‘a Trial Day is a Training Day!!’
Good luck Teams, I can’t wait to see you again in the future…

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