CHAMPION Welsh ploughman Evan Watkin beat off contenders to hang on to his title at 59th All Wales Ploughing & Hedging Championships.

Crug Glâs near the city of St Davids was the setting for the prestigious event provided by Perkin and Janet Evans and family.

On the eve of the championships, a service to bless the plough was conducted by Rev Canon Michael Rowlands at The Cowshed function room at Crug Glâs.

The horse plough that was blessed originated from Crug Glas and would have been used to plough these same fields many years ago.

The championships, put on by the local St David’s Ploughing Society under the chairmanship of John Evans of Mathry, was located on level ground with ploughing on stubble.

It was an ideal site for ploughing but weather conditions conspired to make ground conditions sticky for both competitors and spectators alike.

Although conditions were testing, there was a good display of ploughing across all classes, ranging from modern reversible ploughs to vintage machinery and horse ploughing, the latter always a popular attraction for visitors.

Ploughmen had travelled from all over the world as well as all parts of the UK to take part – from the Isle of Man to the USA to the Republic of Ireland.

Competitions across all classes was fierce and it was defending champion Evan Watkin of Welshpool who retained the title to again be crowned the Champion Welsh Tractor Ploughman.

Reserve Champion was local St David’s ploughman, Rhodri George who also won the Barbara and Glyn Davies Memorial Cup for the best ploughing competitor from Carmarthenshire, Glamorganshire and Pembrokeshire.

Completing the George family’s involvement was wife Alison, secretary of the local organising committee, and their son James, who was the winner of the Under 26 World Style Conventional Class.

Competitors were selected to represent Wales in the World Ploughing Contest to take place in the USA next year and these were Champion Ploughman, Evan Watkin, and winner of the World Style Reversible Class, Huw Griffith of Pwlllheli.

In the Horse Ploughing competitions, it was Roger Smith of Crickhowell in Powys who was named Champion Horse Ploughman.

There was a good turnout of hedgers taking part in the two competition classes. Peter Morris was the winner of the Pembroke and Glamorgan Style while Brian Price of Craswall in Herefordshire won the Any Other Style hedging in the Brecon Stake and Pleach Style. Champion hedger was Peter Morris.

Five teams took part in the Fencing Competition with regular winners Glyndwr Arrowsmith and Russell Lewis winning the class. In the roots and crops competitions that were also run on the day, it was Henry Raymond, Trenewydd, Croesgoch, who won the overall award for most points in these classes.

Rounding up the event, president Perkin Evans said: “What a wonderful opportunity and honour it has been to be president of such an organisation.

"Nearly 90 ploughing competitors have taken part today and the ancestors of us the Evans family, some of whom were keen ploughmen themselves, would have been very proud to know that an All Wales Championships has been held at Crug Glas”.

The All Wales Championships will move to Montgomeryshire in 2019 and Monmouthshire in 2020.