By Lisa Soar

World renowned sheepdog handler Kevin Evans celebrated double championship success at the 2019 International sheepdog trials in September – the first person to do so since 1972.

The annual championship is the pinnacle in the International Sheep Dog Society’s (ISDS) competition calendar.

This year’s event was held at Shandford Farm near Brechin in Aberdeenshire and proved to be one of the toughest courses seen for many years.

Kevin Evans, of Libanus, Brecon, won the Supreme championship, running Hybeck Blake, and also won the brace championship with Knockmaa Bec and Derwen Doug.

The last person to achieve this double was John Templeton, of Ayrshire, 47 years ago at the International in Newcastle Upon Tyne – before Kevin was born. John won the Supreme championship with Cap and the doubles with Cap and Fleet.

Sixty handlers from Wales, England, Ireland and Scotland competed against each other for the first two days of qualifying. The top 15 went into the final day’s Supreme double gather championship.

The course, set high on a Scottish hillside, was difficult and handlers and dogs would need all of their skills at the ready. On the top third of the hill the running was on rough ground which was thick with long scrubby grass and rushes. The dogs had to find their sheep amongst this to lift the sheep in the qualifier, more than often out of sight of the handlers.

If the dogs did find their sheep, the strong Texel Cheviot cross ewes would also add to the challenge of negotiating the course.

One dog that coped exceptionally well was James McLaughlin’s Dan. The former Irish National champions had an impressive run on day one and won the qualifying trial.

After two days of bitter winds, spectators in the grandstands were wrapped under blankets and woolly hats eager to see who would be crowned champion on the final day.

The dogs were sent on the left hand gather first, to pick up ten sheep. They were brought down through one set of fetch gates before the dogs needed to be turned back, out to the far right, for the second packet of ten sheep. Such was the challenge of the hill that not all dogs managed to compete the fieldwork, and with the shedding also proving difficult and time consuming, only two competitors managed to close the pen gate all day.

After an early morning run, and a long wait until the results were announced, Kevin claimed his fourth Supreme title, with a score of 504. His nearest rival was fellow Welshman Irwel Evans running Gwnnws Bob. Irwel scored 444 points to become reserve champion.

The brace championship had been completed the day before and again Kevin was out in front with Knockmaa Bec and Derwen Doug, scoring 402 points ahead of reserve champions, George Gardner with Meg and Nan, on 276 points.

For more information about the International trials and the ISDS visit



Champion, D.K. Evans, Hybeck Blake, Wales 504 /680; 2, I.L. Evans, Gwnnws Bob, Wales 444; 3, J.P. McGee, Jess, Ireland 436; 4, R.J. Hutchinson, Jock, England 416; 5, J.S. Howard, Lad, Eng 376; 6, J.A. MacKillop, Zak, Scotland 328; 7, F.W. Shennan, Spot, Scot 320; 8, D.N. Gillon, Sweep, Scot 312; 9, J.F. Maginn, Kate, Ire 304; 10, M. Feeney, Bob, Ire 272; 11, A.L. Evans, Zac, Wales 204; 12, J.W. Common, Grit, Scot 80 Ret; 13, D.J. Murray, Sweep, Scot 32 Ret; 14, J. McLaughlin, Dan, Ire DQ; 15, R.F.M. Ellis, Tod, Wales DQ.

Team: Scotland 3441pts;

Driving: M. Gallagher and Val, Ireland;

Young handler: Sam Fagan, Quories Craig, Ireland;

Qualifying trial winner: J. McLaughlin Dan, Ireland;

Brace: D.K. Evans with Derwen Doug and Knockmaa Bec. Reserve; G. Gardner, Meg and Nan, Scotland.