The quality of the club is reflected in the result.
The first club race of the season saw a few disappointed and also some happy fanciers for different reasons, firstly the local Combine cancelled, and a few members thought that included the NWCC which it did not, and they missed entering the race. Secondly and this was a benefit to the club we had several new members who had prepared their birds for a combine channel race which was cancelled so they joined the NWCC and sent with us, and according to reports they will continue to support the NWCC. As I sit here it is Friday morning, we don’t know what the weather is going to be on Saturday because it changes so much from day to day. The weather forecast that I saw on the previous Wednesday was far different from the one I saw when I switched the news on after returning from marking on the Thursday evening. At this moment in time we don’t know what is going to happen come Saturday when the birds are sitting in the panniers at Carentan waiting to be released. Let’s go back to Thursday morning when the first news came through about the cancellation by the combine. The first thing that went through my head was, “Must speak to a few of the fanciers I know who are into the Weather forecast on race days, they are the ones who can give me an answer” My first conversation was quite rightly with the NWCC race controller Roger Sutton who asked me what I thought, my reaction was “You’re the race controller” to which he replied “Thanks for that” which brought a smile. We did have a talk and Roger said that he could see a couple of gaps when the pigeons could be released and have a good race, but and there is always a but because as we know the weather can soon change. This was the talk on marking night and as always there were mixed views with the main point being that we didn’t stop a race in years gone by because of the weather forecast, we held until it was considered good enough for them to go. Having said all that this was another of those cases where fanciers sat down and talked to each other about what was in store for the next few days and especially the race. Who is right and who is wrong is immaterial, decisions have been made and that is what we go by, if fanciers want to send then they do and hope that they are going to have a good race, the decision to send was in the members hands. As secretary of the club I would like to thank all those who helped with the marking and clocks to make sure that all went well, and it did. I was at Middlewich and as soon as I asked someone to do something they were there giving a hand which was much appreciated. Even none pigeon fancier Steve gave a hand with cleaning the baskets in the afternoon and was there to help load the transporter when most pigeon fanciers had gone home, which I understand because many have a good journey to mark their birds. I was told next morning that he enjoyed the banter and would help for the rest of the races as long as they did not interfere with his shift pattern. Also, thanks to the Preston and Cheadle marking stations where Janet Hull and Ray Bullen took charge as did Mark Smith at Middlewich. When the stations are run well it makes life a lot easier for Kim and myself as secretaries. Come Saturday morning I woke just after 4am and could not go back to sleep thinking about the race so I got up and started to tap away on the PC. The first time I was disturbed was when Roger Sutton called at 7am to say the weather was not right for an early lib. The next call was from our President Mark Smith to say he had received a report that the transporter had fallen off the ferry and into the sea. I then called Roger to tell him the story because he had been talking to someone at the liberation point and would know, and as expected that was not the case, something had gone into the sea, but it was not in the channel. It amazes me where all the stories come from, someone must sit there thinking, “What story can I circulate today” Words came to mind but in this day and age we have to be careful what we say because someone always takes offence. There were calls in and out all morning and Roger Sutton, after many calls gave the go ahead for the birds to be released at 12.50pm in a Variable wind. Roger was saying that the forecast was not good for the next few days and with the conditions improving along the line of flight as the day progressed it was decided they were better off in the sky, which turned out to be a good decision. There were quite a few who were not sure about the race after the liberation and a few were saying that everyone knew about the predictions for the weather, so they sent their birds with this knowledge in mind. It was rather a later lib than normal, but the forecast was that the North West would have a good second half of the day so the longer flying members should have a good chance and it was a good afternoon and evening for the birds to finish the race. This did turn out to be a good race with a long result to show for the work put in, not everyone is going to be pleased which is the same with nearly every channel race flown into the North West. This was one of those old-fashioned races where the birds worked for their corn and from what I hear this is just what they wanted. I think the most clocked by any individual member was 9 and quite a few clocked 3 or more so it all looks good. I spoke to Alan Wicker next morning and he said his last one on the ETS was showing up as a trainer at 23.02 on the day this was after he had returned from the club and put his clock back into the base station, the only reason he saw it was because he was at the loft and the lights were on. Alan went on to say that he only joined the NWCC because the Combine had cancelled and added he will be sending to the other races as well now. Clock night was a bit late with many not getting into bed until after midnight, then next morning I woke at 6am to the sound of Kim drawing into the drive to start the result. We now look at that word we all come across at one time or another "Hindsight" the word that we would all like to be able to go back on at one time or another. I was talking to Roger Sutton on the following Monday and he was saying that he had been talking to Martin Brammer who is reported as being one of the best convoyers in the country. Roger went on to say they were discussing the weather reports that they had on the Friday night and they indicated that if the pigeons did not go up on the Saturday they would not get a chance until Wednesday. In hindsight that was not the case because they could have gone on both Sunday and Monday. Even so as I have pointed out this was a good old-fashioned channel race into the North West and most I spoke to agreed. Even on a good day and race you are never going to please 100% of the people and that is fact. I have spoken to many and they like senior officials believe the right decision was made.
Now onto the entries, we were very pleased to see an entry of 464 from 34 members at Middlewich, 212 entered at the Cheadle Marking station by 19 members with Preston seeing 10 sending 92 birds. That makes a cracking improved entry of 768 birds from 63 members. With this being what I called an old-fashioned channel race I was pleased to see so many clocks on the day, well done to everyone. From the 63 who entered 51 had their clocks read off and at least three who I know of, clocked late and because of the distance travelling to the clock station they did not have their clocks read off. There were also many going home to find more birds in the loft which is what we like to hear.
1st 2nd 3rd section C 1st 3rd 28th open plus a couple further down collecting pool money and racing 302mls is won by George Pendleton from Ormskirk winning a total of £763.44p. 1st pigeon is a 2-year-old late bred Cattrysse blue cock having its third race this year, it has had preparation races for this one from Frome and Yeovil. I very often hear about pigeons being named for one reason or another. This one was chosen by George’s wife Jacqui when it stood out during training so is now named “Jacqui’s Choice”. This one has the breeding with his grandmother being the Ace middle-distance bird in the west Section 2012. Next in the clock to finish 2nd section 3rd open is a very good Frans Zwols smoky blue hen. She has been a very consistent bird and went to the Midlands National the week before, winning is in the family with her half-brother being a winner of 50th Open. George went on to say that due to work commitments, he only has the time to concentrate on National and Classic racing. Such clubs have provided a good platform for George to race the pigeons in the way that he wants to and they are doing very well indeed.
1st sec 1st open, George Pendleton 2nd sec 3rd open, George Pendleton
George Pendleton's loft. 1st Open
1st section B 2nd Open are hens specialists Jones Bros & K Jones from Winsford. They had a good race being 1st 4th 9th 11th 18th section, 2nd 7th 17th 20th 35th open winning £440. After the birds had gone through I said to marking station i/c Mark Smith that I had put some good birds through on the night, but they were the best and he agreed, they had the bodies but were also buoyant which is what you need for racing and winning. Their first in the clock is a 3yo widowhood chequer hen who has previously won 2nd section 13th Open NWCC, 3rd section in the same club and again 3rd Section NWCC Messac. This is proving to be a good hen having also won in the Acton Bridge club from Cheltenham last year and then this year she won in the same club a few weeks prior to this race. 2nd pigeon is a blue hen flown on the widowhood she is a 2yo who won 2nd club last year. Both come from their excellent Andre Clemens based pigeons that have won for them for the past 15 years.
Karen Jones outside the loft 2nd Open
Jones Bros & K Jones 2nd & 7th Open
2nd section B 4th Open is Geoff Bebbington from Northwich, he had two drop together a little later, his first picking up £220 with one that his grandson pooled further down the list also picking up a few quid. Geoff was saying that he has been his most consistent pigeon this year, but he has two lofts at different address and last year was raced at the other loft and kept going back there before going to his new loft. He was raced on widowhood but for this race was paired as part of the preparation for the Saintes race. This is one from a batch purchased from Central Lofts and is a full brother to “Butcher Boy” winner of 1st club 1st section 1st Open NIPA Tullamore against 20,315 birds being raced by Higginson & Fascjola. This is a cracking line with there being some very good pigeons bred the same way including 1st Fed Newark 1,453 birds, 2nd Fed 1,500 birds beaten by a loft mate. The breeding is top class with the sire being a direct son of the great “Champion Euro Diamond” top racer and breeder for many fanciers around the world. “Euro Diamond” being paired to “Supreme Euro Hen” direct from the top class “Euro”. The dam also has an impressive pedigree being a direct daughter of “Nieuwe Olympiade” who was paired to “Bonte Stefaan” a direct daughter of the super “Rosse Witkop” this is one of those cases where you could write pages on the winners from these lines. Geoff was saying that he sent 29 lost 2 and had 32 to send to the next channel race with the National which meant that over the weekend he had a few turn up. Geoff is only interested in the National and Classic channel races and they have to go each week, he wants no weaklings in the loft.
Geoff Bebbington 4th Open
3rd section B 5th Open is Chris Platt from Crewe winning £170 with Smoulders Janssen powder blue cock raced on the roundabout. Chris was saying that he has prized before but his sire is a real good pigeon having won back to back Messac races plus many more. These lines come from Joe Glover about 15yrs ago and have done well ever since. Chris bred one the same pair 3yrs ago for Nigel Shaw which went on to win 1st section 14th Open National. They are fed on Marimans corn mixes plus Hormoform and sunflower hearts with Aviform in the water. Started with 16 cocks and 20 hens but got wiped out with the yearlings through sending them in the cold weather at the start of the season. In this race Chris sent 8 and had 7 back with 5 on the day making it a good race. There are still 11 cocks and 16 hens left so is looking forward to a few good channel races. Chris is hoping to complete the NWCC channel season plus Audlem 2B. Chris was saying this is the type of race he likes because he wants them to have a good hard race and this was one of them, as I have said, a good old-fashioned channel race.
Chris Platt 5th Open
5th section B 8th Open is Dave Pritchard from Northwich winning £65. Dave clocked a 2016 blue pied cock now named “Mr Consistent” who has always been pushed out of the prizes by loft mates. He was gift pigeon being one of ten pigeons given to Dave when he stared in 2016 by Chris Herbert the club secretary Moulton FC. These were a good introduction because five out of the ten have prized with three of them winning 1st prize’s, some have more than one. There is good breeding with 5 of the six parents/g-parents all being prize winners with the next generation back also being full of winners. The sire is a minor prize winner but is out of a very good Dordin/Van Den Bosche cock who has won a few prizes on both land and from across the channel. The dam of the sire is also a winner having won prizes including 1st Niort and coming out of winners. The dam of this blue pied cock is the “Eye Sign Hen” hen having won in the shows and is out of the Dordin cock winner of 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 6th and beaten by loft mates. He in turn is out of winners of 1st 2nd 3rd 5th 6th from across the channel as well as land prizes. On the other side the dam is also a prize winner being out of a very good stock cock.
Dave Pritchard 8th Open Dave Pritchard blue pied cock
6th section B 10th Open is Eric Taylor from Goostrey collecting £155. This is one of Eric’s old breed and is a Sangers cross Verheye a family that have been winning for many years. Eric is another of those fanciers who is keen on Classic and National races. The pigeons are racing on the widowhood system and this year he has 47 cocks which is well up on previous years. I have written about Eric on many occasions and in the past, he has normally only kept about 24 cocks but after a good team last year he has more than normal plus he is a retired gentleman of the sport so has more time.
Eric Taylor 10th Open
1st section A 6th Open is Gordon Rigg of Congleton who is a keen fancier when it comes to the channel racing into the North West and wins £285 altogether. This 4yo hen as in all Gordon’s family are produced with one object in mind and that is to fly in the Barcelona or Palamos races at 800 miles. The grandparents on the sire’s side have both been bred from Gordon’s old family obtained in the late 1990s and both have flown Barcelona, the hen has also flown Palamos with the BBC National before being attacked by a hawk. On the dam’s side is a Batenburg x Red Star Vandenabeele. The Grand Dam is from Pantani 59 and Madonna Bond. The hen was sent to Carentan to get a few hours on the wing with the longer races in mind. Gordon is a long-time fan of the longer channel races where he always sets his sights, thoughts are always on the longer ones such as Palamos and Barcelona. However, he has had some good performances out of Saintes with the NWCC where he took 1st & 2nd a few years ago so the longer races are nothing new at this loft. Gordon first started to race pigeons in 1975 with birds obtained from Louella, these being the Jurgen Ross strain thorough Champion Mausi and the Kirkpatrick's from Stranraer Simon. Not wanting to stand still the following year he introduced the Burgher Delbars from De Jewel. Times have changed a great deal since then with many pigeons tried and tested, not all have made the grade but there have been some real good pigeons come to these lofts.
Gordon Rigg 6th Open
2nd section A 9th Open are Macclesfield fanciers Rick Geary & Son Simon who have been winning for many years and do like to race in the NWCC, in this race they collect a total of £278. These lads are prominent fanciers and are always prepared to have a go and with the amount of work they put in soon get disappointed when they are behind which is not all that often. Their first in the clock is a 3yo old wildwood cock who has previously won cards inland and over the water, so it is nothing new for him to be amongst the winners he was 3rd section in the corresponding race last year. His sire is a pigeon called “The Tame Cock” who has won the Classic himself and been third section in the Midland National Tours race. His breeding is the old Soontjen lines that are still the base of their pigeons today and it has a touch of Van den Brand in it. The dam’s side is the 03 hen which is also form the Soontjen lines and again is bred off their “Champion Shy boy” family that have proven so good over the years. Rick & Simon were wondering if they were going to be able to continue racing pigeons because the land where they had the lofts was sold to a developer and he wanted far too much rent, so they looked for and found an even better place to race their pigeons on the allotments. Rick was saying that the local fanciers were a great help in getting the new lofts up. With moving they are looking to build a new team so have bred a few more than they normally would have done. It will be interesting to see how they go in the next few years.
Rick & Simon Geary 9th Open Mr & Mrs Rick Geary, not very often the wife
appears on the photos, with the view from their new loft location.
3rd Section A are the partnership of R Littler & Son from Stockport. After a hard day of racing and 8 hours 10 mins on the wing in a strong north east wind R Littler & Son Connor from Stockport pulled a chequer cock out from the sky knowing it was a good-un with it coming straight on line and straight in the loft, not many birds in the Stockport area were back for some fanciers. All Connors racing cocks are flown on the widowhood system. Connor had the cock flying around the loft for 30 minutes a day and even more on some days. Connor first met Gerry Clements back in 2013 when Gerry bred Connor some young birds. Connor then bred off them and paired a chequer cock 92, that was bred off one of Gerry’s good channel cocks which was a Van Geert cock that scored in four National races and inland as well. He was flown straight to 538mls and scored 1st section 2nd open NWCC. The mother to him was a pigeon called “Florke” she was the Paul Healtermans no1 stock hen. The mother to 92 was a daughter off a pigeon called “The Snake” which is the great cock that was raced by Geoff Kirkland winner of over £8,000 and responsible for generations of winners. Connor paired a blue hen off Geoff Worthington from Cheadle Hulme to the 92 cock and made a good pigeon for the future. With mentioning Gerry so much, I decided to call Gerry and find out a bit more on this 18yo pigeon fancier who looks to be a star of the future. He won the channel average 2yrs ago in the Stockport club against the top fanciers. He races pigeons at his grandmothers and spends quite a bit of time there. Gerry was saying that Connor reminds him of himself when he was that age and he said what a nice young fancier he is. There are still people coming into the sport and there are still younger people enjoying racing pigeons.
Bob & Connor Littler 3rd section A Wing of Conner Littler's 3rd section.
There were 43 pigeons collecting money in the race which paid out £1,116.93 pool, £2,169 in prizes.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances Janet Hull will only be i/c at the Preston marking station for the Fougeres race therefore we are looking for a new i/c. If you would like to take control, please contact either Janet or the secretaries. The officials were hoping that with the station being opened again we could attract the kind of entries that we used to have from the area. The officials would also like to thank Janet for the work she has done at the Preston marking station, but personal reasons must come before pigeons.
Les J Parkinson.
11 Rushton Drive,
Tel: 01606836036 Mobile 07871701585.