My show season starts in earnest with my annual pilgrimage to Keyenborg (1) in Holland. It has, for many years, been the only specialist Lizard show that attracts an international entry. There were 207 birds on show, and true to form, the major prize winners came from Belgium, Holland and Great Britain.
Some of the top Belgian breeders gave the show a miss this year and it was left to Bart Deckers to fly the flag. He did so with panache, winning no less than five classes, with one of his winners going on to secure the award for Best Silver Lizard. It wasn’t difficult to pick out his birds. Almost every time I saw a bird I liked it proved to be one of Bart’s.
Best Silver was Bart’s broken cap silver hen, a well-balanced bird that displayed all the essential characteristics of the Lizard canary, the spangling on her cap being the icing on the cake. His non cap gold hen also caught my eye.
Marcel van Riezen upheld the honour of the host nation by winning Best Lizard and Best Gold with a broken cap gold hen. A typical Dutch bird, which might have been classified as a clear cap in other countries, but that is the benefit of knowing what Dutch judges are looking for.
Of the other entries, one stood out: a beautiful non cap silver hen entered by Joe Coakley. She must surely have given Bart’s Best in Show a good run for her money. Unfortunately this bird doesn’t wear a closed ring and won’t be eligible for the World Show. In my opinion, she would have been a contender for a medal.
There was genuine competition amongst the London Fancies with Marko Dielen and Andy Early both fielding small, but very good, teams. I had seen Marko’s bird beforehand, and was confident that he would come out on top, only to discover that Andy had an even better bird that would surely have won the National Exhibition had it been ready at the beginning of the month. Undoubtedly the best British-bred London Fancy I have seen. Unfortunately Andy’s camera decided to focus on the bars rather than the bird, but the photo gives a fair impression of its overall design.
- The village is usually known Keyenborg although the village signs spell it as Keijenborg. The pronunciation is the same (the final ‘g’ is pronounced ‘ch’ as in a Scottish loch).
- My apologies to Marcel for having credited Bart with Best Lizard in the first edition of this report. Joe Coakley pointed out my error and I have updated the text accordingly. It’s still a mystery why Bart’s Best Silver was presented as ‘Beste Lizard’ in the photo at the head of this article.