The team only began competing under their present name in the early summer when the Harlequin Flyball Club was formed although all members of the team had competed previously together for some considerable time. Racing under our new name seems to have paid dividends for us, and on our début at the Royal Vet College on 21 May the team won the Round Robin competition sponsored by Hills in the most atrocious weather conditions imaginable. Following this, we competed in the Spillers Flyball Final at Middlesex and achieved 3rd place for the fourth year in succession - do they reserve this place for us? We then took part in the Bowser Flyball Show at Hayling Island (again in June) and with a successful result here and at the Hills Flyball Weekend at the Vet College several of our dogs received their first Flyball Award Certificates.
Our next outing was at Longleat when we won Division 2 of the Open Competition and on the same day a qualifying heat of the Eukanuba Competition - the result at this event in November being a win in the Team Challenge.
The team actually consists of four dogs and handlers contained in only two households, plus our Loader Andy, who doubles as a handler when needed and Rosemary (Cathy's mum and a chiropodist), also the fastest "ball girl" in the South.
Lead off dog for the team is Bella, handled by Gary (or Andy when necessary), a 6 year old BC who has lost none of her keenness, despite having been absent for most of the Summer entries, due to maternal duties. Her handler Gary is in the Veterinary profession, and Andy is a Farm Manager.
Second position is filled by Cathy who is studying Animal Science at University. The third slot in the team is taken by Liz ("housewife extraordinaire", and "canine beautician", "Club Manager", "Chief nagger and organiser") no wonder I feel tired, handling Yogi, a 4 year old WS rescued by her as a puppy in a very pitiful condition.
Lastly, her husband Ron (letting her know frequently how she got the changeovers wrong). (Anton has an explanation as to why ladies are not so good when it comes to judging length, ask him next time you bump into him Liz - Ed). Sorry! I digress, with Rolo, a 5 year old WS who has enough energy to still be Flyballing into a ripe old age (the dog I mean, not the handler!), a carpenter by trade, we are lucky to have Ron, who has invented and made many Flyball boxes for us over the years (some quite strange) and he will shortly be banished to "the shed" to invent something for the team that will help us in our quest to achieve a sub 20 second run next year - lets hear it for Ron, or he may never get into "that shed" and start work! Both Yogi and Rolo have a Novice win in Agility to their credit, but with Flyball shows taking priority, too many 2nd places for comfort and the length of queues you have to wait in to compete at Agility, the situation probably won't change in the foreseeable future.
Collectively we're a pretty "laid back" bunch of competitors - we enjoy our Flyball, meeting and chatting to other team competitors in the sport, and despite not being able to practice as often as we should, due to domestic circumstances, someone must be looking after us somewhere, as we seem to have more good luck than bad when competing, and 1994 has been a good year for the Harlequins.