Saturday 18th April saw the Up North Combine at the new race point Oakham, the replacement race for Melton Mowbray. The first transporter pulled in at 2.05am and the last wagon arrived at 02.30am. The morning started with a cold North East wind with sunshine and a reasonable amount of cloud and good visibility.
The official forecaster’s and convoyers line of flight at Newark, Worksop, Retford, Doncaster, Weatherby, York, Thirsk, Teesside, Sunderland, Tyneside and Coquetdale all gave good conditions. Chief Convoyer Steve Profitt liberated Group 1 at 8.30am and got Group 2 up and away at 8.50am, followed by Group 3 at 9.10am. Then Group 4 hit the skies at 9.30am with Group 5 strings being cut at 9.50am, and Group 6 on the chase at 10.10am. The weather conditions at the time of liberation were a North East wind and excellent visibility, with well broken cloud, blue skies and sunshine which allowed all Groups clearing well.
Starting at Billingham T U where we see Ali & Linda McLeod time a couple of their entries to win 1st and 5th Club, with the red card winner being a 2014 bred blue pied cock. The chart-topping cock who covered the 134 miles 1216 yards in 2 hours 46 minutes 7 seconds to record a top vel of 1427 which was enough to score an impressive 2nd Teesside Federation from a convoy of 985 birds. The Sire of Ali’s winner is his very good cock who is the winner of 4 x 1st Club and many other prize cards, including 1st Club, 1st Fed and 2nd Up North Combine (winning a UNC Silver Medal) old bird Eastbourne (2) National in 2013 from a convoy of 11,572 birds. The cock also won 1st Club, 2nd Fed and 8th Up North Combine Ypres in 2015 from a convoy of 7,905 birds. The Dam of Ali’s Oakham winner is a half Sister to his good friends and Clubmates Brain Atkinson & Keith Perkins 1st Up North Combine Gold Medal winning “Ollie”. Ali’s second timer was a yearling blue hen doing 1419 to lift a notable 8th Fed; the previous winning hen took 5th Club, 9th Fed out of this seasons Worksop race when she was beaten by three loftmates that scored 2nd, 3rd and 4th Club, 6th, 7th and 8th Fed when there were 973 birds competing. The partnership of Brian Atkinson & Keith Perkins timed no fewer than three of their squad in the space of 7 seconds to chalk up a notable 2nd, 3rd and 4th Club, with the blue card being awarded to a 3y blue pied cock doing 1421.4 for a welcomed 4th Fed. The cock who is a previous winner is a Grandson of the duo’s 1st Up North Combine Gold Medal winning “Ollie”. The green card was chalked up by a 2y blue cock doing 1421.3 to pocket 5th Fed, like Brian & Keith’s blue card scorer, he is a previous winner. The lad’s third timer was a yearling blue cock who knocked up a vel of 1420 for 6th Fed; the yellow card potter is a Son of the boys blue card scorer, so he is a Great Grandson of “Ollie”. Les Wellburn & Sons tops the
Middlesbrough H/S charts from a ten members entry of 261 birds, with the red card winner being a yearling blue pied hen covering the 130 miles 991 yards in 2 hours 41 minutes 33 seconds to record a vel of 1422 which was enough to score a well-earned 3rd Fed. Smith & Profitt had a couple of birds on the clock to lift 2nd and 3rd Club with the blue card going to a 2014 bred chequer hen making 1416 for 9th Fed; while the green was netted by a 1y blue hen doing 1409 to net 13th Fed. The duo timed a later bird which they fancied to win 1st 3-Bird Club Nom. D Hutchinson & Son the previous weeks 1st Fed Worksop winners are in 4th spot after timing a Sunderland rung yearling chequer cock achieving a vel of 1393 to pot 19th Fed. The partnership of R Donnelly, Brothers & Daughter had a couple of birds on the clock to take 2nd and 3rd 3-Bird Club Nom. The late Wyn Cole, Steve Wheatley & Grandson won 1st and 2nd Club at the Beechwood & Easterside, leading the way was a 3y blue cock flying the 130 miles 880 yards in 2 hours 42 minutes 21 seconds to rack up a top vel of 1414 for 10th Fed. 26 seconds behind the winner in the blue card position was a 2y blue pied cock knocking out a vel of 1410 to notch up 12th Fed.
News from Marske & New Marske where the inform loft of Craig Wedgewood records his third consecutive win after filling a couple of cells to win 1st and 4th Club, with top spot being won by his equally inform 4y red cock of John Whittaker of Bramley Lofts lines. The red card winning cock took 3rd Club out of Selby on the opening day of the new 2015 racing season when beaten by a loftmate that won 1st East Cleveland Federation from a convoy of 1,303 birds. And then last week he won 1st Club Worksop, he is proving to be a handful for the Marske lads at the moment. The yellow card was chalked up by a blue chequer cock who like the winner, is out of the John Whittaker Pigeons. The cock who is well known for his previous winning performances was 3rd Club Worksop the previous week, I’m sure him and the winning red cock will be in the results a few times before the seasons out. Jimmy Reed filled no fewer than three chambers to lift 2nd, 3rd and 5th Club with the blue card going to a 2y blue flipey hen of the late Jack Brown & Tony Hunt lines. The green card was awarded to a yearling chequer hen of the top North Yorks loft of Homer & Williams bloodlines, and she was followed by a 1y blue hen of Jimmy’s own family. It was good to see my old mate Mr Tony “Simply The Best” Bannister of the Skelton Green partnership of Bannister & Col Robinson win 1st East Cleveland Federation from Oakham from a convoy of 2,082 birds. After this epic win Banno will have to fight off the ladies, it brings back memories of the top pop group The Beatles hay-days in the 1960s when John, Paul, George & Ringo were mobbed by screaming fans. Just like a good wine, Banno gets better and better with age. Andrew Crooks of Staithes won 1st East Cleveland Federation from Worksop the previous week when there were 2,311 birds competing.
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