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M N F C Carentan 04-06-18

Eddie Bateman’s ‘Winnie’ claims Gold from Carentan with the MNFC

A few days after the MNFC’s first race of the season, the W.W.1 Commemoration National on the 19th May from Carentan when the 5479 birds were released at 7.50 am into a North East wind which as correctly forecasted turn more Southerly enroute ,I made the trip over to Birkenhead to visit the race winner. As I neared to my destination I drove past Prenton Park the home of Tranmere Rovers football club and as followers of football will no doubt be aware a few days previously ‘Tranny’ had won promotion back into the Football League after a few years in  non-league. So when Bateman Brothers & Son whose loft is on the nearby Prenton Allotments clocked a three year old roundabout hen which recorded a velocity of 1532 to win 1st West section and 1st Open it was a cause for a double celebration. So after a little trouble locating the entrance to the allotments I was soon chatting to Eddie Bateman who explained to me that though it says he flies within a partnership for several years now Eddie has been racing solo. Though his brother had enquired if he was entitled to a share of the prize pot which should be quite a sizeable one as the hen was very well fancied and is it any wonder as she has 4 previous Federation wins to her name. So I will leave you to guess what Eddie’s reply was to his brother but will give you a clue when I say that the second word was ‘Off!’

Looking a little closer at the latest National winner we find that she is bred down from Eddie’s excellent and close knit family of Lefebre Dhaenen birds which are often called the ‘Laffy Daffys’. Well this result will have her owner laughing all the way to the bank. She is 75% the base family where the father of the loft is known as ‘The General’ and is the National winner’s Grandsire. This superb breeding cock has simply filled the Bateman stock loft with an array of fine breeding sons and daughters which have bred in turn many Federation and classic race winners.  The remaining 25% of ‘Winnie’s’ breeding is of Dutch man Geert Munnik bloodlines. I must say that it was a treat to visit Eddie and see his fine team of birds.

A happy Eddie Bateman shows off his Carentan National winner

The National Winner

Talking of treats this is always the case when I have called to see the ‘Slayer’ Sandycroft’s Alan Atkinson. For a long, long time now Alan has been winning races for fun with his superb team of Gevaert Van Schoorisse pigeons which are predominantly breed down from his ‘Old Salto’ lines. When he originally bought in his Gevaerts he also got some Demeester birds and by jingo these birds went together like ‘peaches and cream’ and Alan has reaped a rich harvest. When I made this comment a few years ago Alan said ‘’I have been lucky’’. I will correct him here and say yes Alan was lucky to get his base stock but there has been no luck involved on the way he has maintained his wonderful family of birds which today can surely be described as pure ‘Atkinson’s’. As Alan’s latest result amply proves the 2nd Open winner herself which achieved a velocity of 1528 is bred in the purple with all four of her grandparents being Federation, National and RPRA Award winners. In addition Alan’s hen won the 2B Nominated race and he also claimed 7th Open with his second arrival a 3 year old Blue hen which recorded 1493. All in all the ‘Sandycroft Slayer’ had a superb race as he only sent a select team of four birds and took 2nd 8th 42nd  and 47th Open and will collect nearly a £1000 in prize and pool money.

Alan Atkinson 2nd Open and 2 Bird Nominated race winner

Another loft that enjoyed a memorable day was Nairn & Brown who not only took 3rd Open on 1505 but timed two other hens on the same second to fill 6th and 7th Open and the 7th placed bird wins the 1st prize in the Yearling classic. So all in all it was a great day for Mick and Kevin. The lads first timer is a 2 year old hen who was bred from a cock purchased from Crehan & O’Connor and he is off ‘Olympic Wolverine’ when coupled to a hen bred by Lincoln’s Dave Atkin being a daughter of ‘Mysterio’ a son of ‘Mystic’. The 3rd Open winner herself has several other previous prizes to her name. The partners had obviously done their homework as they were confident that their 7th Open bird would win the MNFC’s Yearling Classic. This hen is of Gaby Vandenabeele breeding her sire a previous winner of 1st section from Bordeaux while her mum was 2nd section from Ancenis in 2016. So this young lady was bred for the job.

Nairn & Brown 3rd 6th and 7th Open and winners of the Yearling Classic

The Yearling Classic winner

I enjoyed a good chat with the partners over a nice cup of tea and discussing the growing menace of raptors and bang on cue we saw three peregrines up in the blue sky above the lofts. Yes we have a massive problem with these birds. We know that everything has a right to exist but whenever we humans get involved things normally go out of kilter.

4th National and winning the North North West section is the Preston loft belonging to Tom Jackson who timed a 2 year old Chequer hen on 1503. The bird like so many others today was racing on the Roundabout system and was prepared by entering four inland races where she showed her form by scoring in two of them. It’s good to see this section growing so well and I wonder how long it will be before an Open winner is clocked. Tom has shown that it can be done given the right conditions.

Tom Jackson's 4th Open winner

Birkenhead is again the location for the 5th Open winning bird a 2 year old Blue cock which recorded 1496 for his owner Joe Johnston. Another totally dedicated tandem fill 9th and 10 open in the form of Jones and Thomas. Like so many others they timed two yearling hens to record 1491 and 1487 respectively. Well done boys.

Other fanciers worthy of a mention are Jones & Thomas who also had a great race.

Let’s have a look around the other sections now and in the North West Mc Graw Clegg & Preece lead the charge on 1478 and the ‘jammy dodgers’ win the Ipigeon ETS clock with their second timer which finished 6th section. Their section topper is a Billy Williams of Walsall pigeon and she is a multi- prize winner. She is currently a lesbian hen sent sitting. Their second bird is also a 2 year old and flown on the same system as their section topper that has been racing well for the lads. So well in fact that she is possibly the ‘most carded’ bird in the loft. The lads are telling me that they are chuffed to bits to have won one of these fantastic new 1Pigeon timing clocks which according to the gossip are simply light years in advance of the rest of the competition and also cheaper than their competitors.

McGraw Clegg & Preece the NW section winners

The 1Pigeon ETS winner belonging to McGraw Clegg & Preece

2nd NW section is filled by Cheddleton’s R & J Goodwin & son. Their bird is yet another yearling hen flown on the widowhood system and is of Frans Zwolls lines via Border Lofts. This family team is always a threat in the MNFC races.

Dick Goodwin & Son the 2nd NW section winners

3rd section is filled by Adams Brothers with a well fancied 2 year old Blue Hen on 1463 and it’s good to see Silvester Brothers back amongst the leaders once again the lads timed in a 2016 Dark Cock recording a velocity of 1458


Les & Alb Adams 3rs NW SECTION                                                                           Silvester Bros 4th NW section


In the North section Malcolm Haigh comes out on top with a velocity of 1373. Malcolm tells me that once again it is a yearling hen that did the business. Prior to this race she had three inland races and she always performed consistently. For a couple of years now a small team of celibate hens have been raced and Malc tells me the same story that I hear from all quarters which is that they fly better than the widowerhood cocks and have won races including topping the federation. The families that are housed are mainly Soontjens, Vandenabeeles and Syndicate lofts lines. Malcolm wished to thank Steve Sutton of Rawcliffe Bridge who has loaned him most of his breeding stock. It was greatly appreciated to local fanciers and friends for their messages of congratulations.

Malcolm Haig 1st North section winner

Just a yard behind we see the almost ever present team belonging to Mick Betts. Once again it is a hen doing the trick and she was well fancied after flying well and only being beaten by loft mates who clocked in a little sharper. Her breeding is from a direct Scheele Brothers cock he being a son of Ablis Boy their 1st Provincial Long distance Ace pigeon. Her mother is a Danny Van Dycke bird being a daughter of his Kanon. A mere .3 of a yard behind is the well-known team of D & J Hawkins & Evans.

Mick Betts 2nd North section

Another fine fancier fills 4th spot in the form of Simon Parkinson. The bird which is yet another female is bred from Simon’s Luc Christiean stock. She has previously taken 2nd section and 23rd Open from Poitiers and scored from Fougeres and the plan is for her to have another crack at the MNFC’s longest race in 2018.

Simon Parkinson's 4th North section winner

Moving further west now where we see Juan Costello & Family  as ‘top dogs’ in the North Centre section and surprise, surprise it is roundabout cock doing the job. The bird won in 2016 the West Yorks Fed Gold Ring race and his sire was bred by fellow clubmate Andy Heywood  which also had won the same Gold ring race and year or two earlier. So, it is clear that this bird has gold in his veins! His dam was bred by the well-known  Leach Brothers and she is a past fed topper.  Juan tells me is a big believer in coupling winners to winners. Well it certainly seems to be working well for the family.

Costello Family 1st NC section

Just a couple of yards behind we see D Cullinane & Son who clocked a hen bred down from a  Vandenabeele  cock the blood obtained from Jutla Brothers. When paired to a Lambrecht hen from their mate Scott Sheard. She has previously claimed 3rd section in the MNFC. I’m told that the lads moved their lofts last year and this is a ‘great kick start’ for the new location. Sportingly the partners send their congratulations to the Costello family. In 3rd and 4th slots we see the previously mentioned Andy Heywood but unfortunately no further details.

The hen that took 2nd NC section for Cullinane & Son

In the North East section Peter Hudson of Beeston takes 1st place with a 2 year old hen known as ‘88’ on 1387 and she is a proven performer with 2nd section and 6th Open from Ancenis. Peter tells me her brother was 33rd Open from this tough race last year. Her breeding is on the sire’s side being from David Mitchell containing the blood of Figo, Rip & Hannibal lines x a hen off Fred Hall from Syndicate loft birds Atilla, Drum & Hannibal. The mum to the couple is also from Fred Hall being Vandenabeele of Eisenhower, Joint Venture and Gaby 345.

Peter Hudson's 1st NE section winning hen

 2nd section is filled by new committee man Mark Williamson who clocked a proven 3 year old hen on 1374 . She has previously topped the federation against 2400 birds and won 58th Open as a youngster from Carentan. Mark tells me that her breeding is predominantly Leo Heremans and Jos & Jules Engels.

Mark Williamson 2nd NE section

3rd section is claimed by Ilkeston’s R Shelton on 1369 and taking the 4th spot  are the 2017 Champs Bowskill & Gascoigne their bird is a cock being of Vandenabeele lines full of Jester & Carrie blood.

Bowskill & Gascoigne 4th NE section

Back to the North North West section and 2nd place goes to a partnership in Roskell & Williamson who are making a real name for themselves in the MNFC. Their bird a 4 year old cock ‘85’ has several top placings in both the section and open right up to 460 miles. The bird is of De Rauw Sablon x the partners base family lines and also he has plenty of wins at 2bird and specialist races. 3rd section is taken by R Barker but not further details I’m afraid.

2nd NNW section winners Roskell & Williamson


4th section winners are Mr & Mrs Andy Gregson with a 3 year old roundabout cock which has 2 x 1st prizes to his credit along with other prizes. It’s breeding is through John May & Son and is of Leo Heremans lines including ‘Spiderman’ and Avelange lines via Euro and Roulette. Andy sends his congratulations to the race winners and runners up.

Andy Gregson 4th NNW section


Moving into the South Centre section where we see the familiar name of Mr & Mrs Jeremy Wright of Lutterworth who timed a 3 year old chequer hen on 1386.

Jeremy Wright adds another SC win to his CV


Micky Lennon take the next two places with two cocks on 1368 and 1359 respectively. Mick has only sent me the details on his first timer which is 2 year old Blue cock which is a Gaby Vandenabeele . His sire is an inbred grandson of Bliksem bird and bred by Astere Vergotte of Aalter who I have visited on a couple of occasions and I am well aware has a fantastic team of racing pigeons. On his mum’s side she contains the M & D Evans lines of The Boss, Westkappellen and Band of gold.

Micky Lennon takes 2nd & 3rd SC section on this occasion


4th position is filled by one of the Club’s workers who is John Gilbert who clocked a yearling on 1351. I would like to point out that ‘Giblet’ is one of the unsung heroes who does so much to help give members a good service.

John Gilbert 4th SC section with his dogs

The South East section is won on this occasion by A Staniford of Leighton Buzzard. His bird is a 2016 bred Chequer cock which went AWOL after a couple of races as a baby but his owner had faith in him and he was the loft’s first arrival from Ancenis last season. Now his owner’s faith has been richly rewarded with a 1st section victory. His breeding is from a good North Road cock of Flor Engles x Van de Weyer breeding. The mother to this cock is Jan Arden from the House of Arden and friend John Cobley.

Arthur Staniford's 1st SE section winning bird

Close behind on 1342 is a 2 year old chequer cock belonging to J & T Gateley. The bird I am told is of Vandeheede breeding.

J & T Gateley with his 2nd SE section winner


In 3rd section we see another 2016 cock recording 1339 for Greg Perkins of Rushton. His bird was bred from gift birds from his friends S Shearsby and A Smith which won 3rd section and 12th Open from Bordeaux a few years ago. The main bloodlines in this bird is Steven van Breeman and Greg asked me to thank his two friends for the quality of the birds that he has received from them both. Ewart Brothers contacted me to tell me that their 4 year old hen which secured 4th section prize is from a cock of Van Dyck’s Kannibaal lines x Rambo off Freddy de Prins. On the dam’s side she is a Willy Thas hen being a daughter of the Golden Hen line of Rooney and Beckham. Alistair informed me that the bird has been flown on the Staddons of Crewkerne ‘chaos system’.

Greg Perkins 3rd SE section

Down in the South West section R Postings & Son rule the roost with their 2016 bred Blue Pied Hen which records 1442. Paul Postings got in touch with me and he tells me that this Lambrecht x Wildeschmeersch showed he quality in 2017 when she won 3rd section from Fougeres and so the partners confidently put plenty of x’s next to her ring number and boy did she repay their confidence. 2nd section is won by the Ripple team of Paul Brian & Wendy Hyatt. It is nice to see them back on top after a tough time for them. The bird that did the job is yet another 2 year old hen and a crossing of their base Vandenabeele’s containing the Ronker lines when coupled to a Geoff & Catherine Cooper bird which is bred down from their Woolagong and Farmer George birds. Paul told me that she was their first bird home last season from the club’s longest race which is no big surprise when you consider her long distance breeding.

Postings & Son's good Pied hen that won the SW section


Taking 3rd 4th and 5th positions is Shaun McDonough who must be amongst the most consistent fanciers in the MNFC. The first timer is a 2 year old Blue hen which is a granddaughter of Shaun’s Fougeres Midlands National winner. She is a past race winner and was recently 6th Open from Vire last season. The next bird also 2 year is what her owner describes as a mixture of his old blood and she is also a 1st prize winner. Then just 14 seconds behind Shaun’s first arrival we see another serial performer and another 2 year old which last season won 2nd National from Ancenis. This one is a Wilde x Vandenabeele and another granddaughter of his National winner. Without a question of doubt Mr McDonough can make his hens sing a beautiful song.

The hen specialist Shaun Mc Donough 3rd 4th and 5th SW section

Next in the SW were Stokes & Sons of Farlow. Brothers Ian & Dave who look after the birds tell me that their yearling cock that they clocked has been racing well and his record includes a 1st Shropshire Fed win. He is bred from their fine Dark Busschaert cock that flew magnificently for the partners not so long ago. His CV reads 5th open Tours, 14th Open Vire and 22nd Open Tours all in the MNFC and not to be out done by his son he also topped the fed in his racing career. Golden lines indeed! The boys were full of praise for the condition of their birds on their arrival home. That’s always nice to hear lads.     

The Stokes Brothers with their good yearling cock

Up in the East section I must admit that I was a little disappointed not to receive more info but if they are happy then so am I. Anyway for the record Jon Walker of Scunthorpe won the section.

Jonathan Walkers fine set up home to the East section winner

Closely followed by Cawdron & Costello who in fact took 2nd 3rd and 4th section places. If I had done so well I would have been shouting it from the roof tops.

Cawdron & Costello who enjoyed a good day in the East section with 2nd 3rd & 4th placings


One person who did contact me was Ann Gilbert of Mr & Mrs Lance Gilbert who timed their 2 year old Blue hen to achieve a very creditable 6th section. The accompanying photo shows the partners with their grandson Finley.

 The Gilbert team 6th East section


In the East North East section news is also thin on the ground where we see Paul & Helen Johnson take the top spot who timed a yearling hen on 1280.

P & H Johnson the ENE section winners


In 2nd place are Clive and Les Bowes who clocked a 2 year old Jochem Van Hasselt which was bred off birds from Simon Parkinson. This chequer hen clocked 1278.

Clive & Les Bowes 2nd ENE section


3rd section is filled by Gray & Atkin and 4th slot going to Mr & Mrs Pete Chapman.

Pete Chapman 4th ENE section


The loft that wins the East South East section belongs to John & Richard Wortley who not only won the section but they also claimed 3rd section. The two birds are in fact nest mates. Their first timer, in fact won 2nd yearling and 3rd section from Coutances in 2017. The pair contain a mixture of quality pigeons from Crehan & O’Connor and Wall Lunt & Green containing the lines of Hannibal, Young Olympic, Grey Gem and Antoon Reynaert’s famous Figo. I’m told that Richard who gave them a pipe opening training flight from Bovington is a stuntman who has appeared in films including Warhorse and the Huntsman and has worked alongside the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Angelina Jolie. The partners were realistic enough to realise that due to the prevailing winds on the day that it was going to be a tough race for birds on the Eastern side of the country. Yes lads I totally agree but that is the reason why we have now got 12 sections and on days which don’t favour your area there is the consolation of a nice trophy for winning your particular section. As the saying goes if you wait with patience that ‘every dog has it’s day!’ The partners were most complimentary about the condition of the birds on their arrival and wish to thank Kevin Hibbert of Rotherham for his help and the quality of the birds that he has supplied to them.

John & Richard Wortley 1st & 3rd ESE section


A very consistent team fill 2nd section in the form of Mr & Mrs Ron Auker. Their 2 year old cock that this year is being raced on the natural system has been a very consistent performer flying as a young bird then in the clock from both Countances and Fougeres as a yearling. The bird was sent sitting on 12 day old eggs and gave notice of his rising condition by taking 4th club the previous week from Salisbury. The bird is a  Leen Boers on the sires side being bred down from the partners 2013 Fougeres National winner. On it’s mother’s side she is from G & C Cooper. The partners sportingly added their congratulations to the section winners and recognise that these new kids on the block could well be a forced to be reckoned with in the future.

Mr & Mrs Ron Auker 2nd ESE section


4th place is filled by previous double National winners S & T McCurry.

Stewart McCurry 4th ESE section


Finally to sum up well done to the Western side lads who took full advantage of the favourable winds but as you read this report it could be a totally different story in the Fougeres race. This is how National pigeon racing works, that said there are many fine performances that have been put up by birds homing to unfavourable locations. It should always be remembered that there are limits to what a bird can do when faced with adverse weather conditions.

It would be remise of me not to mention the drop in prizemoney compared with last season’s opening race but would like to point out that our ‘prize pot’ is governed by the size of the entries and as this season’s entry is down by 3,500 pigeons it isn’t rocket science to realise that the rewards are greatly reduced. As I have quoted many times we need your support to pay out large prize money. This is the reason why I advocate pushing back the start of pigeon racing back at all levels by a couple of weeks. Yes the weather may be better in 2019 but the problem of the raptors will be even worse! I can’t make these decisions but it would be wise if we all bore this in mind when the race programmes are being decided next year. We need to protect our birds from both the hawks and start racing with pigeons that are fit enough to face the challenges that await.

Mike Lakin