Fellow fanciers have hailed a fine performance by Roger Hallsworth, of Selston, who won the North Road Championship Club’s Osmonds-sponsored young bird national race from Berwick, just a few weeks after he re-joined the club.
Racing in Section A, he was followed in the provisional result by eight Section C members, before Paul Crooks, also of Section A, popped up in 10th place to complete a fine season for him.
Mr and Mrs Paul Newbold and John Lensen were two more Section C fanciers who filled 11th and 12th positions before the first Section F fanciers appeared in the results – Woods and Batch Loft One at 13. Then followed four more Section F fanciers in Woods and Batch Loft Two, S Rudledge, M Buxton and Mr and Mrs O King, before Section A intervened again in the shape of Nuttall and Son, before N and C Barran and Frew, from Section F, to complete the top 20.
This meant that 17 of the first 20 positions were filled by birds flying to the eastern side of the NRCC territory in a race which started in a north-east wind and ended, at least in the Hallsworth garden, in a west, south-west wind, starting in Section A’s favour and ending in the favour of Sections C and F, one would think.
Whatever deduction you make from this, it concluded with a great win for the 69-year-old retired miner who won the NRCC’s coveted King’s Cup from Lerwick back in 2006 before turning to south road racing, where he has also enjoyed success, in recent years. However, racing from the south was not giving him the satisfaction he sought from the sport he has followed for 55 years, and he decided to return to the north road for young bird racing. His welcomed return to the NRCC will be complete when he starts next year’s old bird season with the club.
He has enjoyed a brilliant north road season with his youngsters competing with Pinkston club, which has a good birdage each week, and then topped it all with the Berwick win with the NRCC. The winning pigeon is a chequered pied hen bred by Belgian fancier Johan Van Herck. Roger, who likes to introduce new birds to his loft each year, fancied the Van Herck pigeons he saw for sale at the Doncaster Show last winter, bought one on the spot, and ordered six youngsters for 2017, picking them up when he went to the Spring Exchange in Belgium.
The winner is one of those six, and is a previous winner as well as being the first bird home when the ETS system failed. Four of these six imports are still in the loft, and all have scored in the young bird races. The Berwick winner had been to every race apart from the first one. Roger has not yet decided on the future role that she will play in his loft. He has, incidentally, still got his 2006 King’s Cup winner, which has sired a number of useful pigeons, although he did not fill his eggs this year.
Roger sent 20 to Berwick and, on Sunday afternoon, had 15 home, although only the winner will feature on the result because, after timing at 1-35pm, he changed clocks in preparation for the return of birds he had sent to the south road race from Carentan. Had he timed subsequent arrivals, he said, they would have been lower down the results.
Just to show the vagaries of pigeon racing, on the day he won a national race from the north, he did not time in one of his 10 entries in the Carentan race, although he had five home when we spoke on Sunday afternoon.
He started the season with 45 young birds, sent seven to one-loft races, and now has 22 left.
He separates his youngsters during the week when racing, and lets them go together on the day of basketing.
Of the win, Roger says: “I was surprised, given the day, but very pleased. I think it was a good performance.”
He was not alone in that assessment. Many other fanciers have been thinking the same thing.
Top 20 in the provisional results are: 1 R Hallsworth (Section A) 1651 ypm; 2 D Perry (C) 1635; 3 Mr and Mrs D Evans (C) 1629; 4 Mr and Mrs R Boulton (C) 1619; 5 Mr and Mrs Kellett (C) 1617; 6 R Mamwell and Grandson (C) 1568; 7 Upsall and Grandson (C) 1558; 8 Dayton and Sayers (C) 1556; 9 Mr and Mrs B Garnham (C) 1538; 10 Paul Crooks (A) 1537; 11 Mr and Mrs Paul Newbold (C) 1533; 12 JW Lensen (C) 1522; 13 Woods and Batch Loft 1 (F) 1513; 14 Mr and Mrs Attwater (C) 1508; 15 Woods and Batch Loft 2 (F) 1507; 16 S Rudledge (F) 1501; 17 M Buxton (F) 1490; 18 Mr and Mrs O King and Sons (F) 1489.873; 19 Nuttall and Son (A) 1489.547; 20 N and C Barran and Frew (F) 1475.
This was the third open win for Section A members this season, following on from successes by Mr and Mrs Brian Guilford (Perth), and Bill Bearder and Sons (Fraserburgh), while Paul Crooks was 3rd and 4th open Thurso, with the Bearders 8th. Who said West can’t be Best?
For the Berwick race there was an entry of 1267 birds from 105 members, and this is what race secretary Ian Bellamy had to say:
“Well, that’s NRCC racing over for another year and I think we finished on a 'high'. “I was a little concerned when convoyer Darren Shepherd phoned me to say that he would liberate at 10.15 as I thought by lunchtime the showers would arrive thick and fast.
“In actual fact the showers held off for longer than anticipated with birds coming through in all sections by teatime. “From talking to several fanciers up and down the NRCC, returns were also good which goes to show the calibre of birds being sent by our members. “Congratulations to Roger Hallsworth. It was his first race with us after re-joining the NRCC after a few years away.”
Young bird section winners were:
Sec A R Hallsworth.
Sec B M Lewis. Sec C D Perry.
Sec E Fitzjohn Bros.
Sec F Wood & Batch Loft 1.
Sec H F Dawkins & Son.
Sec I Mr & Mrs B Laws.