July 12, 2021
Sennen Cove Race No1 Sunday 6th June
On the weekend of the 5th & 6th June the NFC raced their first race of the season from Sennen Cove with around 5,700 birds entered. The Sportsman FC members entered 96 birds which were flying for £161 pools & a club prize money & a superb package of sponsorship ofrom Vanrobaeys corn & supplements. The race winner wins the Owen Shaw Trophy plus £100 kindly donated by Owen Shaw of Winlaton. Many thanks from our members to both sponsors.
After a days holdover the birds were liberated at 11am on Sunday morning in a light North West wind. With high hopes of a good race into the North East it was a case of which route would the birds take. Would they go along the south coast before breaking North or would the leading birds head North towards the Bristol area. The NFC website soon revealed where the leading birds were at with early verifications in the Bristol area. Congratulations to Steve Moseley on winning 1st NFC Open Sennen Cove.
As early evening approached the Sportsman FC members waited patiently & for two they had an amazing evening. The winner of the Sportsman FC & NFC Section N was Tony Lyons of Eston, Middlesbrough with a 2yo Red Cock of Brian Denney x Martin VinkenBorg breeding & timed at 8:21pm flying 364 miles. At 8:32 Tony clocked his second arrival, a 3yo hen to secure 2nd club, 2nd Section. One hour later Tony was to clock two birds in a minute to take 3rd & 4th club, 3rd & 4th Section N. By now we were on the edge of darkness & for 5th club & 5th Section N we have Jeff & Matthew Walton of Coxhoe timed in at 10:08pm, 17 minutes after the clocks closed. Back at Tony Lyons’ loft he clocked his fifth bird at 10:14 to win 6th club 6th Section N. For Tony, what an outstanding race he had, first four & 6th in the Section N, again well done. His 1st 2nd & 4th birds are all children of the same cock & all his first four birds are grandchildren of a Brian Denney hen he purchased from Brian some years ago. To breed his current team of birds he introduced some Martin Vinkenborg birds from Louella Pigeon World blended with the Brian Denney birds to give him some exciting races from the distance, including last years Sportsman FC Messac race which he won. The winner, a 2yo Red Cock was on the the Up North Combine result from Gien last year as a yearling. His 2nd bird, a 3yo hen, also has previous form at the distance having been to Bourges as a yearling winning 75th UNC & also on the combine sheet from Gien. A 2yo cock took 3rd club, 3rd Section, while nest mate to the winner secured 4th club, 4th Section. All four winning birds are a blend of his Denney & Vinkenborg birds & all were flying celibate. His 5th bird, arriving in the dark was a Vandenabeele which was definitely not going to have a night out.
Also timing in on the night, in the almost dark was Jeff & Matthew Walton of Coxhoe to take 5th club, 5th section. Their 7yo hen, ’722 timed at 10:08pm, 17 minutes after the clocks closed. Sitting 12 day old eggs she has previous section wins, 2nd Fougeres 441 miles, 5th Coutances 392 miles, 6th Coutances 392 miles, 7th Messac 477 miles, Cholet 530 miles & now 5th Sennen Cove 366 miles. She’s from their Jos Thone’ stock with a touch of the late Ron Strong’s of Hexham who timed in for fun from the 500 mile races in the West Durham Amal. The minor positions in the club were taken by Bob McKie, McSween & Sexton and Garnett and Son.
Many congratulations to all members who timed in what turned out to be a tough gig for Sportsman members. Let’s hope we see a better outcome for Sennen Cove 2 on the 19th June.
June 30, 2021
I am delighted to report that Section N, Guernsey National entries stand at 342 birds from 28 members which is a new Club record send, beating the previous maximum by overt 100 birds. This is even more surprising given some of the atrocious racing we have seen in recent weeks across the whole UK.
After the encouraging results in both earlier, Sennon Cove Nationals there is real optimism that we can continue to improve our results. I hope that all those lofts that have entered enjoy the racing and we have some positive Open race result.
As followers will know the Sportsman Flying Club was established over 10 years ago to promote National racing in the North East. It has been a long road and perhaps we are beginning to see a changing attitude towards national racing in the area. Let’s hope interest continues to grow as I’m sure it will when Continental racing is back on the agenda and a few more top Open positions are under the belts of NorthEast fanciers.
The Toft Hill marking station will be all ready for race marking from 16.30 TO 18.30 on Wednesday 30th June. As Officer in Charge, I thank in advance all our hard-working helpers.
Finally, a big thank you to our club Sponsors who have stepped up to the plate to support our progressive club. This includes, Vanrobaeys, Paul Stobbs, Formula 1 Lofts, House of Arden, Owen Shaw Trophies, Osmonds, Tumley Lofts and Respiro-San Dry.
Let’s hope the weather is kind this coming weekend and we enjoy great National racing.
Yours in Sport
Officer in Charge
Toft Hill NFC Marking Station
June 6, 2021
Sennen Cove National 5th June 2021
This is the 1st NFC race in the revised race programme. In the Sportsman my expectations of a high entry rate were dashed when the programme was published. Historically NorthEast organisations have given Sennen Cove a wide berth after disappointing races in the past. Many consider it as a graveyard route hence the reluctance to send. Nevertheless, I take the view that we should make the most of any races on offer, it’s not as if we’re getting any younger!! Sportsman members fly upwards of 350 miles from Sennon Cove, so a challenging race is expected. As normal we race marked on the 2nd June, late Wednesday afternoon before the birds were ferried in to Sheffield to meet up with the NFC Transporter. It was great to see the marking station in action again and a smile on members faces at the prospect of National racing even if it is not from France. There was plenty of banter and much said about the loss of continental racing and some optimism that it would soon return but not necessarily from France. In the end 15 club members mustered a send of 96 birds which was disappointing but as I say not unexpected.
All our races are again sponsored by Vanrobaey Feeds with bags of corn and a range of their popular supplement products on offer for the winners. Owen Shaw Trophies has generously put up £100 sponsorship for the club winner from THE 1ST National . Owen is extremely well known across the UK for supplying a range of sporting activity trophies including an excellent range of of quality pigeon trophies. This is in addition there is good club prize money and £160 pool money to fly for. A full race report will follow in due course.
I would like to personally thank our marking team of Jeff Walton, Tom Cuthbertson, Terry Unsworth, Jim Sexton and his grandson Benjamin for their sterling work without which the marking station would not exist. Sadly, Barrie Blackett who would normally be in the thick of marking was absent as he is currently in hospital. We all send him our best wishes and a speedy recovery and hope to see you back in action soon Barrie.
Yours in Sport
Marking Station I/C
April 12, 2021
The Sportsman FC (Toft Hill) On-line Youngbird sale was a huge success. Our members would like to thank all who donated youngsters to the sale giving their very best from their stocklofts. Thank you to the buyers of the youngbirds & hope they do well for you. Many thanks to John Burgham & the comparethepigeon.com team who ran the auction over the last ten days so smoothly. Lastly, thanks to the British Homing World for displaying our advert so well.
Bob Mckie (Treasurer)
Jeff Walton (Chairman)
Ian Carter (Secretary)
April 1, 2021
Sportsman FC Toft Hill (NFC) 2021 On-Line Young Bird Sale
The Sale will start on the April 1st and will be hosted for 10 days on the comparethepigeon.com website. Below is more detail of some of the youngsters on offer and the fanciers supporting our Sale with top distance bloodlines.
Lot 1. Nick Adshead, Selby. One of the top distance lofts in the UK with many top performances to his name. In 2020 he was 4th Open NFC Pau flying 724 miles what a performance. Nick has pledged a young bird from the Stock loft. The Dam is a sister to Milly his NFC Certificate of Merit winner. Sire a direct Tonnie Kaspers cock from the Netherlands.
Lot 2. House of Aarden. Steve & Lesley Wright offer a summer youngster to the value of £250. Their stud has a well-earned reputation for producing quality stock that are in high demand. Satisfaction always guaranteed.
Lot 3. John & Stephen Best, Stockton. Top Prize winners in the Sportsman in 2020 this loft. They have gone out and bought quality middle distance bloodlines that have achieved some devastating team performances in both the NFC and GYA. On offer is a young bird from a G/son of Best Kittle x G/dtr of Harry. Should prove a great cross into any long-distance family.
Lot 4. Barrie Blackett, Bishop Auckland. Extremely successful fancier in both the Sportsman/NFC and West Durham Amalgamation, previous winner of the Queens Cup. Barrie offers a youngster from his Bob MacDonald stock.
Lot 5. Mark Bulled, Harlow. Needs no introduction his “Legacy” bloodlines are one of the most sought after in the UK. Mark has kindly pledged a Grandchild of Legacy.
Lot 6. Brian Caley, Durham. Small team flier who has been racing quality distance birds for many years. Sire of the youngster is a multiple winner with a 13th and 73rd Open NEHU Bourges. The Dam is from Rieks Lonsain from the Netherlands when paired to his own daughter which is a multiple winner up to 710 miles.
Lot 7. Mr & Mrs Carter, Yarm. The Sire of this youngster is a G/S of Alwyn Hill’s brilliant Wingdown and the Dam is from Chris Gordon/Brian Denney lines.
Lot 8. Fred Cornwell, Southend. Has pledged a top-drawer youngster. Sire and Dam both multiple National prize winners. Fred is a tremendously successful distance flier and has been for many years with a team of genuine, tenacious racers. In 2018 his brilliant Chequer Cock EPIC won a NFC Certificate of Merit award having flown Tarbes 5 times being in the top 100 of the Open 3 times.
Lot 9. John Cowlin. From this record-breaking loft of Frans Zwols, young bird ready in April from Burnham Queen x G/S of King of Rekeem. Outstanding offer.
Lot 10. Robert & Ken Dodds, Hexham. Fantastic opportunity to grab successful Southwell distance blood. Rob & Ken offer a Young bird bred from full brother to Sire of 17595 & 17596, 12th Open 81st Open and 150th Open Tarbes in 2018 & 2019 for Paul Stone flying 565 miles. The Dam CON 1453 is same way bred as 10th WDA 64th Open Bourges flying 581 miles and is the Dam of 17595 & 17596.
Lot 11. Robert & Ken Dodds, Sire direct from Noble Dream 1st International Agen for Bob Besant & Son. Dam direct daughter of Indyson Champion Stock Cock.
Lot 12. Alan Graham & Son, Cumbria. This loft has pledged a youngster containing up to date winning blood. Sire lines are Big Smithy, Starlight & South Melissa x G/dtr of Wingdown paired to daughter of Mark Bulled’s Legacy. Dam a direct daughter of Barry & Peter Winter’s, New Gem 8th and 47th Open Tarbes. Simply full of the best UK bloodlines available today.
Lot 13. Maurice & Dan Jenkins, Bishop Auckland. This loft has invested heavily in acquiring top winning distance blood. On offer is a youngster from the Cock which was 2nd WDA from Gien flying 515 miles.
Lot 14. Terry Knox, Prudhoe. Youngster from Granddaughter of New Laureat x Jelle Jellema. This is a great chance to obtain top winning blood.
Lot 15. Mick Lilley & Son, Hartlepool. Young bird from stock loft. G/child of Ruby NEHU bird of year 2016 and dam of Jacob our NEHU bird of year 2019. Ruby has 7 UNC positions racing in only 2 & half seasons then put to stock. Dam of Olivea 9th UNC in 2020.
Lot 16. Tony Lyons, Middlesbrough. Has kindly pledged a young bird from his Brian Denney stock which are breeding winners.
Lot 17. Bob McKie, Blackhall Mill, offers a Brugman Bros young bird off his Dave Impett stock. Contains the best of Dave’s bloodlines which thrive on races over 500 miles.
Lot 18. McSween & Sexton, Sunderland. This loft is a past winner of the UNC and has achieved some outstanding performances in recent years in the Sportsman/NFC. They always give of their best and offer a Matched pair with both Sire and Dam have either won or are bred from winners at over 400 miles.
Lot 19. Stafford & Peel, Co. Durham. Ian Stafford needs no introduction he has been breeding and racing winners at the highest level for many, many years. Buyer can choose from their Rudi de Saer or Marshall stock.
Lot 20. Paul Stobbs, Consett. Sire Proven Point 1st UNC Maidstone National 14,153 birds. Dam Olympic Star 1st WDA 6677 birds, 1st NEHU Open Folkestone 34,494 birds. Best of the best from this top UK Loft. Class.
Lot 21. Peter Virtue, Cockburnspath. Peter has gained a record 14 x 1st Nationals including 4 x SNRPC Reims National and Gold Medal flying 536 miles. His family of bird’s ooze quality and are much sort after. The lucky buyer will not be disappointed.
Lot 22. Allan & Carol Walker, Stockton. Young bird will come from excellent long-distance bloodlines which the partnership has successfully blended. In 2020 they won their local Fed. From Gien (500 miles) and timed in from Pau (778 miles) to win 1st Section N 375th Open NFC from 2730 birds in a difficult race.
Lot 23. Jeff Walton & Son, Coxhoe. Sire, brother to multiple Section winner containing the best of Peter Virtue & Jos Thone bloodlines. Dam daughter of hen with 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 2 x 7th Section Jos Thone/Ronnie Strong. Will be ready April.
Lot 24. Stu Wilcox and Brooks & Wilcox. Top winning loft which in 2020 won their BICC Section from both Pau and Barcelona. Great chance to obtain a 3rd round young bird with quality bloodlines.
Lot 25. Tom Williams, Orpington. In the last few years Tom established himself as one of the top small team fliers in both the NFC and BICC. He has achieved multiple Top Section and Open positions not least from Tarbes. The youngster on offer is from his brilliant 80 Chequer Cock which has been across the channel more than 20 times including 4 x Tarbes notching up top positions on the way. 80 is a half-brother to Tom’s fantastic Blue Cock Invincible and both contain the blood of the UNC winning loft of Dave McSween & Jim Sexton.
Lot 26. Barry & Peter Winter, this partnership needs no introduction. They have pledged a Grandchild of Little Gem their Tarbes Open winner (ready May). Several UK fanciers have successfully introduced the Little Gem bloodlines which are highly prized in the stock loft.
Lot 27. Kevin & John Zerafa, Portsmouth. This is a brilliant opportunity to acquire top class stock from a winning National loft. On offer is a summer bred young bird from the Stock Loft.
The auction starts on Thursday, 1st April and runs for 10 days
Easy to register and bid but if you prefer you can ring me and I will put your bid in for you and keep you updated.
There are some fantastic offerings in this sale, brimming with the essential ingredients of Top National winning bloodlines, its easy to see why the fanciers donating to this sale are so successful when you study the pedigrees and or info supplied for each lot.
Carriage to be paid by the buyer where applicable.
The Sportsman FC Committee would like to thank the fanciers who have been kind enough to donate the above lots.
For further details
Contact: John Burgham 01495 240227 or 07739 089208
Bob Mckie 07308 236113
March 10, 2021
Sportsman FC Toft Hill — Forward Look
The prospects of national racing into the North East this year looks positive. Both annual outbreaks of Bird Flu and the Covid 19 situation remain issues. Hopefully, bird flu will be eradicated before Spring. As for the pandemic with the vaccination programme proceeding at pace, we can anticipate there being some government controls throughout 2021. Travel restrictions will need to be lifted and social distancing, washing hands regularly, using hand sanitisers and wearing masks will remain in place until this life-threatening virus is defeated. The RPRA are once again on the case and will provide Guidance and we can expect Race marking arrangements similar to those in place last season.
Post Brexit problems continue to hit the headlines, both the Farming and Fisheries Industries are having difficulties and unfortunately the pigeon sport has not escaped. New livestock quarantine protocols have also dinted the export and importing of racing pigeons. The average UK fanciers will not give much heed to this but those with a commercial interest could see the demise of a valuable income stream. Will organised trips to Belgium and Holland ever be the same? The good news of course is that pigeon racing can still go ahead. The RPRA were quick to clarify this with DEFRA and in January posted an update on their website, thanks again to Ian Evans, who was quick off the mark to clarify the arrangements. The RPRA will also keep the sport updated on racing once the government have clarified the road map out of the pandemic.
Sportsman FC Club Management
Last season when Covid19 was so virulent in communities, we followed RPRA advice and set up a Management Group (MG) made up of 5 members to take care of ongoing club business. Like many clubs we have not been able to hold either a prize presentation event or an AGM. To keep members updated we have relied heavily on Group Text messaging.
Our new Secretary Ian Carter has been in post since the 1stJanuary and has plenty of fresh ideas which is what you need in any progressive club. He has already organised a club Social Media page which has more than 500 followers. Jeff Walton continues as Chairman and Bob McKie is now Treasurer. Jim Sexton takes care of RPRA and NFC business with Paul Kitching on board to take over the club press officer role.
As we move towards the new racing season there has been much interest in the club from fanciers across the North East wanting to fly in the NFC. To date the club has 18 new members which is brilliant. We look forward to seeing what impact this will have on the club’s Open results. Club subscriptions remain at £20 which provides real value for money considering all members can race mark at our club HQ’s at Toft Hill. Birds are then ferried down to Sheffield to link up with the NFC Transporter (a round trip of over 200 miles). We have also established local clock stations for reading off clocks which will reduce travel distances for members. Unikon, Bricon, IPigeon systems and T3’s are all catered for. If any other North East fanciers are interested in having a go at national racing, please ring Ian Carter (07851977383) for more information.
In addition to some decent club prize money we have also secured some excellent sponsorship with more in the pipe-line:
I am delighted to confirm that Vanrobaey Feeds in Belgium will again sponsor each club race winner. They will receive 2Bags of Young Bird corn and a range of Vanrobaey Pigeon products which I collected from the Swalwell warehouse of Terry Knox this week. We are also very proud to have the support of the following sponsors this season:
Fougeres National - Owen Shaw Trophies £100
Messac National - Formula 1 Lofts £300 Voucher
Nort de Erdre National - Paul Stobbs £100
Pau Grand National
Coutances Young Bird National - Tumley Lofts £150 voucher
Coutances Old Hens National - Tumley Lofts £150 voucher
The pigeons taking 3rd club in the Fougeres, Nort de Erdre and Sigogne National races will receive a voucher for a 15kg box of RESPIRO SAN DRY sponsored by Phil Gardner. Another super prize which includes delivery to your door.
Annual Young Bird Sale
We are delighted to report that our 2021 On-line Young bird sale will be hosted by comparethepigeon.com and run from the 1st April for 10 days.
A full advert will appear in the Pigeon Press along with full list of donors and more detailed information about all birds on offer will be available on our website sportsmanfc.com in week beginning 29/3/21. As always we bring to the sport a tremendous offering from top UK lofts including:-Nick Adshead, House of Arden, Mark Bulled, John Cowlin, Paul Stobbs, Peter Virtue, Stu Wilcox and Brooks & Wilcox, Tom Williams, Barry & Peter Winter, John & Kevin Zerafa. Supported by birds from Sportsman Club members who successfully fly many, indeed hundreds of miles further than other national competitors often in worse weather conditions.
North East Central Route FC (Midweek) HQ Ferryhill
I wanted to give this new club a mention. A new venture from 2021 it will race every Wednesday down the central route of the country which provides excellent line of flight experience for NFC racing. The club race card also incorporates the first three NFC races within its programme as well as the old hens/youngbird national race in September and several members of the club also fly in the Sportsman. The driving force behind the club is John Fellows ably supported by Jeff Walton. Their operating model guarantees up to 1200 birds weekly going to Inland races. There is excellent prize money available (over £500 per race) and it is only 50p per bird.
I sincerely hope this is a big, big success and knowing all the hard work that has been undertaken they deserve it. I wish their members the very best for 2021.
Finally I wish you all a good breeding season and hope your racing results go as planned.
Bob Mckie (Treasurer)
Jeff Walton (Chairman)
January 21, 2021
The impact of Brexit on Channel racing has been a concern for Pigeon fanciers all around the UK. The required health documentation and processes relating to the import and export of the avian species, published since Brexit has increased these concerns. The relevant EU regulation that covers the transportation of the Avian species from third countries (countries from outside of the EU) into a European Union member state is 2013/139. ‘The following has been extracted from the regulation; This Regulation shall apply to animals of the avian species. However, it shall not apply to: (f) racing pigeons which are introduced to the territory of the Union from a neighbouring third country where they are normally resident and then immediately released with the expectation that they will fly back to that third country;’ Nevertheless, I considered it prudent to seek confirmation from the relevant authority than no additional health documentation is required . I am pleased to communicate that I have received confirmation from the Centre for International Trade, (via the APHA) that pigeons transported to an EU state are exempt from the requirements that have caused so much concern. The reply is quoted below ’Your understanding is correct; effectively there is no change to the requirements. Retained EU Regulation 139/2013  does exclude racing pigeons in the scope in Article 2, and no additional documentation would be required. There is just a change to our country status from a member state to ‘neighbouring third country’. I am sure members will be pleased to read this confirmation. Please note that this relates to the transportation of pigeons for racing purposes and not the permanent import of pigeons from the EU. In this respect I am still seeking further clarification and will update members as soon as I am in receipt of such information. In addition to the above I am also aware of information circulating relating to vehicle emissions. I have seen social media posts that suggest there is a blanket ban on vehicles, that don’t meet certain emission requirements, travelling in France. This is not true. However, there are currently a limited amount of low emission zones with certain restrictions; we will publish information shortly outlining where these emission zones exist.
Ian Evans CEO
December 1, 2020
Review of 2020
Although racing was delayed across the UK, given all things considered it was a successful season. Fanciers were able to enjoy limited old bird racing and a competitive young bird racing despite Covid. The early ban on training did proved to be problematical, nevertheless when announced the shorter NFC race programme was most welcome. I must also say a big well done to the RPRA for their efforts in representing the Sport at Government level to secure racing. As was the production of their guidance around race protocols. (Mind you it still makes me smile when I think about the 2metre pole when rubbering birds!!). At the Toft Hill marking station everything went well and as I/C would once again wish to offer my thanks and gratitude in particular to Barrie Blackett, Jim Sexton and Jeff Walton for the sterling work they did throughout the national programme in marking race entries. I suspect the Government has real concerns over controlling the Corona Virus and we may face similar protocols throughout 2021 unless the pharmaceutical industry can magic up a range of effective vaccines before then. Whilst things are looking more promising on this front it remains a major, major challenge.
National Racing 2020
The first National from Fougeres was quickly followed by Messac then the Blue Riband race from Pau with the season rounded off at Coutances for the YB/OH’s national. Sportsman members like all fanciers faced a stiff challenge to get sufficient miles into the bird’s wings and bring on some form. In the end the lack of training did dint the Sportsman entry levels nevertheless there were some excellent performances not least by the father and son partnership of John and Steven Best. They won the Club and Section N from both Fougeres and the Coutances Old Hens nationals bagging the Club Averages and the Bird of the year with their Chequer Hen 17 TV 4206. We then had new member Tony Lyons picking up 1st Club 3rd Section N from Messac. The partnership of McSween and Sexton put up another awesome young bird performance taking 1st Club and Section N in the Coutances national after timing at 7.25pm on the day flying 402 miles. However, for me the highlight performance of our club season was that of Allen and Carol Walker when winning 1st Club and Section N. 325thOpen from Pau flying 778 miles. Brilliant stuff and much deserved. Unfortunately, like most clubs our members have not been able share and applaud these successes because our presentation evening has been cancelled due to the virus mayhem. Prize money and cards have already been posted to members and Trophies along with a framed photograph of each winner will be distributed asap.
Autumn Round Up
The 2020 Autumn/Winter is going to be a long affair due to the absence of AGM’s, presentations, local shows and the situation is even more aggravated with no Blackpool! However, at these testing times keeping racing birds brings real and immeasurable benefits from a wellbeing point of view. It also gives you more time to prepare for the breeding season and get all those outstanding DIY jobs done around the house to earn a few brownie points!!
Club Management Group
Following RPRA advice the Sportsman created a small Management Group (MG) as set out below, to address immediate club business and an AGM will take place at the first convenient opportunity.
- Chairman: Jeff Walton
- Secretary: Ian Carter
- Treasurer: Bob Mckie
- Press Officer: Paul Kitching
- RPRA/NFC Rep: Jim Sexton
The MG believe it sensible to leave 2021 club subscriptions (£20) and race prize money the same as last season. At the start of 2020 we kicked off with 36 members and are looking to build on that number with several new applications from fanciers across the North East already received.
Ian Carter is gradually taking over the Secretary job from Bob McKie and will be in post full time from the beginning of January. He has lots of fresh ideas and has already launched a Facebook Group “Sportsman National Flying Club”.
We have been busy seeking additional Sponsors for next season and are delighted to report that we have secured support from Formula 1 Lofts, Owen Shaw Trophies, Tumley Lofts with several other possible deals under consideration.
At the recent NFC General Meeting in October the 2021 race programme was discussed and signed off:
- 22 May - Fougeres
- 5 June - Messac
- 19 June - Nort-Sur-Erdre
- 2 July - Pau (Friday liberation)
- 24 July - Sigogne
- 4 September - Coutances OH/YB
This programme provides a gradual increase in distance from middle to extreme. The Sportsman FC at Toft Hill offers a great NFC route for distance enthusiasts across the North East wishing to test their birds and management skills against the top UK national fanciers. Check out our club website at www.sportsmanfc.com and have a look at the Gallery and check-out our club winners in recent years.
There is a Marking Station for NFC events at Toft Hill where we normally basket on Wednesdays after which the birds are transported to Sheffield and transferred to the NFC Transporter. The transporters are top of the range, fully refurbished/upgraded for the 2020 racing season with GPS Tracking and kitted out with aluminium crates, an automatic watering system and quality air conditioning. The birds always return in tiptop condition having received excellent care from Dom McCoy (Chief Convoyer) and his team. On race days you can follow the race progress on the NFC Website “early leader” board which all adds to the complete national experience.
Young Bird “Phone-line” Sale
Next year we are planning our Young Bird Phone-In sale in March/April. Several top National lofts and supporters of the club have already pledged youngsters and details will appear in the Fancy Press closer to the sale date when arrangements are finalised.
Although we continue to struggle with the impacts of Covid, fanciers still need to stay alert to the risks of Bird Flu. There have been a number of unrelated confirmed cases in England (the first in Kent and the second, larger and more serious outbreak in Cheshire.) with increasing reports of viral influenza affecting flocks in mainland Europe. It is vitally important that all fanciers stay alert and have good biosecurity systems in place to minimise risk. It is especially important to prevent wild birds from entering lofts and that vaccination programmes are kept up to date.
If interested in joining the Sportsman and would like more information just give Ian Carter or Bob McKie or Jeff Walton a quick call on 07851 977383 or 07308 236113 or 07966 495952 respectively.
October 14, 2020
2020 Prize Money/Cards will be sent out to all winners later this week.
I am sure all the members will wish to congratulate all our winners especially John and Steven who not only win the Averages but attained the highest Open position with 18TV4331 in the Coutances OH National on the 5th September. They also had the Bird of the Year 17TV4206 who put up a brilliant performance from Fougeres on 6th July when winning Club, Section and 444th Open with almost 10,000 birds competing.
Then we had the winning performance of McSween & Sexton in the Coutances Young Bird National with GB20N67059 an awesome performance from 402 miles being the only bird home on the day in both the Club and Section winning 275th Open against a consignment of 3403 birds.
Also, a special mention for Allen & Carol Walker who timed their 6year old hen Lily from Pau winning the Club, Section and 325th Open flying 778 miles.
We should also send a big well done to Tony Lyons a new member to the Club who won the Messac National on a very testing day.
Trophies will be presented at the first opportunity Covid 19 restrictions are sufficiently relaxed.
I also wish to send thanks to Sid Forster (WDA), Duncan Knox (SNRPC) and Barry Winter (NFC) for judging the Bird of the Year Competition.
Finally, watch out for the new Sportsman FC Facebook Group which Ian Carter is launching to promote the Club.
September 7, 2020
BHW Show Of The Year: Blackpool 2021
Following my note in July, I can confirm that Ian Evans and I have held another virtual meetings with both The Winter Gardens and Visit Blackpool to further discuss the possibilities of holding The BHW Show of The Year in January 2021. We have also consulted the Show Committee and all stakeholders of the event. I can now advise that, with regret, the committee have come to the decision not to hold a Show in 2021 due to the uncertainties and risks in holding such a public event. We have considered reducing the size of the event and all possible means and formats to achieving a physical Show, but feel that to do so would dilute and devalue what has become an annual pigeon extravaganza. The Government have advised that they will make an announcement regarding the staging of similar events to the show at the earliest in October, such a time scale we feel would not allow us adequate time to effectively organise the event, and if we went ahead and they did place any restrictions on the manner it could be held this would cause disappointment to all involved. In addition we have to consider the welfare of all those involved in the show’s organisation during the event, stewards, judges, trade stand holders and the rest, and the possibilities that by holding the show we could be putting them at risk and become party to increasing the spread of Covid19. Taking all this into account and even considering a reformatted show we believe it is the responsible decision not to hold the show in 2021, and by making this decision early we believe we are being fair to everyone involved, saving them from making any potentially unnecessary arrangements, and financial outlay. We look forward to returning in 2022. Our 50th year, with renewed vitality and enthusiasm, to put on an event worthy of such an achievement, an achievement of which every fancier in the UK should be proud! See you in 2022!
David Trippett Chair — BHW Show of the year Committee
Ian Evans CEO