Latest News

March 27, 2018

General Meeting on Wednesday 4th April at HQ Toft Hill (Kick-Off 7.45pm)

  1. Issue’s to follow up from AGM including:
    • Marking Station (Kitting out)
    • Finalising Bird of Year arrangements
    • Presentation Night
  2. Club Young Bird Sale
  3. NFC Business
  4. RPRA Business-Update (Jim Sexton)
  5. Next NFC General Meeting (Jim & Bob attending)
  6. Sponsorship
  7. AOB including collection of any outstanding club subs or RPRA Fees.
February 28, 2018

Sportsman FC (NFC) 2018 AGM

Our AGM was held at our Club HQ Toft Hill, on Wednesday the 21st February. As always despite members having extensive journeys the attendance was excellent (75%).

Chairman, Jeff Walton got the meeting underway and for the most part business was handled briskly, in good humour and with the clear objective of enhancing the Club.

Members were updated on the procurement of a new building which would act as the Section N, Marking Station, from 2018 onward. This was scheduled to be in place by the end of March which would also enable our friends in the Toft Hill Saturday club to take advantage of.

Regarding the job of ferrying the birds to Sheffield the Secretary explained that after discussions with several parties he recommended that we go with the offer from Steven Best which was agreed. The Secretary will finalise these arrangements and liaise with the NFC Treasurer about support toward ferrying-in costs.

Annual Balance Sheet

The club remains in a strong position but the purchase of the new marking station building will bring pressure on the club for 2018. Nevertheless this initiative is seen as a positive development for the club and National racing in the North East for years to come. The balance sheet was accepted.


Officials were confirmed as 2017.


We had 5 resignations and 1 new application all were accepted. There are however a number of parties expressing an interest in joining the club for 2018 and more applications will be welcomed. We had a couple of changes in membership names resulting from existing lofts taking on new partners and these were unanimously accepted.

We therefore kick off the season with over 40 lofts and more than 50 members.

Local Clock Stations

  • Sunderland (Dave McSween i/c)
  • Stockton (Alan Walker i/c)
  • Ferryhill (John Fellows/Jeff Walton/ i/c)
  • Toft Hill (Barrie Blackett/Bob Mckie i/c)

Club Subscriptions

Remain as in previous season at £20 per loft.


The Chairman re-iterated how important sponsorship was to the success of the club and expressed our thanks for the great support we have had in recent years from a range of Individuals and Business. He was delighted to confirm that in 2018 Paul Stobbs (Stonehaven Lofts) and Brian Ford would again sponsor the club.

The Secretary confirmed he was in discussion with Tom Demeester at Vanrobaey Feeds and others about possible deals, members will be kept informed of developments.

Jeff Walton confirmed that all club race winners would receive a framed photograph.

Members to let Secretary know of any other possible sponsors which he would be happy to contact.

2018 Phone-In Young Bird sale

It was agreed that the Chairman would co-ordinate on the same lines as in previous years. The sale will happen in the 3rd week of April. Members were asked to provide Jeff with details of youngsters being donated asap.

As in previous seasons we will have brilliant support from several top UK Distance lofts including, Nick Adshead, House of Aarden, Mark Bulled, Barry & Peter Winter, Peter Virtue, Gavin (Goose) Graham, Paul Stobbs, Dougie Henderson, with more in the pipeline which should make this one of the top long distance club young bird sales of the season.

2018 Prize Presentation

Members agreed the timing of mid-October with the same format as last year. Secretary will check out availability of possible main guests before firming-up on date.

Bob Pinkerton Cancer Sale

Every year on Easter Monday Bob organises a young bird sale the proceeds of which go to the RVI Children’s Cancer Ward. In the last 20 years these auctions have raised well in excess of £50k a fabulous effort. Bob has approached the club to see if any members would like to donate a young bird(s) this year. The Secretary will be happy to co-ordinate and members were asked to contact him with details of any donations to this good cause.

Donors confirmed so far:-Brian Caley, McSween & Sexton, Jeff Walton & Son and Bob Mckie. Barrie Blackett, Jim Nicholson, Malcolm, Heslington & Jones, Thurlow, Strong, Fisher & McCluskey


Jim Nicholson, offered to take full responsibility on race marking nights to ensure all crates were properly watered-up. Secretary to purchase necessary drinkers.

Gary Heslington, raised the issue of a Show race. The matter was deferred until a later meeting. With the new marking station facilities it is a strong possibility that we could run a Show(s) for the 2019 season.

This concluded the meeting which was then closed.

Bob Mckie Secretary - Mobile 07828961442

February 3, 2018

Sportsman AGM

Just a quick reminder to all members that our AGM will take place at the Club HQ on Wednesday the 21st February (Kick-Off 7.45pm).

Copies of the Agenda and Balance Sheet will be posted out next week.

If you know of any fanciers in the North East interested in having a go at the Nationals please encourage them to come and join us - tell them they won’t regret it if they fancy a challenge.

Bob Mckie

January 28, 2018

NFC Annual General Meeting

Saturday 27th January 2018

Dear Members,

Jim Sexton and I attended the meeting at Alverley, in Shropshire where we were both elected onto the NFC Committee as Section N delegates.

Jim will provide detailed feedback at our next meeting on the 21st February however you may be interested to know that all 4 propositions were passed including No.4 which will result in the return of the leader board as operated in 2016. Good news all round.

In addition it was confirmed that:

  • Section boundaries remain the same.

  • There was full support for the shift in Section N Marking Station to Toft Hill.

  • The NFC will arrange for racing crates (12) to be delivered to the Marking Station in the week prior to first National race.

The NFC confirmed that birds could be ferried down to Sheffield on the Wednesday evening and transferred onto the NFC Transporter. Replacement crates for the return journey would be available. It was also confirmed that the NFC would provide some financial support to partly cover our transport costs.

All in all it was a successful meeting.

Bob Mckie

October 22, 2017

Secretary’s Report

A meeting of the Sportsman FC will be held on Wednesday 8th Nov at 7:45pm at HQ.


  • Review Pay Out night
  • Race Marking Options for 2018
  • NFC Section N Delegate required for 2018
  • Set AGM date

Hope to see you there.

Presentation Night

Jim Nicholson top prize winner in 2017 - winner of 1st Messac sub Ancenis Nat - 1st Fougeres sub Jarnac Nat & 1st Coutances Nat YBJim Nicholson top prize winner in 2017 - winner of 1st Messac sub Ancenis Nat - 1st Fougeres sub Jarnac Nat & 1st Coutances Nat YB

Jim Nicholson with Mrs Hazel Gaskill & grandson Isaac - Jim winner of the George Gaskill Memorial Trophy for Ancenis raceJim Nicholson with Mrs Hazel Gaskill & grandson Isaac - Jim winner of the George Gaskill Memorial Trophy for Ancenis race

Dave McSween & Jim Sexton with Nick Adshead - They were 2nd highest prize winners in 2017Dave McSween & Jim Sexton with Nick Adshead - They were 2nd highest prize winners in 2017

Jeff Walton & Nick Adshead - J Walton & Son winners of 1st Fougeres Nat & 3rd highest prize winnersJeff Walton & Nick Adshead - J Walton & Son winners of 1st Fougeres Nat & 3rd highest prize winners

Bob McKie receiving his prizes from Nick AdsheadBob McKie receiving his prizes from Nick Adshead

Barry Blackett receiving his prizes from Nick AdsheadBarry Blackett receiving his prizes from Nick Adshead

Tom Cuthbertson & Nick Adshead - Tom winner of 1st Messac NatTom Cuthbertson & Nick Adshead - Tom winner of 1st Messac Nat

Les Thurlow & Nick Adshead - Thurlow Strong & McCluskey winners of 1st Coutances Nat Old HensLes Thurlow & Nick Adshead - Thurlow Strong & McCluskey winners of 1st Coutances Nat Old Hens

John Best & Son receiving their prizes from Nick AdsheadJohn Best & Son receiving their prizes from Nick Adshead

Mrs Gaskill receiving flowers from Bob McKieMrs Gaskill receiving flowers from Bob McKie

Belle Landlady of the Sportsman Inn receiving flowers from Bob McKieBelle Landlady of the Sportsman Inn receiving flowers from Bob McKie

August 14, 2017

Marking arrangements for the NFC Old Hens/Youngbird National

Coutances National OH/YB on 2nd September (392 miles to Coxhoe). Pick up at the Sportsman Wednesday 30th August 20-00(For Sportsman FC members).

Marking Thursday morning 31th August 07-30 to 08-30 at Sheffield Marking Station.

June 5, 2017

NFC Messac substitute for Ancenis Nat 6,815 birds entered nationally

After a very demanding race here is our club’s provisional result

Provisional Sportsman FC Result

  • Jim Nicholson of South Shields 1st Sportsman FC, 1st NFC Section N, provisionally 12th NFC Open

  • Jeff Walton & Son of Coxhoe 2nd Sportsman FC, 2nd NFC Section N provisionally 107th NFC Open

  • Barrie Blackett of Butterknowle 3rd & 5th Sportsman FC, 3rd & 7th NFC Section N provisionally 124th & 370th NFC Open

  • Bob McKie of Blackhall Mill 4th Sportsman FC, 5th NFC Section N, provisionally 214th NFC Open

Well done all who timed on.

It has just been confirmed that the next NFC race will be from Messac on 17th June.

May 28, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Fougeres National

Well after four nights in the basket the NFC convoy of 8,250 birds were liberated at 8.00 am in a light South-South-East wind.

Sportsman members had entered over 150 birds which was somewhat disappointing although the race may have come a couple of weeks early for some lofts to have the birds conditioning in order.

Based on recent experience a reasonably fast race was expected. The real disappointment in my view was the absence of the NFC Website flagging up early arrivals. It is essential that we get this re-instated for next season notwithstanding the security issue the management officials and members must realise that in this era of new technology the gap will be filled. I would rather see the NFC driving this than a rogue website.

Remember if someone is going to commit fraud and try fiddling the display of early arrival times will have minimum impact if Marking Stations are managed efficiently and procedures are correctly followed.

Back to the race and what an excellent event it was for our Chairman Jeff Walton who timed 3 early birds and provisionally these will all be in the first 10 of the Sportsman result, including 1st and 3rd position. In addition his first bird is provisionally standing 2nd Section N.

In 2nd place with an excellent bird were Dave McSween and Jim Sexton of Silksworth.

4th position, yours truly Bob Mckie. At Stockton and 5th club were John & Steven Best.

Several members timed in decent birds which will live to fight another day. Overall the race was satisfactory with around 50% returns.

Jeff wins the Vanrobaey Feeds sponsorship prizes of various products and 2 bags of their young bird mixture. Interestingly Jeff has been using a variety of Vanrobaey Premium mixes this season and is well pleased with the results.

He also wins the £50 sponsorship prize from Oxhill Garage, Stanley (Many thanks to Mick Fantarrow for his support).

I must send congratulations to the Anderson family at Washington, who not only win Section N but also had a total of 7 birds in the clock I believe. All of which will figure prominently in the final Section N result.

Ancenis National

Once started the National races seem to arrive rapidly so don’t forget your entry forms etc.

Hope to see everyone at Bowburn on Wednesday night and even if you are not racing helpers are really welcome.

Bob Mckie

May 20, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Race marking for Fougeres National

Well that’s the first Bowburn Marking Station completed and overall it didn’t go that badly.

The hall we have tapped into is first class, quite spacious, and accessible with reasonable parking for all. There are parking spaces behind the main Community Centre which we can use more of in future if required.

The transporter was a little late in arriving due to heavy traffic but to his credit Bob, the driver kept me informed. He was able to park up, unload and load the crates quite easily and it is only a short walk from the hall to the vehicle.

Big thank you to all the members who acted as helpers. It does require quite a number to people complete the marking task especially with the tight security arrangements in operation. Barrie Blackett was in attendance early to set up the ETS which worked well. And the traditional task of rubbers was efficiently overseen by Jim Nicholson assisted by Jim Sexton & Colin Walker.

No doubt we will get better in future as we work smarter. Hopefully the same helpers will be in attendance next time and build on their experience.

Once again thanks.

The fanciers from Section O and K were also very supportive. One thing we learned is that for Unikon Profi system we need a larger base station as the Champ hardware is too small for the pocket clocks.

Race Day 20th May

As we know the birds were held-over because of the weather (as were MNFC) and to be fair I thought it was a good call. Check out the website for up to date weather forecasts if you don’t already. It is pretty impressive. Sunday looks a much better day and there is every chance given the forecast that Section N birds are in with a shout. So the best of luck to everyone.

Bob Mckie


May 13, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report


Check out the latest article raising the clubs profile in this weeks BHW.

RPRA Dispensation

I understand that the RPRA have stated that with NFC & MNFC 2017 rings carrying the extra zero, the first zero on the ring can be ignored for all National races.

Nick Adshead

I have spoken to Nick and he has provisionally agreed to attend our annual prize presentation evening as the main guest.

Avian Flu

Nothing further to report on the latest outbreak in Lancs. where racing has been banned within the isolation zone.

Fougeres National

Hope your preparations for the first National have gone well. Jeff Walton has been working tirelessly to ensure that our marking station at Bowburn is all ready to go. We will require all your support and hope everything works out ok on the night although there are bound to be some hiccups.

I am currently in talks with the NFC to finalise Transporter issues albeit the driver is aware that we start marking at 5.30pm. You may be interested to know that birds will receive their first light feed on the Thursday morning at Sheffield.

I am expecting the odd fancier from outside the Section boundary to be using the Marking Station.

Bob Mckie

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