The Midland show is a great opportunity for those late-bred and late-maturing birds to show what they are capable of. It’s quite an art: those of us who were around in the nineties will remember Stan Insall always had something up his sleeve for the late shows – often the National winner! This year, however, none of them were able to mount a challenge against the birds that had been campaigning earlier in the season. Judge David Allen awarded Best in Show to David Newton’s broken cap gold hen that had been Best Champion at the Classic. A deserved winner, with near-perfect spangles, profuse rowings, and a wonderful show temperament; she always looked A1. David’s team was strong throughout, with his clear cap silver hen also looking a top show bird.
A broken cap gold hen also won Best Novice Lizard canary. This bird was benched by Wayne Elton, who sent out a strong team. I particularly liked his broken cap gold cock, which displayed wonderful spangles on broad shoulders, and had excellent rowings for a male. For some reason, this bird has never won a major award, even though Wayne thinks it’s the pick of his team (and I agree with him). I can only assume it is one of those birds that looks his best in the afternoon, when he is relaxed and not under the judge’s gaze. Too late!
It still amazes me how much Stan Bolton has salvaged from the disaster that befell his stud earlier this year. His non cap gold hen, Best Champion at the National, was still looking good, and his clear cap gold cock displayed excellent spangles and colour. You can only imagine what he would have won if he hadn’t lost most of his birds half way through the breeding season.
I had been looking forward to see how Les Parkin’s broken cap silver hen would fare at the show. She had been unbeatable at local shows earlier in the season, but was evidently feeling the effects of a long campaign, and wasn’t at her best this time. That’s a pity; Les only keeps a few pairs of Lizards and I’d love to see him defy the odds at a big show.
I like the Midland show. It has that late autumn feel; it is the swan-song of the Lizard canary season (1); the pressure is off. There is more time to look at the birds and appreciate them; to chat to the breeders, to assess their past progress and their future prospects; we all have one eye on the next season. Isn’t that how the year should end ?
My thanks to Stan Bolton for lending me his camera after I’d left mine at home!
- Sorry about the mixed metaphor. Apologies also to the January shows, but most people wrap up their season at the Midland.