A bright and dry day with no prospect of rain greeted the competitors, stewards Judges and helpers.
The hedge was around the perimeter of a massive field, with all the regional styles set out in groups. The South of England hedge was as far from the main arena as possible, so quite a long walk.
Our section of hedge was deceptive it looked reasonably easy, but was full of blackberry which is a nightmare as it tangles everything up. The hedge had also been laid before, but quite high, which added to the problems.
So at 09:00 we kicked off, and the idea of an easy day went out the window pretty quickly, everyone struggled to get the hedge down in time, and indeed by the 2pm deadline had not managed.
After finishing there was time to look at all the other sections in the South of England style and try to guess who had won the prizes, then off to the marquee and some well deserved food, and the option for Hedge Slayer beer, perfect.
Having eaten there was still enough time for a wander about before prize giving, Phil Hart was still busy with the have a go section, and a few competitors were still trying to complete their sections.
The diversity of hedge styles is amazing, its well worth a visit to the Nationals if you have the time as you can see the entire country in a single field.
There were some people demonstrating rural crafts, and selling tools, it was tempting to buy another billhook, but somehow I resisted the urge.
By the end of the day we had some very good sections, some functional, and some pretty ropey
Great work by Judges, and Stewards and thanks for keeping everyone advised on time.
Any way results were as follows
South of England Open
4th Clive Gilligan
3rd Nigel Adams
2nd Bill Daniel
1st Mike Bentley
South of England Intermediate
4th Geoff Pitt
3rd Dave Droscher
2nd Mike Mason
1st David Dunk
In other news from the Society the following members picked up prizes in other styles
Midland Intermediate, and best intermediate
1st Paul Matthews
2nd Russell Woodham
2nd Garry Moore