National Championship 2003

Judged by Paul Chantry

Paul arrived on Friday afternoon, we decided on an early night; Paul had been working the night before. I woke in the early hours “Bloody hell it’s thundering I thought, but looking out at the clear night I realised it was Paul snoring downstairs, my first but not final encounter of the infamous Paul Lee snore. Saturday morning and Paul’s found the key’s and he’s out packing up his car at 6 o’clock ready for the off to Mark Cranney’s where my mate and marker Adam Bairstow was waiting for us. Mark put his old birds out to start the 2003 National Fly. Marks birds started off at a good height but came down low above the houses and then went flat.

Then off to Eddy Baynes. Bonfire night had come early to Buttershaw, who had decided to burn the rubble of the old factory behind Ed’s at half 7 on a Saturday morning I don’t know but he should have supplied us and the birds with oxygen masks. Peter Wilsons birds looked tired but they have flown in a lot of competition this year. Alan Hamilton’s young birds got to a nice height and put in some good breaks towards the end of the fly. Then on to the M62 to Hull.
Again a good turn out in Middlesboro good to see so many lads going round .First to fly this morning was Mick Proudman, he put a nice team of quality rollers up some nice breaks but I probably missed a few breaks because of that bloody big tree behind the house. Birds flew at a nice height and were enjoyable to watch. Wayne Wilson next, his birds just didn’t want to fly and they landed before time. George Frost’s birds went up through the cloud he had maximum time but they never came down low enough to judge. Peter Foster’s birds again went through the cloud so he withdrew them .Unfortunately Terry Allinson birds didn’t get it together until the last 7 minutes but some good rollers. Peter Robinson put up some good, fast quality birds but struggled to keep it together as a kit. Morris Hole’s old bird team flew at a nice speed but resisted the roll, a lot of following through.Henry Armstrong’s old birds flew quite high and held back a lot. Again Kevin Robinson’s birds flew too high to judge properly. Derek Smith flew a nice team of young birds that worked well against a strong breeze.Ali Milne’s kit flew too high again just didn’t come down. A lot of the birds today pinned out which was surprising because there was a lot of cloud but a strong breeze. Well we were in the windy city!

Back to Pete Harpers for the night, a quiet night in tonight watched a bit of tele needed to recover from last night anyway!

Up at 5 next morning Pete made us a cuppa and we stood on his front doorstep watching a team of pigeons (can’t remember whose) before we set of to Hull for a good fry up at Gary and Wendy Templemans.

Gary flew his young bird and yearling teams, taking the lead at that time with his yearlings. Then back to Yorkshire to Jeb Whites. Jeb flew his young birds which did a lot of individual rolling but didn’t get the breaks as a kit. Went on to the next competitor but he’d gone away for the weekend! So back to Jeb Whites who put his yearling kit up. This team worked well as a unit and put in some nice breaks taking the lead from Gary and holding on to it to go on and win the yearling competition. And still Jeb called me a tight git! Then to Sheffiield to Bill O’Callaghan’s allotment.
Bill’s old bird team worked well to begin with then lifted too high. His yearlings didn’t want to work just enjoyed flying in the wind. Another day finished and so down to Paul and Marilyn Lees(my home from home) A good shower and then round to a neighbours for a barby and a few pints of the black velvet. Lovely jubilee.

Jim Fowkles of Derby started the fourth day off, flying his young birds. The kit didn,t work as a unit just individuals. Sean Fearn flew a nice kit of young birds, worked well as a team unfortunately half a dozen of his neighbours birds joined the kit and took them up high. George Mason put his old bird team up; they flew low but a very active team which at that moment took the lead. On to Kev Wilkinson who flew old birds nice active kit to start with then went quiet and picked up again in the last 5 minutes. Back to George Mason, his yearlings didn’t work as a unit at all on the day. Trevor Slater flew old birds as well, these started well but lifted after 5 minutes and stayed too high to judge for the rest of the fly. George Mason again, a nice active team of young birds some nice breaks but again flew low causing one bird to roll into a tree and one onto a chimney which cost George from taking first place in the young bird so far. Les Dodds birds flew fast holding back a lot. Final fliers of the day were Baines and Moseley who flew old birds. Some good fast rollers in this team, flew very low surprised some survived with the depth they had in them. “Home to Paul’s for the night and watched his team of pigeons whilst Marilyn made us our tea.

An early start again to Birmingham. A nice turn out again at Tony Bagley’s house where he flew his old bird team. Worked well to say it turned out to be his stock birds he was flying, a nice team of pigeons. Viv Johnsons birds just wanted a fly and Tony Bagleys young birds started well, some nice quality but then went quiet.
A long journey giving Adam a chance to catch up on his sleep (as usual) down to Evesham to Gordon Daffurns. He flew an old bird team. A nice team these that started off very well putting in break after break but then like a lot of others before them lifted high. Gordon lived in a lovely little country village we went round the corner to the pub for tea but it was shut so we’d to go find somewhere else to eat. Came home and watched a bit of tele then turned in for the night.

Arrived bright and early at John Lenihans. After a bit of brekkie John put out his old birds some good quality birds here with depth and speed which took the lead. John came with us over to Ian Lawrence’s and told us some tales of fanciers young and old. A pleasure to listen to I could have stayed all day. Ian flew old birds. They set off flying very fast but Ian had had trouble with peraguins Once the birds settled into a rhythm they started to work and we saw some nice quality rollers.
Back to Birmingham again where Viv Johnson’s yearlings went out, flew around and landed after 13 minutes. We all know how that feels! Then Pauls again for a chat and a few bevies and we were all tucked in bed for 10o’clock.

George Mason started off Fridays fly with his yearlings they never got it together as a unit just individual rolling. Trevor Slater’s old birds flew at a lovely height but didn’t work at all. Jim Fowkles young birds flew at a better height today a nice team, some nice quality. Up to Bill O’Callaghans next his yearling didn’t work today just flew with the wind. Jeb White flew his young birds they flew well in the wind but kept getting hit by a team of racers. He then flew his yearlings the wind had got up even more by now which spoilt the kit. Spent the night at Paul’s again, more chat, more bevies.

Started off with a bacon butty at Pete Handys whilst everyone turned up. Then Pete flew his old birds put in a good high break before they were put on the clock, some very nice pigeons here, some fast rollers who got back to the kit quickly. George Burgess flew next quite a few lads had turned up by now. George flew a nice active team of young birds a promising team of yearlings for next year here. Next up was Sammy Davis; we had some food at Sammy’s and some of his wife’s home made cake which was lovely. He was given his full time off the clock but his birds just flew too high to judge. We followed John Heague from Sammys to his place it was like “Wacky Racers” with one taking over the other all the way. Then we hit a 20 mile an hour zone whoops how we didn’t get caught on the speed cameras I don’t know(that’s if nobody did) John flew yearlings but again they flew to high to judge but I must say I’ve never seen pigeons that kit so good. At times they looked like only one or two birds were up there they were that tight. Then the wacky racers were off again to Steve Buckleys in Oldham. Steve flew old birds they were very quiet just wanted to fly. Pete Lynam flew an active team of young birds started well but slowed down to a lot of individual rolling. Paul Noon flew his yearlings, they started off slow didn’t start to work until 8 minutes into the fly some nice individuals. Steve Buckley then flew his young birds; some nice quality birds did some nice breaking. Then home to my family for the night.

The Bradford lads (and lass) turned out again for the end of the competition. We all had a big flat cake with a full brekkie on at Gary and Wendy Templemans. Gary then flew his yearlings they started off very slow just rolling individually with an odd break in. Then up to Morris holes, he flew a very good quality young bird team some lovely deep rollers here. Morris took the lead which he kept to the end. Ali Milne let his young bird team out they were very active, Ali gave them the full 10 minutes before he put them on the clock. On the clock they still worked very well a lot of people asked him why he hadn’t put them on earlier but Ali said they weren’t ready. He finished second with them but who knows if he’d put them on earlier. Derek Smith’s yearlings blew away with the wind when they came back popped in a few breaks some nice individuals. Morris Hole flew a nice yearling kit some nice quality rollers especially a red one if there was a champion yearling this bird would have walked it! Peter Foster’s old birds flew at a nice height against the wind a good quality working team that went on to win the competition. Wayne Wilson flew a nice team of young birds to finish the day off as it was too late to get down to Steve Buckleys.
Peter Harper flew his young birds for us whilst we had a cup of tea before hitting the road to Bradford.

We arranged to go to Steve Buckleys the Monday evening and myself and one of my daughters Natalie went over to judge his old birds they were a nice team, some nice quality in them and active.

Steves kit finished the 2003 national championship.

I’ve read in the journals about the judge’s experiences but it was better than I ever imagined. We saw some good quality birds and friends old and new. If you like judging then it’s an opportunity of a lifetime, so get in touch with Paul Lee and put yourself forward I promise you, you won’t regret it.

Congratulations to the winners .

To Paul for giving me the opportunity to do this, to all who fed and watered us. To Pete and Denise Harper, Gordon Daffrun and Paul and Marilyn Lee for putting us up and putting up with us! To Adam Bairstow my trusty marker. And everyone who turned up and came round on the fly to support us. You all know who you are but you’re too many to mention. Finally to Donna, Natalie, Nicola and Naomi for looking
after my birds whilst I was away.

Thank you to you all,

Paul Chantry