Bertie lifts club’s coveted Highest Prizewinner award for first time

Ballymena Highest Prize-winner for 1st time Bertie Blair with Chairman Top McAlonan (l) and President Billy Smyth.
Ballymena Highest Prize-winner for 1st time Bertie Blair with Chairman Top McAlonan (l) and President Billy Smyth.

Ballymena & District HPS had another good turn-out to celebrate the past racing season at its annual dinner at Tullyglass Hotel recently.

Guests included Mid Antrim Secretary George McDowell with other visitors from CullybackeyHPS, Ballymoney HPS and Rasharkin & District.

Nicola Gilbert presents St Malo Nat Cups to Mr & Mrs O'Rawe.

Nicola Gilbert presents St Malo Nat Cups to Mr & Mrs O'Rawe.

Chairman Tom McAlonan welcomed the members and friends and sent best wishes for full recovery to Harry Richmond and Mrs E Smyth who both had a spell in hospital and were now recovering at home. He also mentioned the passing of former member Jack Rodgers earlier in the year, when racing this loft won the INFC Yearling Nat in 1985. Before serving the meal he invited George Eagleson to say grace.

The local club birdage was at its highest level for several seasons and W & J Smyth were to collect 4 cups and trophies in Mid Antrim Combine, Old Bird Inland Ave, Old Bird Ave, Eagleson Memorial Cup (4 cross channel races) and Ken Parker Cup for Combined Average. Five Diplomas were won in MAC, McFall & McManus in Pilmore Beach, W & J Smyth in Sennen Cove Classic and Penzance and Bertie Blair in the Young Bird races from Mullingar and Tullamore.

George McDowell presented the awards for MAC, a Diploma for each race winner and Framed Photo of the winning bird. After a very successful race season Blair & Rankin who race to Chichester Park in Harryville lifted Highest Prize-winner and the Harper Cup for the first time since joining the club. Brian O’Rawe had the best bird in St Malo Nat from France, this same bird was placed in the Ylr Nat, it was a best ever season for the O’Rawe loft.

Top prize-winners Blair & Rankin won the following – Harper Cup Highest Prize-winner, Best Individual YB (GB15R-18444), Victory Cup YB Average, Flamingo Cup YB Talbenny & Rosscarbery, Vintage Cup Talbenny YB Nat, Ruddle Cup Talbenny YB Nat, Nat Cup YB Rosscarbery, Skibbereen YB Nat, YB Inland Ave, and Quimper Friendship Nat.

McFall & McManus Family won the Fermoy 5 Bird Championship.

McFall & McManus Family won the Fermoy 5 Bird Championship.

W & J Smyth won – Combined Inland Ave, Hughes Cup Cross Channel Ave, Orr Challenge Combined OB & YB Ave, Smyth Bros Trophy OB Classic & YB Nat, McCrory Cup OB Ave, Rosscarbery OB Inl Nat, Sennen Cove Classic, Slemish Cup and Simon McCrory Cup Talbenny, Carnvale Cup Sennen Cove Ylr Nat, Penzance Cup, and OB Inland Ave.

Mr & Mrs Sempey won – Tullamore (1) YB, and Bobby Law Memorial 1st Ylr Penzance. George Connolly won – Roger King Mem 6th YB Race, and Yearling Hen Inland Nat. McFall & McManus won – Fermoy 5 Bird. McAlonan Bros won – Yearling Cock Inland Nat. George Bell won St Malo 2 Bird Average. Martin Graham won Law Family Memorial Cup INFC Points, Maternaghan Challenge Cup OB & YB Channel Nat, INFC Penzance, and Jacqueline Kirkpatrick Memorial Shield Best Ave St Malo OB & Talbenny YB Nationals. Billy Ramsey won – Livingstone Cup 2 Bird Ave Sennen Cove Ylr Nat, and INFC St Allouestre Kings Cup, Brian O’Rawe won – Carney Rose Bowl Best Ind OB Performance, Mooney Cup Best Individual Bird, George Barr Challenge Cup St Malo, and McDowell Challenge OB Nat NIPA. W & N Gilbert won – INFC Skibbereen Old Bird Nat and Show Shield. Brian Herbison Visitors Show Trophy.

In a final few words George Eagleson thanked the Chairman for conducting the affairs of the night, Mr & Mrs Gilbert who looked after both the Show Series and the Dinner presentation and long serving Secretary Willie Reynolds. The AGM for Ballymena & District will take place in the local clubrooms at Fountain Place on Monday 8th February at 8.00pm. Resolutions for the agenda must be with Secretary Willie Reynolds by Saturday 30th January. Some rings are still available contact Nicola Gilbert on 07724 507621.