We started off with PODS tournament on the 28th and 29th July, we had three teams entered; Chasers, Seekers and Starters. Chasers started off the weekend with a new line up of: Digby, Jasmine, Winchester and Inca. Unfortunately the day did not really go as planned! We always knew Winchester (AKA Wibby) had a habit of fumbling when getting the ball from the box, but he had been getting much better and at training was barely doing it at all, he could easily do times of 4.2/4.3 so knowing we were taking a bit of a risk, decided to put him on top team and see what difference it made to times. It seems that the competition environment plus lower jumps make Wibbys head go *pop*, poor lad barely managed a full race without fumbling, so lessons learned, Wibby needs to keep on the higher jumps, we managed a 5th place with the team. On a much more positive note Digby made his Open debut and did not put a paw wrong all day, Gail did a brilliant job of running him, having to get the hang of running start dog and keep her cool under the pressure of Div 1 racing!
Next up we had Seekers, which consisted of; Bracken, Billy, Macdui and Tes. The days racing didn't start off great with Chasers and it really didn't get any better with Seekers! Macdui ran out all day and we could not for the life of us work out why, he just refused to "play ball," Billy was also joining in by running out when in the Blue lane, so we decided to go NFC in order to get them doing it right. Thankfully by going NFC we could all end of a positive note!
Starters (thankfully) did a much better job than the Open teams, coming away with a well deserved third place, we were joined by two new dogs, one from Sheffield and one from Grasshoppers, so there was no real way of knowing how the day would pan out. This was to be Ambers first Starter debut, with intentions of her doing lots of runbacks and perhaps the odd leg, if she looked up to it. Amber surprised us all by running perfectly for 6 legs! No head pops, no blips, nothing, paw perfect all day, what a star! Kai has also started to turn a corner by running straight back to his mum and grandad for most of the day! Paddy is looking on top form once again, seeming happy and confident, time to start thinking about his Open debut! Skye is also looking more than ready
to go into Open and she will be making her first appearance at Drax!
So that was our first weekend of racing, we then had singles and pairs on Monday and the Cross Country Challenge on Tuesday. In Singles Inca gained 2nd place with a fastest time of 4.07!! Only just pipped by Lacey and Becky from Basset Allsorts who got the fastest time of the day with 4.03!! I was over the moon with Inca running that fast, I have NEVER known her to run that fast and I'm hopeful it is a sign of things to come from her. Bracken and Hunter came 2nd in pairs with a fastest time of 9.87, a real achievement particularly for Hunter and Derek, Hunter has a long History of fear aggression and has gained an unfair and unbalanced reputation as an aggressive dog, he is a sweet friendly boy, but he does need space, for this reason Hunter has never yet raced in a competition environment (watch this space) and so has never won a rossette. It was a very special moment watching Derek go and collect his first ever award for a very special dog. Jasmine and Inca placed first in pairs with a fastest time of 8.57.
Cross Country saw myself and Jasmine, Beth and Kane and then Beth and Inca, making utter fools of ourselves! Beth and Kane were by far the best as Kane was more interested in having a jolly good sniff and toilet breaks! Jasmine and I placed fourth and Beth and Inca placed third.
Wednesday was the first day of the Cheshire Set tournament, with much the same line ups as Sunday, but with Bracken and Winchester swapping teams. Both Open teams had a much better time of it this time round. Chasers getting a 4th, but only missing out on placings as we threw away at least two races on lights, pushing to see what times we could get! On analysing the individual times of the dogs, "on paper" we are more than capable of running at around 17.20 but on the day only managed a best time of 17.38. We haven't had much time to practise with this combination of dogs and the dogs will still need to gel with each other. However the dogs all ran sooo much better than they ever have! Digby got a fastest time of 3.89!! Bracken did a fastest time of 4.38, which I am more than happy with as she has never even met Digby, let alone run into him! Jasmine got a best time of 4.30!! (Is there a 4.2? in her?!!) and Inca did a fastest time of 4.17. I am so impressed with all of them and for whatever reason this combination really works as the dogs are all running faster than they ever have!!
Next Open team was Seekers, running the same combination as we did on Sunday with Mia as reserve and hoping that Macdui was simply having an "off day" and would be back on form, sadly this was not the case, he ran out all morning and so was sent to see a spinal therapist who informed us he had injured himself previously, poor lad! So he was of course pulled from the rest of the days racing, the team came away with a 5th place, Billy returned to running correctly in the Blue lane which Kay was ecstatic about!
Thursday was the starters again, with the same dogs as Saturday. Unfortunately after only one race it seemed that Ted, our "borrowed" dog from Sheffield was lame and so was pulled from the days racing which left Amber and Troy to share a place, which would have been fine had Troy ("borrowed" dog from Grasshoppers) not been spooked and refused to go up the lane. The pressure was on for Amber, but did she falter? Did she even bat an eyelid? Nope! She was a superstar, running most of the races all day and totally taking it in her stride! Troy also managed to finish the day on a positive note and was running really well by the end of the day. A 4th place for the starters.
This was Storm Chasers first week long "holiday" together and it truly was one of the best weeks I have ever had. We had river walks, beach walks, parties, BBQ's, curry nights, (the odd bit of booze *ahem*) and we all got along fantastically, the dogs all got along beautifully, not one spat from any of them. I know I say it a lot, but I really am proud of everyone on the team, we (canine and human) have all bonded brilliantly, pulled together, helped each other out, and had an absolute BLAST at times! Our next comp is the British Championships and to say I'm a little nervous would be a true under statement, but I know we will all do our best and whatever happens I know that I have the best Flyball team in the world! We might not have the fastest dogs, we might not get the best change overs, but I wouldn't change a single one of them and couldn't ask for more.
British Champs, HERE WE COME!!!!!