Upon arrival to the event which is a super building on the RWAS site, fully carpeted and with its own gardens, there was the usual free hot beverages and welsh cakes with jam, Everyone received a warm introduction by Richard Morris in his native tongue, before the event got underway, there are a maximum of 64 dogs taken from yearly applications to compete for this title, being eligible after winning a junior class in their breed throughout the qualifying period with an exhibit or an exhibitor resident in Wales.

In addition to this competition the Welsh Junior also hold a junior handling qualifier competition through the lunch break for handlers resident in Wales aged 6 to 11 & 12 to 16 years.

The event is well organised by Martin Sanders and his team with the generous help of sponsor’s Royal Canin, Patsi Ann Standard Image, Dorwest Herbs, Celebration rosettes, and well known Welsh faces of Clive & Barbara Davies of Sundeala Gundogs, Olive Thomas of Leashkan Tibetan Terriers & Richard Morris of Glascoed Gundogs.

Each contestant received a coaster of welsh slate, a certificate of attendance, £5 of Dorwest vouchers, & a 4kg bag of food suitable to the dog breed or size from Royal Canin who had sent along Sophie Langdon their new representative of Royal Canin for Wales and Midlands, Sophie resides in Gloucester and has Champion Papillons and Border Collies, she also boasts a degree in animal behaviour and welfare.

Judges are announced on the morning of the event, and this year saw Anne McDonald & Jackie Stubbs (Cotarinn),  As with most events it wasn’t without a hiccup or two, Anne McDonald nearly didn’t make it as she suffered a minor injury which severely sprained her ankle the night before, and she spent three hours in Neville Hall, Hospital, in Abergavenny.

Anne picked the first envelope and drew group B so was up for the judging in the afternoon session, so the event kicked off with the draw for both groups and a parade of the dogs before Jackie Stubbs got his hands his lot, He finished up with Tony & Chris Burscough’s 23 month old Beardie Collie Kilfinan Country Clover from Holywell who challenged Mrs Botham’s sheltie Take A Break At Balidorn from Anglesey to the halfway finishing post.

Next up were the Junior handlers and this was a qualifier for Richmond semi finals 2011, the little lady going through from this event was 7 year old Teigon Harp from Angelsey handling a Shih Tzu, runner up was Catrina Phillips handling an Australian Cattle Dog, they generously won a huge dog encyclopaedia and special rucksack presented by Royal Canin.

The venue was surrounded by tables for the meal, and lunch was served at the table, and the meals served were chosen from the menu of shepherd’s pie, chicken casserole, vegetable lasagne, with a chocolate pudding, raspberry cheesecake, or lemon meringue.

After lunch and with the bar open it was Anne’s  turn on centre stage as Group B strutted their stuff in the lap of honour, collected their gifts given out by Olive Thomas. Her finalists included Sue & Ian Hillier’s homebred Cocker Spaniel, Coedcernyw Cameo JW Sh CM from Newport, who piped  the SCWT Pippajam Midnight Rose owned by  Mr & Mrs Noyes from Abergele to the top spot as the Group B winner.

Whilst all this was taking place and considering the men stated to me as Saturday was a major rugby afternoon, and they had only come to support their wives, the television was turned on at the bar & in the corner the enthusiasts watched the match with as much enthusiasm as we all watched the dogs compete for the coveted title.

At the end everyone had a five minute break before the two group winners were brought back to be co-judged between Anne & Jackie, it wasn’t long before a decision was reached between them and the commentator decided he would announce the winner whilst they were doing a final lap of honour, it was with great support that the cocker bitch was announced as Welsh Junior of the Year, and the bearded collie as reserve.

A photo session then took place and the judges were presented with a Patsi Ann plaque commemorating the event which was matching the ones won by their respective group winners.

Report: Zara Boyle.

Judge’s report

It was with great pleasure that I accepted to judge the Welsh Junior of The Year contest on Saturday 26th February 2011.

My co-judge for this event was Anne McDonald from Scotland. Special thanks to Mr Richard Morris who collected us from Cardiff airport and drove us to the Lion Hotel in Builth Wells. We were worried Anne might not be able to judge having suffered a leg injury, on the eve of the show, which required hospital treatment. However, Anne being the professional she is did not let it stand in her way.

The venue was Drover’s Court, Montgomery Pavilion, Royal Welsh Showground’s. This was an excellent venue for the event and well supported by the sponsors Royal Canin. The draw was done with the exhibits being split into 2 groups A & B which was then split between myself and Anne who drew the 2nd half. I had some lovely dogs present and I’m sure some of them will go on to be champions.

My winner was the Bearded Collie:- Kilfinan Country Clover a good sized bitch presented well and handled excellently. Pleasing head with good dark eyes well shaped, Correct ear set and carriage good reach of neck with well placed shoulders tight elbows good bone and good feet, Nice depth of brisket with good rear angulation and tail set, moved well around ring, carrying a correct topline. She was pushed hard by my runner up the Shetland Sheepdog:- Take a Break at Balidorn.

Beautiful young bitch with good head nice fill of foreface correct shoulders with similar angulation in rear, good tight elbows well boned with tight feet moved well and shown in full coat. The final was between my winner the Bearded Collie and Anne’s winner the Cocker Spaniel Coedcernyw Cameo J.W. Sh C.M. A black bitch shown in full coat good head well set ears, good shoulders with tight elbows strong rear quarters with correct rear angulation moved well and was pleased to agree with Anne for her to be awarded the Title Welsh Junior of The Year.

I would like to thank all the committee for inviting me to judge and for the warm Hospitality given both to myself and Anne, special thanks to Martin and Carol Sanders for everything, not forgetting the exhibitors for their sportsmanship and as they say in Ireland the crack was great all weekend.
Jackie Stubbs

Judge’s report

A warm welcome awaited me in Wales when I arrived at a misty Cardiff airport and met up with my co-judge Jackie Stubbs to be transported to Builth Wells where this popular and well supported annual event was due to take place the following day. 

The organisation in the very capable hands of Martin Sanders and his team from Cardiff Canine Society was superb with nothing left to chance. It was very obvious to me that a great deal of thought and attention to detail had gone into the production of this competition.

The generous sponsorship from Royal Canin and the main prizes and beautiful gifts for the judges donated by Patsi Ann ensured that everyone taking part received a memento of the occasion. The overall quality of the entry was high and there were a few very close decisions on the way to the finals. The final from my half of the draw was closely contested between two bitches, a very smart Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Pippajam Midnight Rose and the exquisite black Cocker Spaniel, Coedcernyw Cameo JW ShCM. The Wheaten I liked a lot for her good square build, compact body, correct front and typical coat of correct colour and texture. She moved steadily, showing good drive from the rear. My winner, however, was the Cocker. Such a happy and confident show girl in excellent bloom and muscle condition.

She impressed for her lovely type, good neck and shoulders, super ribs and short loin, low hocks and very sound free movement. She carried herself well, holding her outline and her tail never stopped! The other two semi-finalists in this section were Irish Wolfhound Baronglen The Knightwalker and Sealyham Terrier Whitepeppers Saturday Night Fever at Jacott. From the other half of the draw, Jackie sent through a beautifully presented Bearded Collie, Kilfinan Country Clover, whose attributes I also appreciated. In the final analysis, having each assessed the other’s choice, both judges agreed that the overall winner should be the Cocker Spaniel with Bearded Collie runner-up. All in all, a great day for everyone to enjoy. I certainly did and my thanks to the organisers for giving me the opportunity to judge the contest and for their kind hospitality.

Anne Macdonald