Watsons Flyball team with dogs

Watsons's Flyball - Year Review

Last year, we were lucky enough to begin working with Natural Instinct, which gave us access to the incredible food to help sustain our canine athletes and, of course, a swanky new kit for the humans! We took the opportunity to support the community and seek out a family-run business to provide our kit. So, we would like to extend our thanks to Knight Sportswear for our fabulous new attire!
Since our partnership with Natural Instinct began, we have seen amazing changes in our dogs as they set faster times as individuals and teams but, most importantly, were able to maintain these new highs throughout a day’s racing.

So, how have we done…

This year has certainly been an interesting one! In our club’s history, we have been incredibly lucky to never have Kennel Cough, but this year we were hit twice, seeing us in lockdown for weeks on end. We were also hit by the dreaded Coronavirus, seeing most members quite poorly and again isolating for weeks. On top of this, we have had dogs out with injuries (almost all gained from daily walks!), and training was cancelled because it was either too wet and slippery or too hot. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up!
In April, we headed to Anglesey, where we had our most successful show of the year. We took 6 teams across two days, and every single team won their division! Wow!
In July, we set out to achieve one of our goals for the year, Crufts 2023 Qualification. WE DID IT! Rachel & Colin, Quinton & Autumn, Liz & Epyc, Steph & Comet, Matt & Optic, Christina & Chess, Silke & Moji, alongside the support crew of Nick (box loader), Rebecca and Emma, all make up our Crufts team. The main event was drawn in November, and Watson’s Legacy (us) will face off against Saltires on Thursday, 9th March 2023, for the first race.
For the majority of teams, the build-up through the year is always aimed towards August when the British Flyball Championships and UK Flyball League Championships take place. As a club, we are one of the few teams in the Country who are dual registered; this means we compete under both associations throughout the year and have the opportunity to attend both Championships. This year we opted to compete at both Outdoor Champs, which meant a gruelling schedule seeing us compete over 7 days within a 9-day period, eek!
First up saw us travel to the UK Flyball League Championships in the middle of a heatwave. This was a tough few days in sweltering heat which saw racing reduced, 6 am racing starts to be finished before the afternoon temps, and when that couldn’t be achieved, racing was postponed till the evening when it was moved inside. The heat and long days were hard on the humans, but the dogs were monitored, prioritised and safe throughout our time at the show. The reduced racing was the perfect decision for the dogs; however, it did mean that any mistake could be exceptionally costly, increasing the pressure significantly! Due to some last-minute injuries, we had to pull our second team on the morning of racing which also meant a bit of a reshuffle and with no chance to practice. All in all, with the lack of training, preparation, fitness and challenges thrown by the weather, we really were ‘against all odds’.
The Saturday saw our 5th team, Watson’s Escape from Azkaban, take to the ring, which was made up of a mix of breeds and experience. Unfortunately, they just didn’t have their usual speed, and some of the newbies struggled to transition from outdoor to indoor. This team placed 4th in Div 6. Also competing on Saturday was our Little League team Watson’s Academy. This team was made up of young dogs competing at their first big show, aided by the experienced paws of the oldest dog in the club, Flyte. This team had an incredible day dropping just one leg and winning their division.
Sunday was a little busier, seeing three teams racing for gold. The first was our 4th team Watsons and the Deathly Hallows. This team was superb, racing against some tough competition to take home the division 4 win! Next our 3rd team of Watsons and the Muggles, this team had some very close racing and unfortunately just lacked a little pace to normal but placed valiantly as runners-up in Div 3. Last up was our 1st team of Watson’s Firebolt. They went in as divisional favourites adding even more pressure, but the team remained calm and won every single leg to become UKFL Outdoor Champions!
Monday was Multibreed day! Our 3rd team, Watson’s Every Flavour Beans, took home the win in Div 2, meaning we retained this title two years in a row. Our 2nd team, Watson’s Magical Creatures, had a hard run in Division 1 but did well to place 3rd. Lastly, Watson’s Magical Beasts, also competing in Division 1, had a smashing days racing to become the UKFL Multibreed Champions! We became the first club in UKFL History to become double Champions, something we are incredibly proud of!
A few days later, we were at the BFA Championships, participating in speed trials. This was something totally new to us, so we were most surprised to see 4 out of 5 teams winning their speed trials division! Our Foundation team were amazing, dropping just one leg all day to win their division and place second overall in the Foundation Championship! On the 5th day of racing, for many of our dogs, you would expect fatigue to have set in; however, thanks to their new diet, our 4th team were just outstanding; they smashed just shy of a second off their team time. Crazy stuff! Our 3rd team made it all the way through to the big finals, where they were pipped to the post in a 5 leg showdown. Our first team were in the big leagues competing with some of the best around. They put on a valiant show to place second fastest overall in the speed trials out of over 150 teams. This placed them in Div 1, where they finished overall 3rd.
Throughout the year, we have seen: 
  • 10 dogs retired
  • We have gained 13 new dogs
  • 8 dogs made their racing debuts
  • We have handed out an incredible 61 individual dog awards
  • Received 142 1st places, 69 2nd places and 35 3rd place ribbons
  • 19 dogs posted new personal best times!
Our big results:
  • UKFL Outdoor Champions
  • UKFL Outdoor Multibreed Champions
  • UKFL Outdoor Record Holders
  • UKFL Div 4 Outdoor Winners
  • UKFL Div 2 Multibreed Outdoor Winners
  • Crufts 2023 Qualified
  • New club record 15.13
  • BFA Foundation Reserve Champions
  • BFA Div 2 Speed Trials Winner
  • BFA Div 5 Speed Trials Winner
  • BFA Div 12 Speed Trials Winner
  • BFA Div 25 Speed Trials Winner
  • BFA Overall Runners up in Speed Trials
  • BFA Overall 3rd Place
  • Costa became the first dog in the Clubs History to gain the UKFL Pilot Officer Award
  • Oscar, Irish Setter of the year 2022
  • Sansa, Miniature American Shepherd of the year 2022
  • Dolcie, Chinese Crested (Hairless) of the year 2022
We are now in the middle of our Winter break as we give everyone some well-earned rest time before we get back to training in 2023, ready to do it all again!

Watson's Flyball - Year Review

January 2023