2013 Trans Tasman Test Report
Held in Ashburton, New Zealand
Report on the Australian test teams trip to New Zealand.
Monday 28th October
Arrived in Sydney and booked into Formula 1. The dogs were put in the hands of Dogtainers for their final vetting and clearance.
Tuesday 29th October
Spare day as the dogs needed to be with Dogtainers for twenty four hours before the flight to New Zealand. We organised a trip around Sydney harbour on the ferry for everybody. It was a good way to see some of the sights in a short period of time. There was a bit of smoke around from the fires that had been in the Blue mountains and around Sydney. We met a very good shuttle bus taxi driver who picked us up from Formula 1 and took us to Circular Quay to catch the ferry, then back to the hotel. Not all taxi drivers are grumpy. He was particular good.
Wednesday 30th October
Early start to catch our flight. I had arranged a shuttle bus to pick us up at six thirty (this shuttle bus driver was very grumpy) so we could be at the airport a couple of hours before our flight. The flight was late leaving but arrived in Christchurch approximately four thirty. John and Yvonne Harvey and Andrew Clarke were there to meet us. After clearing and collecting the dogs, we headed to the Ashburton hotel where the Australian and New Zealand team were staying. That evening we had a meal and drinks with the New Zealand team and called it a day around ten o'clock.
Thursday 31st October
Up early and headed out to Stuart and Kate Miller's to give the dogs their first run on sheep, while the New Zealand team looked on. We came back to the house where Stuart's parents, Michael and Anne, along with Kate, had organised a nice lunch. Took about one and a half hours to get there. There was some lovely scenery on the way out as well as around Stuart's place.
Friday 1st November, 2013
We had the opportunity to work some sheep on a trans Tasman course that was set up at Mark and Robyn Copeland's. We arrived at quarter past eight and the team gave the dogs a good solid run on the course. We had to be back at Ashburton for a lunch put on by the A&P show society.
The first test started at two o'clock. Australia won the toss and decided to put New Zealand in to start the competition. This would give us an opportunity to see how the sheep were going to work. Murray Child got New Zealand away to a good start.
Greg Prince was our first worker and we were confident his experience could get the team a good opening score.
As the first test continued both teams had competitors that were unable to pen their sheep. Bernard McGlashan was our last competitor and we needed him to come up with a solid score to finish the first test. With a thunderstorm developing in the west we thought history might be repeating itself. When Bernard competed in New Zealand in the last test series he had his run in a severe hail storm. Luck must have been on our side however, and Bernard penned his sheep with only three seconds remaining. So at the end of the first test New Zealand were leading by eight and a half points.
When we were on the way back to the hotel Greg Prince threatened to murder Bernard if he didn't allow himself more time at the pen as he was nearly having a heart attack watching him.
Saturday 2nd November, 2013
The team needed to be at Ashburton show grounds early as they were going to have a run in the Tux yarding challenge. This was made easier by having the fire alarm go off at around 6.00am and everyone had to evacuate the hotel. It must have been something about fire alarms as when we were at the Formula 1 in Sydney the alarm was raised early on the second day in Sydney.
All members of the team competed in the Tux yarding event and Bernard McGlashan made it to the finals to finish in third position.
At lunch time there was a grand parade which both teams were involved in, and were transported at the head of the parade on trailers. Following the singing of the national anthems and presenting the teams to the crowd it was time to do the toss to see who started the second test. I tossed the coin and Bernard called and once again we won the toss. Bernard nominated Australia to be the first worker in the second test. The thought behind it was we knew what the sheep were like and hoped Greg would get us away to a good start again.
Throughout the series the team had good discussions and after the first test we changed our plans and said if we won the toss in the second test we would go first and make them chase. I had mentioned some areas on the course after judging where they might have been able to save some points. The team agreed they would not be conservative and go hard for a win as we might as well lose by fifty as by five points. As hoped Greg started with a good score, and this put the pressure on Murray Child and Dice to match his first run. Murray penned the sheep but the dog was sitting a little way out from the pen in a crouched position and not on her feet. As Murray went to shut the gate the sheep bolted out and he was unable to re-pen them.
Ivan Solomon was our second worker. Unlike the first test run, this time Ivan was able to pen his sheep with a good score and put more pressure on the New Zealand team.
To set the sheep up for the dogs to cast onto, a handler and a dog positioned the sheep at the end of the cast. Sometimes the dog is left in a holding position until the competitors dog gets close enough and then the dog is removed. This allows for everybody to have an even pick up. Geoff's run with Merri did stick in my mind as when he cast her and the dog was removed from the sheep they started to follow the dog, but eventually pulled up when Merri got close to the end of her cast. It wasn't until half way through her run that she was able to settle her sheep and eventually get to the pen. It was a very good recovery from a shaky start.
Bernard was the last worker for the Australian team to compete, and he completed his run and penned his sheep with time to spare. The team could rest easy that they had done the best they could do.
Stuart Miller was the last New Zealand team member to work and also complete the second test. After the scores were tallied Australia had won by 24 points and the Wayleggo Cup returns to Australia.
Mark and Robyn Copland's big upstanding Romney two tooths took absolutely no prisoners and were unforgiving in their punishment. In both tests they were very difficult to pen. They were consistent throughout but were probably a little bit lighter to work in the second test. The Australian team are to be congratulated on a great team effort on their win and commiserations go to the New Zealanders. The aussie team was lead by Bernard McGlashan who did a great captain's job.
John Harvey and his team are to be congratulated on the hospitality that they showed towards the Australian team while they were in New Zealand.