The 2022 LCA Classic was yet another advance on recent years. The show received an entry of 201 Lizard canaries, despite many birds being excluded because their owners were located within an Avian Influenza Control Zone. Fortunately the LCA had anticipated the rising support from Lizard fanciers across the country and set up a third tier of staging to accommodate them all. The packed rows of the famous blue and black show cages made an impressive sight.
Judges Jeremy Goacher and John Record were ably supported by show manager Chris Jordan and stewards David and Paula Newton. The rest of us spent the morning catching up on news and gossip, fuelled by snacks and drinks provided by Noel Sidney assisted by Bob Sneddon. An innovation for 2022 was a silent auction of Lizard canaries that had been first been judged by Danny Richmond to give potential bidders a guide. Just five birds, but I suspect there will be more next year, not least because all were sold, some for healthy prices.
We were joined by Pino Scalamandrè, an avid Lizard supporter from Italy, and his son Roberto who lives in London. Pino was kind enough to share his best photos of the day, many of which you can see here.
As ever, there wasn’t enough time to see all the birds, or their owners, but here are some of the stories of the day.
First, some numbers: 147 Champion exhibits were entered, 107 colour-fed and 40 natural coloured Lizards. Of the 54 Novice entries, 47 were colour-fed and 7 natural coloured.
We had two juniors: last year’s winner Toby Ashpole and newcomer Finlay Martin. The LCA’s rules allows them to show in the Novice classes, and Finlay more than held his own, not only taking the award for Third Best Novice Lizard, but also beating his father Jon into fourth place! Toby also enjoyed success, winning two of the Novice classes.
Bob Sneddon, another newcomer, had excellent results at the East Anglia show, and built on that performance with Second Best Novice, Best Over-year in Show and Best Novice Natural at the LCA Classic.
By far the biggest Novice achievement of the day, however, came from Ray Anthony. His clear cap gold hen not only won Best Novice Lizard, but also went on to win Best in Show. More of that later.
The Champion classes, both colour-fed and natural, were impressive. In my opinion, this was the best array of British Lizards I have seen this century. It wasn’t just the quality of the winners, but the strength in depth across the classes.
In the colour-fed section, Noel Sidney continued his winning ways with a first in the clear cap gold cock class. Alas his non cap gold hen that won the EALCA show looked jaded and couldn’t repeat that performance. Gary McCarthy won the clear cap silver hen class, and Ian Adcock no less than three classes. He put on a dominant performance in the broken cap silver cock class, taking first, second and fourth places. Every one of his team was teeming with rowings and brimming with colour; real eye-catchers. Not amongst the winners, but making his presence felt, was Neville Jones. His birds have made a big step forward since he brought in new blood from Ian and Tony, with many of them high up in the colour-fed classes.
When it came to the top colour-fed awards, one man’s team stood out, with David Newton winning Best, Second and Third Best Champion Lizard. I had seen his winning broken cap silver hen during a visit in early October. She stood out even then, but his clear cap silver cock and non cap gold hen, which came second and third, were both late developers. So late in fact, that they were only entered in the Classic after the closing date! He was fortunate that Show Secretary Ian Adcock (2) was good enough to accept them. There’s a lesson here for all of us: never give up on your Lizards until they finish the moult; it’s amazing how much they can improve in the final week.
The natural coloured Lizards were every bit as good as the colour-feds, which is hardly surprising when you consider the caliber of their supporters, including Tony Horton, David Newton and Rob & Ian Wright. Such was the strength of Tony’s team that he won Best and Second Best Champion natural Lizard. His Best Natural, a clear cap gold cock, displayed excellent rowings for a gold male and went on to be Third Best Lizard in Show.
The battle for Best in Show was between two colour-fed birds: David’s broken cap silver hen and Ray’s clear cap gold hen. They were very different types of Lizards. The silver hen was lovely example of the classic Lizard canary, with consistently refined markings from head to tail. Ray’s gold hen, on the other hand, was outstanding in some features, but weak in others. Her greatest asset was her wonderful array of spangles which were always perfectly aligned, but they were offset by frosty edges, defective eyelashes, and feeble rowings. An interesting challenge for the judges.
As always, commenting on show birds several hours after they’ve been judged has its limitations. Viewing conditions were far from ideal when I looked at the birds on the winners’ podium thanks to the plethora of rosettes and deteriorating light. The judges suffered no such impediments; conditions were excellent in the morning and they chose Ray’s clear cap gold hen as Best in Show. Congratulations Ray!
My thanks to Pino Scalamandrè, Jon Martin and Debbie Goacher for providing so many photos for this article. More photos will follow in Part 2.
(1) Details of the results will be published on the LCA website.
(2) To add icing on the cake, Ian was nominated as the recipient of the Founder’s Trophy by previous holder, Jeremy Goacher.