Follows are some reports form the World European British and Welsh national Ploughing and hedging competitions from a Welsh point of view
World Ploughing Contest 2014
After the long haul to Canada last year, in 2014 the World Ploughing Contest returned to Europe, moving nearer to home to France. Representing Wales for the second successive year in the Conventional Class was Rhodri George whilst veteran Elfed Jones was competing for the 5th time in the Reversible Class.
Here follows a report from World Board Member, John Nixon:
“The 61st World Ploughing Contest was held at Saint Jean d’Illac, only 30 minutes from the beautiful city of Bordeaux in the South of France. The families and friends of the Welsh Ploughing Team had an organised tour which included a visit to the world famous Bordeaux vineyards, a dairy farm and a suckler cow farm with the local breed of cattle being Bazadais, also a boat trip to an oyster farm and a visit to the National Park and Bird Reserve.
The weather was very hot and the weekend was spent at the World Ploughing Contest. The site was very sandy but all the competitors had good equal plots. From 29 countries competing, Rhodri finished in 14th place in the Conventional Class, whilst Elfed was placed 15th in the Reversible. Thanks go to the coach and judge Aled Morgan, also for organising the transport of the ploughs to the event and
deputy coach Ian Wilson. My sincere thanks to the families and friends for their help and support for making this such a wonderful event. We look forward to Denmark in 2015!”
John Nixon World Board Member Wales
Showing: Overall Placing – Name — Country — Stubble Points — Place — Grassland Points — Place
1st Eamonn Tracey Republic of Ireland 194.5 2nd 187.0 1st
2nd Andrew Mitchell (Jnr) Scotland 194.0 3rd 185.5 2nd
3rd Fabien Landre France 196.0 1st 177.5 4th
14th Rhodri George Wales 153.5 16th 155.5 12th
1st Andrew Mitchell (Snr) Scotland 195.5 2nd 217.0 1st
2nd Beat Sprenger Switzerland 209.0` 1st 194.0 3rd
3rd John Whelan Republic of Ireland 184.0 3rd 208.5 2nd
15th Elfed Jones Wales 158.5 14th 172.5 14th
The 55th all Wales Ploughing and Hedging Championshiops 2014
Pemfeidr, Castlemorris, Haverfordwest
Once again, the All Wales Ploughing and Hedging Championships were blessed with dry conditions
which helped to ensure that the crowds rolled in to witness the annual contest to be crowned Champion in both the ploughing and hedging competitions. Letterston and District Ploughing Society under the Chairmanship of William Miles were the organisers of the Championships and were also celebrating
their 70th anniversary having been founded in 1944.
On the eve of the Championships, the traditional Blessing of the Plough service was held at Llangloffan Baptist Chapel which attracted a large congregation of ploughmen and their supporters. Local Baptist Minister, the Rev’d Geraint Morse, assisted by the Rev’d Geoffrey Eynon conducted the Service which even included entertainment by local boy-band “Bois-y-Wlad”.
The site for the Championships was Penfeidr Farm at Castlemorris near Haverfordwest, farmed by the well-known Pembrokeshire farming family, the Raymond Brothers. Twin brothers, Meurig and Mansel Raymond were the Presidents of the Championships, well-known for their connections with the
National Farmers Union, a theme that continued through to the Local Secretary, Dorian Williams who is NFU Group Secretary for North Pembrokeshire. He was undertaking the Local Secretary role for the second time. The ploughing was concentrated over two large fields and the hedging – known in
Pembrokeshire as “plashing”- was located at the same site. On the Saturday morning, the public were soon flocking to Penfeidr to witness the talents of the competitors taking part of which there were 75 ploughmen, 8 hedging competitors or “plashers” and two teams competing in the wire fencing class.
The World Style Classes as ever was a closely fought contest that included a number of former Welsh Champions. In the Under-26 World Style Class, young talent in the form of Euron Owen Griffith, Iestyn James and James George were competing whilst Thomas Chinn of Mathry was ploughing in the Junior Class for competitors under 18 years of age. In the horse ploughing, John Fletcher was competing with his magnificent Shires, whilst Will Williams entertained spectators with his skills in ploughing with three horses instead of the usual two!
Elsewhere on the site, there was a wonderful array of vintage tractors, tools and machinery. Attracting a lot of attention were two beautifully turned-out steam engines that had worked in the local area in their day. One of them was back in action for the day providing the power for the threshing demonstration. As
commented by the Chairman William Miles: “Those who did this back-breaking job many years ago were probably glad to be just watching!” Also catching the eye was the scale model of a steam engine complete with its own threshing box constructed by Tom Griffiths of Wolfscastle who had spent over 2,500 hours faithfully reproducing this fully-working model. Amongst the display of vintage tractors was a rare yellow and silver Massey Ferguson, manufactured in France in 1966 and one of only 49 built. It had spent many years disguised in red paint with its true identity only coming to light when current owner
Len Page of Solva started restoring it to its full glory.
At the other end of the scale, there was a magnificent display of modern working machinery taking place during the day put on by local machinery dealers.
Back in the ploughing competitions, the crowd gathered for the presentation of prizes. This year, it was the turn of Evan Watkin, previously Champion on no less than 9 occasions, to be crowned the Champion of Wales, closely followed into Reserve by last year’s Champion and local Pembrokeshire ploughman, Rhodri George.
In the horse ploughing, John Fletcher once again triumphed to be Champion Horse Ploughman of Wales for the second successive year.
A constant thread running through the Championships was its links to the past in this part of North-West Pembrokeshire. The Raymond family had hosted the Championships 20 years earlier
and Mansel Raymond reflected on this in his closing speech at the presentation of prizes. He reminded the crowd that his late brother, Gilbert Raymond, had been the Chairman of the Championships in 1994 when the President had been Benny Miles, the current Chairman’s late father. Looking to the future of
Welsh Ploughing, he stressed the importance of keeping the rural skills of ploughing, hedging and plashing alive for future generations and added that “one of the benefits of an event of this scale is that it gives the general public the opportunity to witness the skills and craftsmanship of a living countryside”.
The 55th all Wales Ploughing and Hedging Championshiops 2014
Class 1 Semi-Digger – World Style
1st Evan Watkin
2nd David Chappell
3rd Rhodri George
Class 2 Semi-Digger – World Style – Under 26
1st Iestyn James
2nd Euron Owen Griffith
3rd James George
Class 3 Reversible Ploughing – World Style
1st D Elfed Jones
2nd Clive Roberts
3rd Wyn Jones
Class 4 General Purpose or Semi-Digger (Classic)
1st Jon Cole
2nd Stuart Burden
3rd Wilfred Richards
Class 5 Vintage Ploughing – Trailer
1st Sam Jones
2nd Michael J Watkins
3rd Gordon Harries
Class 6 Vintage Ploughing – Hydraulic
1st Richard E Ingram
2nd Arthur Jennings
3rd Emlyn Jones
Class 7 High Cut
1st John Milnes
2nd Vernon Davies
3rd Raymond Roach
Class 8 Ferguson TE20 with Standard Ferguson Plough
1st Keith Williams
2nd John S Evans
3rd Robert Godfrey
Class 9 Junior Class – Under 18 Years Old on Day of Match
1st Thomas Chinn
Class 10 Commercial Reversible Ploughing
1st Roger Jones
2nd Gerwyn Evans
3rd Chris James
Class 11 Horse Ploughing – High Cut
1st John Fletcher
Class 12 Horse Ploughing – General Purpose
1st Will Williams
Best Turnout (Horse Ploughing)
Best Working Team of Horses (Unled)
Champion Welsh Tractor Ploughman
Reserve Champion Welsh Ploughman
Welsh representatives to World Contest.
Conventional:- Evan Watkin
Reversible:- D Elfed Jones
The Evan Davies Trophy Best Young Ploughman under 26 years on 1st
January for the best work in any class
The Border Fine Arts Perpetual Trophy Champion Welsh Horse Ploughman
The Richard & Heather March Trophy Best work in semi-digger under 26 class
The Monmouthshire Perpetual Trophy Best ploughing work by a Monmouthshire ploughman
Special prize – Trevor Davies Trophy Best work by a ploughing competitor resident in
Special prize – Best work by a Kverneland plough
THE 56TH ALL WALES PLOUGHING & HEDGING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015
Looking forward to the next Championships, we will be returning to Pembrokeshire in 2015 but to the South of the county this time. The site is at Paskeston Farm, Cosheston, Pembroke Dock, SA72 4SF and the Championships will take place on Saturday 26th September.
Preparations are well-advanced under the Chairmanship of George John whose uncle, Norman John, was Chairman of the Championships in 1980. The Local Secretary is well-known trailer ploughman, Gordon Harries
WIRE FENCING & HEDGING CHAMPIONSHIPS
In the Hedging Championships, there was some strong competition in the contest to be crowned the Champion Hedger. In the Class for the Pembroke and Glamorgan Styles, Gareth G Evans was awarded first place for his length of hedge whilst in the Class for any other style, Gwynfor Harding was placed first. Gethin Jones from Brecon won the Class for competitors under 26 years of age. After some deliberation, the judges, D Richards and WEL Woosnam awarded the Championship to Gwynfor Harding of Caersws, Powys.
Meanwhile, in the dry ground conditions, the wire fencing teams of Glyn Arrowsmith and Russell Lewis from Llowes and Keith Pugh and Peter Thackeray from Llandysul worked exceptionally hard to complete their allotted lengths – all by hand. The winners were Glyn Arrowsmith and Russell Lewis, regular winners at the Championships.
WIRE FENCING RESULTS
Class 13 Open Pairs
1st Glyn Arowsmith & Russell Lewis
2nd Keith Pugh & Peter Thackeray
Class 14 Pembroke and Glamorgan Style
1st Gareth G Evans
2nd Roger Minchin
Class 15 Any Other Hedging Style – Open
1st Gwynfor Harding
2nd Richard Lewis
3rd Rita Jones
Class 16 Any Hedging Style – Under 26 Years of Age
1st Gethin Jones
CLA Trophy for Champion Hedger
European Vintage Ploughing Championships – 2014
The Championships were this year hosted by the Republic of Ireland and were combined with the Irish National Ploughing Match and Show held in the South West of the country in Co. Laois near Stradballey.
The coach for the Welsh Team, John Tucker, reports from this event:
“As the Chief Steward of Llangattock Ploughing Society, I had to forego this position this year as I was delighted to be asked by our Welsh competitors of the European Vintage Team to act as their judge. Having to travel to Ireland on the Sunday meant I unfortunately had to miss the Llangattock Ploughing Match.
I met up with our Team in Pembroke on the Sunday morning, 21st September – Gordon Harries in the Trailer Class, Tony Bradley Hydraulic and Griff Jones Classic, also John Lewis our Steward. Tony didn’t make a very good start by having a burst tyre on his trailer whilst travelling to Pembroke, then a second tyre burst on the way to the ferry at Fishguard.
On arrival in Ireland, we went to the practice ground on the Monday. The plots were on hard ground and some competitors finished early. The hope was that the ground would be better for the competition but not so, the ground was on a slope both ways. Tony was at the bottom of the field with a lot of trash left to bury; the ground was also very hard and dry which was not helped by the stones, some of which were so big that Tony had to plough around them. Gordon was ploughing towards the top of the field and had the same sort of conditions trying to plough against the slope. He also had some large stones on his plot, breaking his disc arm on one of them. There was a large stone in his finish too but it was not enough to stop him being placed second in the Trailer Class and being awarded the John Costain Memorial
Trophy for the best trailer plough finish.
Over on the other side of the hill, Griff Jones in the Classic Class was battling with more stones, some of which were 12 – 18 inches round. By ploughing at 8 inches depth, Griff was able to do a reasonable job burying most of them. All in all, I would like to congratulate the team for doing their best for Wales with Tony Bradley finishing in fifth place in the Hydraulic Class, Griff Jones sixth in the Classic Class and Gordon second in the Trailer Class. I would also like to thank Gill, Shirley and Maureen for keeping us all going with refreshments.” John Tucker Coach for Wales Team, European Vintage Ploughing Championships
British Ploughing Championships – 2014
Welsh Ploughmen travelled South to Hampshire in October to take part in the British Ploughing Championships. John Nixon reports from the event on the fortunes of the Welsh competitors. “The British Ploughing Championships were held near Basingstoke and the Welsh competitors kept the flag flying for Wales. Rhodri George came first in his class on the first day and qualified for the plough-off along with Brenig Bryan and Aled Morgan. Rhodri came 4th and won the John Jones Trophy for the best ploughman from Wales.
Father and son team, Hugh and Euron Griffith were also in the points with Hugh taking first place in the David Brown Ploughing Championship whilst son Euron was placed third in the YFC Conventional Ploughing Championship. Robert Convery was placed fourth in the David Brown Class. David Hankey also came in fourth but in the Classic Class.
Meanwhile in the horse ploughing, John Fletcher, recently crowned Champion Welsh Horse Ploughman, was placed fourth in the General Purpose class.
Well done to everyone in such wet and very cold conditions.”
The Welsh Ploughing Association was founded in 1958 by the Radnor Valley Ploughing Society.
The objectives of the Association are:
• To promote and encourage the art and skill of ploughing, hedging and other rural crafts.
• To promote an annual Welsh Match, to be held each year in a different area of Wales.
• To provide facilities whereby entrants from Affiliated Societies to the Welsh Ploughing Association may compete for the Welsh Championship and represent Wales at the British Championships and other such competitions.
• To promote the British Championships, the World Ploughing Contest and other such competitions.
Secretariat: The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Ltd, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3SY
Tel: 01982 553683 • Email: email@example.com
Photographs reproduced from the Welsh Ploughing Association Newsletter who published by kind permission of Grace Davies, Andy Ford, Julie Jenkins, Bill Wood, John Nixon.