Crufts coup caps fine display by the Crew

heading to Crufts 2015 are: from left, Christina with her dog T amy; Niall with his dog Dave; Peter (who loads the Box with tennis balls); Mary (Team Captain) with her dog Ben; Pete with Harley and Carole with her dog Millie. EMN-140922-090606001
heading to Crufts 2015 are: from left, Christina with her dog T amy; Niall with his dog Dave; Peter (who loads the Box with tennis balls); Mary (Team Captain) with her dog Ben; Pete with Harley and Carole with her dog Millie. EMN-140922-090606001

The Brigg Muttley Crew teams have just returned from the 20-year Anniversary British Flyball Championships held at Catton Hall in Derbyshire.

And they won two Divisional Championship Shields, out of 336 Teams competing in 52 Divisions.

One of the winning teams: Niall Filshie; Carole Gray; Christina Griffiths; Annette Smith; Carole Reader; Karen Neall; Peter Bathgate; Mary Carter-Bathgate (Team Captain) Pete Leeming (front row). Missing team members from the photo are Russell Clarkson; Corrine McNamara and Alex McNamara. EMN-140922-090539001

One of the winning teams: Niall Filshie; Carole Gray; Christina Griffiths; Annette Smith; Carole Reader; Karen Neall; Peter Bathgate; Mary Carter-Bathgate (Team Captain) Pete Leeming (front row). Missing team members from the photo are Russell Clarkson; Corrine McNamara and Alex McNamara. EMN-140922-090539001

And this fantastic achievement was followed by one of the teams going on to qualify for Crufts in March 2015.

There are only 16 teams who can qualify and this will be the second time Brigg Muttley Crew have had the opportunity to take part.

Brigg Muttley Crew was set up six years ago in response to a growing national interest in this new fun dog sport.

They are part of the British Flyball Association and take part in weekend competitions throughout the year both locally and nationally.

“Flyball is a dog sport in which teams of dogs race against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of hurdles to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring-loaded box, then back to their handlers whilst carrying the ball,” explained team captain Mary Carter-Bathgate.

Flyball is run in teams of four dogs, as a relay.

The course consists of four hurdles placed 10 feet apart, with the starting line six feet from the first hurdle and the flyball box 15 feet after the last one, making for a 51-foot length in total, so the dog will run 102 feet.

The hurdle height is determined by the shoulder height of the smallest dog in the team and each dog must return its ball all the way across the start line before the next dog crosses.

The first team to have all four dogs cross the finish line error free wins the heat. Penalties are applied to teams if the ball is dropped or if the next relay dog is released early.

The British Flyball record is 15.96 seconds, which was achieved this year at Scarborough, Brigg Muttley Crew’s fastest time recorded is 16.89 seconds.