Trial of strength puts end to years of hurt; LONG OVERDUE WIN FOR NORTH WALES DOG TEAM.
NORTH Wales sheepdog handlers ended their long wait for pre-Christmas revenge when finally winning a nursery trial against their South Wales counterparts.
The region's 15-dog team, captained by Corwen's Iolo Jones, swept to victory at Pen-y-Parc fields, Bryncrug, Tywyn, last Saturday.
Leading the way was Anglesey handler Gwynfor Owen, who entered three dogs and won the competition with one of them.
On a blustery day, when dogs struggled to hear their handlers, Gwynfor kept his cool to collect the Secretaries Shield with a single-point victory over second-placed Kevin Evans from Libanus, Brecon.
And with a series of good runs from his teammates, North Wales ran out as comfortable winners, losing 215pts against the 258 points dropped by their South Wales opponents.
"It's been a good many years since we last won," said Mr Owen, a former headteacher who, towards the end of his career, worked for Ofsted and Manchester University.
"To be honest, in recent years they've given us a bit of a pasting.
"Nursery dog rules in the south are a little different from the north: whereas they can run young dogs all year, ours are not allowed on a trials field until the season's first nursery trial, usually in mid August.
"It means their dogs are usually more experienced than ours.
"But this year we had a number of very experienced handlers in our team - the likes of Bryn Davies, Iolo Jones and Aled Owen.
"You also need good dogs and a bit of luck, and I think that's what we had this year."
After retiring from education, Mr Owen returned to his childhood home at Henblas, Penygraigwen, where he now runs a small flock of 170 sheep.
He has enjoyed a successful 2013 season, capped by victory at the North Wales qualifiers for the 2014 World Trials, held at Plas Newydd, Anglesey. At the All-Wales nursery he won with Ben, a black-and-white dog not yet two years-old.
Ben is by Mr Owen's own Zac and out of Nell, owned by Wyn Griffiths, Aber Falls.
"And Nell is by Aled Owen's Roy (an International supreme champion), so Ben has plenty of good breeding," said Mr Owen.
"I'd like to think Ben is an excellent young dog but he's still young so we'll have to wait and see."
firstname.lastname@example.org " Sheep for the nursery final were provided by Dylan Davies of Maes-Y-Pandy, AbergynolwynThey were the same used earlier this month at the North Wales final, held at Cedris Farm, Abergynolwyn, where Iolo Jones won with Bill.
Placings 1) G Owen, Llanerchymedd, Ben, 8; 2) K Evans, Brecon, Bet, 9; 3) H J Francis, Llanfyllin, Cap 10olf; 4) A Driscoll, Llanllawddog, Kinloch Cloe, 10; 5) K Broad, Llanllawddog, Kinloch Mea, 11; 6) A Owen, Llangwm, Linburn Roy, 12.
The North Wales team IOLO JONES, Corwen, with Bill; A DAVIES, Bryneglwys, Meg; G OWEN, Llanerchymedd, Ben, Chip & Sweep; P WILLIAMS, Treuddyn, Mac; GLL JONES, Bala, Myllin Moss; HJ FRANCIS, Llanfyllin, Cap; K SCHWARZE, Denbigh, Brenig Bob; R EMRYS JONES, Talybont, Mari; A JARMAN, Llanbrynmair, Fly; RV HUGHES, Rhosmeirch, Jen; H LLOYD, Trefeglwys, Nip; A OWEN, Llangwm, Lyndburn Roy; B DAVIES, Bryneglwys, Cap. Reserve KEVIN DAVIES, Rhydymain, Ken.
Iolo Jones with the team shield
All-Wales 2013 sheepdog nursery champion Gwynfor Owen and his dog Ben Pictures: LISA SOAR / K9TALES.CO.UK