Eamonn Lawless and Bill competing at the English national championships.
THE crack of thunder scuppered the chances of a Wootton farmer and his sheepdog winning the English national championships for a second time.
Eamonn Lawless and border collie Bill had won the previous day’s trial to qualify for the run-off to decide the 2012 national champion.
"But, just before his run, there was a thunderstorm and it continued during it," said Eamonn.
"Bill hates thunder and, while he did brilliantly, I’m sure it upset his performance. When it came to my nemesis — the shedding — we lost vital points."
That meant Bill finished in third place at the trial, staged at Over Kellett, at Carnforth, Lancashire.
But he will be taking his place in the English squad in the prestigious supreme international championships, taking place between Thursday and Saturday, September 6 to 8.
Eamonn and Bill, who is eight-and-a-half, have previously scored impressive success together.
They won the English title in 2009, were team reserve in 2010, and, despite Eamonn being not fully fit after a hip replacement, were 12th in the world championships last year.
"Despite getting on a bit and nearly dying when he was young, Bill seems to have plenty of running left in him," said Eamonn.
"I’m thoroughly looking forward to the supreme championship next month, in which we are only able to compete thanks to the generous sponsorship of Wightlink."