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Steve Croxford was to be our judge and, although the course required some handling, once more it was to be fairly free-flowing and looked as though it would run well. But once more, Iím sure that nerves and pressure were playing a big part. The statistics were that out of our 43 starters, there were just eight clear rounds, four clear rounds with time faults and 11 eliminations. The time for the course was 40 seconds which, in fact, did look ample.
Lin Abbott started the competition off in unenviable first place but unfortunately incurred five course faults and 1.03 time faults. Next into the arena was Suzanna Dry who had a clear round but unfortunately in 40.863 seconds which again meant 0.863 time faults. She had rather a nail-biting time until the end of the competition to see if she finished within the top ten which eventually she did coming in ninth.
The first completely clear round ran fifth - Mission Accomplished handled by Karen Smith. She had a lovely clear in 36.50 which would eventually put her in third place. Karen made no secret of the fact that she would rather have qualified her other dog running that day called Man on a Mission but unfortunately he would incur five faults.
Running twelfth and also having qualified for the ABC semi final the previous day was Petra Craven-Houghton. Petra had a superb clear round in 36.97 and leapt for joy when she had finished as she knew she had a chance of qualifying with this time and indeed she did, finishing fifth.
Running fifteenth was Carol Wallace with her JRT Last of the Summer Wine. Carol is a very popular girl and also very accomplished in Heelwork to Music having worked her dogs - including this one - at Crufts in this new and upcoming sport. Well, everything just clicked for her today as she had a wonderful clear round in 34.96 seconds, took the lead from Karen Smith and stayed there.
Amanda Hampson, running twenty-second with Winfren Vulpecula Kayla, went over the finishing line to a round of applause from her supporters club in 36.78 to go into third place but ultimately would finish fourth. Running twenty-fifth and all the way from Scotland was Pamela Keith with Hamish - a nice steady clear but unfortunately picking up 1.94 time faults to go into sixth place but then she had the worry of wondering if she would still be within the top ten at the end of the competition. And she was, fortunately squeezing in at tenth place when the semi final ended.
The next clear round we saw was from that very popular handler Rosie Ison with Disney. Everything went right for them today with a clear round in 37.30 which would leave them in sixth place at the end of the competition.
Running fortieth, Fiona Vaughan arrived on the start line with Hooligan Nell, one of the most accomplished Medium dog pairings that we have and she did not disappoint us. Not quite as fast as Carol Wallace but fast enough in 36.33 seconds clear to take second place.
Forty-second to go was the very experienced pairing of Hannah Mitchell and Shanandi Hit and Run. Running very determinedly, Hannah steered her dog around the course in 37.72 clear to go into seventh place. Then finally it was the turn of Karen Bugler with Niaben Gaelic Storm, another handler who wanted to make sure she got to Olympia and she succeeded clear in 38.41 seconds to go into eighth place.
There were a few surprises on the day, of course, but 'dogs is dogs' and mistakes happen. Iím sure some money would have been on Angela Sallis qualifying for the final with Oliver but that wasn't to be and Toni Dawkins can win everything but when it comes to the Olympia Medium Dogs, Lady Luck does not smile on her. Also I would definitely have bet on Bernadette Bay with Obay Truly Balanced but again Lady Luck passed her by on this occasion. And there were others including Sharon Brewster and Nic Josty.
Presentations were made by our judge Steve Croxford which was quite apt in a way as this is another competition now being sponsored by the Kennel Club and supported by Premier Agility. Steve is also a member of the General Committee of the Kennel Club so he was presenting with two hats on.
Everyone who competed in this semi had a commemorative rosette and, once again, there were three beautiful pieces of crystal and an engraved decanter for our judge.
Top 10 through to the Medium day at Olympia on Thursday, 14 December 2006
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