Phil Poole's Salopian Flock from Battlefield, Shrewsbury has lifted one of the most prestigious and oldest trophies in the pedigree sheep world. Donated to the Society by the Earl of Bristol in 1899, the Bristol Gold Cup is presented to the Overall Winner of the Society National Flock Competition annually.
This year's competition attracted entries from all parts of the Society and the winners of the wide range of classes reflects the diversity of the membership and the strength of the breed throughout the British Isles and Ireland.
The Salopian flock dominated the classes and lifted the winners or reserve ticket in an impressive five of the six classes they could enter including the overall prize. Not only did Irish Judge Andrew Wilson from Donegal make them the overall winner, they also had the Best flock of ewes (31-60 class), the overall best flock of ewes (the Bonnington Shield), and were reserve for the best stud ram with “Solwaybank Rocksolid”, and reserve in the the best ewe lambs class.
Northern Irishman, Mark Priestley's Limestone Flock was overall reserve and also lifted the John Long Cup for the best flock (16-30 ewes) and was runner up to Salopian for the overall best flock of ewes.
Society Chief Executive Robin McIlrath said “its great to see a new name on this historic and prestigious trophy. The Open Day at the Poole farm in Battlefield was an excellent day out, and the quality of Phil's sheep was obvious to all. Phil, ably assisted by Russell, his son, have invested a lot of time in their flock and this win is all the more remarkable given that he has only been a member of the society for the last four years.”
Another multiple winner was past Gold Cup three times winner, Patrick Donnelly from Co Antrim with his Donrho Flock. Patrick Lifted the Sainsbury Cup for best Ewe Lambs and the Progeny Group for his ram Rhaedr Rhonn. Donrho Flock was also reserve in the 31 to 60 Ewes class.
The South of Ireland was well represented with Eamonn Duffy from Kells, Co Meath lifting the Brooke Perpetual Challenge Cup for the best large flock of over 100 ewes. Eamonn was also the overall winner of the South of Ireland Branch competition. Another Irish winner was Shaun and Seamus Gahan from Kilkenny who were awarded the Howard Peel Cup for their Best Stud Ram (“Carragh Captivate”).
Other winners were Martin and Eoin Butler (Co Antrim) who had the best small flock for the 3rd year in a row and David and Julie Inman from Melton Mowbray for the best flock 61 to 100 ewes. The Inman's Lindum Flock have appeared on many of the trophies down through the years including the Bristol Gold Cup.