• This Could Be Rotterdam - Nope, It's Ipswich

    I’m sad.

    I’m sad because our Euro 2016 odyssey is now over and we are all back at home, and you know what, I can honestly say hand on heart that the last 4 days have been some of the best Flyball days I have ever experienced.

    Many of you will be aware, but some possibly won’t that the run up to this years Euro’s was a difficult one for DogStar. In the space of a week Liz had to say goodbye to her Spaniel Neam followed shortly by Julie and Keith losing their much loved Whippet Arthur to AIHA after a short illness.

    While Neam hadn’t competed much with my dogs, I saw her regularly and of course Arthur had been around since we joined DogStar in 2014 and we had run with him since the end of last year. Both dogs were dearly loved and will be missed.

    On top of these disasters we also ended up with a severely depleted team due to other injuries to the point that we actually considered pulling the teams from the Euro’s since we didn’t actually have enough dogs, however, we managed to pull together 2 teams, albeit with a depleted number of dogs.

    I don’t intend to do a blow by blow account of every race, more an overview. We all arrived on the Thursday (some later than others – thanks Nissan in Swindon!) and were all setup in time for a quick drink. I did hear that the queue at the fish and chip van was pretty large, but hey ho!

    I have to mention at this point that the organisation by Cambridgeshire was exceptional – if anyone wants to know how to organise, setup and run a competition this was a model, from the people on bikes guiding caravans and campers to their pitches, right through to the chicanes which were there to slow people down (although given this is only the 3rd time I’d towed the caravan, chicanes weren’t something I had up to this point experienced!).

    Friday was speed trials for us, and our ‘Demons’ team ended up in division 20, with ‘Diamonds’ ending up in division 13.

    Thankfully for us, Jennifer had brought Ginnie with her, and despite being in retirement since October, she took up the mantle of running in Demonz and made that a 5 dog team (Prada, Merlin, Archie, Ginnie and Meg) with Diamonds comprising Melora, Domino, Bedevere and Jenna.

    Which brought us to Saturday, with Demons running in the morning and Diamonds in the afternoon. Demons had a fantastic run, ended up in the final without losing, but sadly ended up coming in 2nd. Frankly if anyone had told us on Thursday we’d be 2nd knowing everything that had happened we’d have laughed at you. All team members had agreed in advance that in all likelihood we didn’t stand a cat in hells chance and we were just going for the experience (and since we’d paid!)

    Merlin and Ginnie shared a spot and both of them did outstandingly. It was lovely to see Ginnie bounding down the run with a smile on her face, and Merlin gave it his all.

    Diamonds started well, but ended up with a win, lose, win, lose and eventually came in 4th. Again though, this was well above what was expected, especially since we only had 4 dogs.

    So a second and a fourth (in 8 team divs) – to us, we won. Seriously, we were that pleased and surprised with the results.

    It was quite amusing at presentation since the parade clearly made us realise we were actually one of the smaller teams in terms of number of people (even the Isle of Mann had more!) But standing on the podium picking up that trophy with the whole team (since all of DogStar there had either run, box loaded, managed or ball collected) was a magical experience.

    On Sunday, we managed to go down and watch the divisions racing which was awesome.

    Here’s the thing though – everyone said it felt like we had been in Ipswich for a couple of weeks – but this is in no way derogatory. We felt relaxed, enjoyed it, relaxed, raced and the whole experience was just extraordinary. Personally I’ve not felt as chilled as I do tonight in many a month which is quite odd after the racing all day on Friday and Saturday and the 5 hours drive home.

    Again, hats off to Cambridge (oh, and your epic announcer!)

    So, that’s me signing off, but before I go, please have a minute or two to reflect on those who couldn’t be with us. We hope we did them proud.


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