Lakeland Sheepdog Trials fans were treated to the closest competition for years on a nail-biting day at Ings.

The competition was blown wide open after many of the favourites were knocked out of the running early on.

Last year’s winner, shepherd Thomas Longton failed to add to his trophy collection as his five-year-old dog Maya struggled around a difficult course.

He said: “The sheep were too good for my dog today. The course is always tricky. You just have to accept that you can’t win every time. It will be good preparation for the national championships next week.”


Dennis Purdham was the winner of the open trial with his seven-year-old bitch Jess. It was a great success for the Gubbergill farmer who only started training dogs six years ago. “You’ve got to be in it to win it,” said Dennis, 67. “It was very competitive, there’s a lot of good men and their dogs here. My dog was settled and she just managed to do it on the day.”

The afternoon saw closely fought contests in the wrestling ring with George Wilson claiming the Peter Wilson Memorial Trophy for best performance of the day. He won the under 15 and under 18 categories before coming third in the open weight competition.