Football commentators are rather fond of describing a match as ‘a game of two halves’; a statement of the obvious. What they really mean is a game in which the two halves are very different in terms of performance, goals and quality. It’s not often that I ever make a connection between football matches and bird shows, but the 2018 Lizarddag is an exception: it was a show of two halves.
The first half gave the gold (1) Lizards an opportunity to perform. It was a lacklustre display. With a few notable exceptions, the overall quality of the gold Lizards was disappointing.
The second half was very different; the silvers (2) were outstanding. To use another cliché favoured by sports commentators, their performance was ‘World class’, but it might be apposite on this occasion: I’m confident that most of the medal winning silvers at the next World Show were in action at Keijenborg.
Man of the match was Fernand Moes from Belgium who won both Best Gold and Best Silver, the latter going on to win Best Lizard. Fernand is one of the nicest (and almost certainly the most modest) Lizard breeders you will find anywhere. Health problems have curtailed his competitive campaigns in recent years, but I was pleased to learn that he is on the road to recovery. It makes you wonder what he might achieve when he is fully fit.
Fernand’s broken cap gold hen was a very good Lizard with excellent spangles, rowings, and colour. She was undoubtedly the best gold on the day and won quite easily.
His broken cap silver hen had a much tougher fight on her hands. She is one of those birds whose spangles were always straight, but the centre rows were close to being tramlines (3). She had a neat patch cap, which continental judges are very fond of, and this may have compensated for any weakness in her spangles.
Fernand has always had a strong team of silvers, and this year was no exception. If his broken cap silver had not won, his winner in the clear cap silver class would have been an excellent substitute (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Fernand was the top scorer for a very strong Belgian team (there we go again). He was backed up in the Lizard classes by Bart Deckers (Best gold cock and Best blue) and Jean Degroot (Best silver non cap). The exception to the rule was Jules Etienne, usually the favourite to win Best Lizard, but just like last year he came away empty handed. Are Jules’ powers waning? Not at all. In my opinion he fielded the strongest team at the show. His silver Lizards were brimming with quality and it would come as no surprise if they come out on top at the World Show. Here is my favourite:
The London Fancy classes were much reduced because of Piet Render’s absence, but Marko Dielen made the most of the opportunity to show us how far his birds have improved. Marko has only been breeding London Fancies for four years, but the quality has been rising steadily and the proportion of good birds is higher. His winning jonque cock (4) was well worthy of the title.
His mealy (5) hen won the award for Best spangle-back. This is more significant than it might seem because it indicates that the judges, who adopted a hard line with the London Fancies last year, are becoming more pragmatic. It’s a policy that can only encourage other breeders to enter their birds in future.
The Dutch team had a disappointing competition. Of the nine large classes at Keijenborg, the Belgian birds won six, British birds two and Dutch birds only one. Unfortunately Marko Dielen had no competition to win Best ‘red’ (i.e. colour-fed) Lizard or Best London Fancy, which leaves Pedro Leijen’s victory in the clear cap gold class (6) as the only Dutch victory against top opposition. Being beaten at home must be discouraging, and I can only hope that Dutch breeders see it as a challenge to raise their game.
- Known as ‘intensief’ (intensive) in Holland.
- Known as ‘schimmel’ (or non-intensive) on the continent.
- ‘Tramlines’ refer to spangles that have a light edge that is so fine that they almost merge into a continuous solid dark stripe. When two stripes run parallel with one another, they look like tramlines.
- ‘Jonque’ is the traditional term for yellow or intensive feather in London Fancies.
- ‘Mealy’ is the traditional term for buff or non-intensive feather in London Fancies.
- Unfortunately Pedro had left before I could photograph his winner.
Just click on any photo in the gallery and then clock on the ‘view full size’ button to see a larger version.
Finally, a get-out clause: a problem with the printer meant that I haven’t received a copy of the catalogue or result sheet, so if my report is strewn with errors I can blame the printer.