Sponsored by Kronch dog food, the competition took place on Saturday 1 July and saw teams of dogs and handlers from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales competing for a haul of prizes culminating with the coveted title of Top Team.

The dogs were tested on their hunting, marking and retrieving abilities as well as their steadiness to shot. The spaniel competition took place in the morning with three dogs and handlers taking part for each team, a format repeated in the afternoon with the retrievers, and as ever the standard was incredibly high. The courses set by the judges proved challenging and there were some failed retrieves, but the best dogs rose to the top. Trevis Crothers claimed the Top Spaniel prize with his five-year-old springer spaniel Rytex Rie, kennel name Maggie. Impressively, John Dawson won both the Top Retriever and Top Dog categories with his five-year-old Labrador Balleyvalley Riley, kennel name Riley.

The Irish topped the Spaniel Team and the Retriever Team, as well as placing on top for the overall Four Nations International Gundog Competition 598 points over Scotland’s 588. England were third with 563 points and Wales took fourth place with 435 points.

Willie Megaughin, team captain for Ireland, commented: “It takes an enormous amount of work to pick the team, in total I viewed 42 dogs to find the six for the team. The Four Nations is one of the highlights of our year and we all enjoy catching the ferry over from Larne. The competition was nail-biting right up to the last retrieve by the last dog. Conditions were perfect this year with the grass being the ideal length for spaniels to hunt in and labradors to retrieve from. We are very grateful to all the judges and of course to Sam Drysdale for organising the competition.”

Sam added: “We are incredibly grateful to the hardworking captains and teams for supporting us in our seventh year running this event. Each year we are blown away with the feedback. The work that goes into organising the competition is massive but when the weekend is over and everyone is commenting how good it was it makes it all worth it. Massive congratulations to Team Ireland for taking away every prize including one of the members sons taking away 1st in Junior Handler on the Sunday! So definitely a clean sweep. Planning will commence for 2024 shortly and we look forward to welcoming the teams back for next year."

Next year’s event takes place from Friday 5 – Sunday 7 July 2024.