THE 176th Melplash Agricultural Society's annual hedgelaying and ploughing match took place at the weekend. 

On Sunday, September 24, competitors took part in the event, which took place on Urless Farm, on land off A356, near Corscombe in Dorset, by permission of Mr and Mrs Oliver Hemsley. 

Tim Frampton, society match chairman, said it was a 'fantastic' day. 

"All classes were well supported, and the competition was keen with a good number taking part for the first time," he said.

"It was so good to see so many people coming to watch despite not being the most favourable weather!

"The annual hedgelaying and ploughing match is always an important day in the Society’s Calendar.  As well as marking the start of the Society in 1847, it gives all of us who work on the land an opportunity to show others our skills and the pride we have in the work we do.  This year is another memorable year as it was the first time that a Society’s President has taken part in the competition.

"It was an honour to have this year’s President, Michael Fooks, competing in the ploughing match as he has done for the last 60 years, only missing it once when he was the Society’s Chairman in 1984!

South West Farmer: Champion Ploughman Michael Fooks with his prizes.

"We all congratulate him on winning his class and for being named as the Champion Ploughman for both the local and open classes. Winning of course is a bonus and a position we can only enjoy until next year!” 

Philip Hardwill, society chairman, hosted the prize giving. The prizes were presented by society president, Michael Fooks. 

Ploughing results

Chief Steward: 

Philip Hardwill, Society Chairman


Mr Anthony Butler, Bridport and Mr Richard Curtis, Bridgwater

Mr Arthur Hayward, Tiverton and Mr John Kerslake, Tiverton

Best Turned-Out Tractor & Plough judged by Mr Roy Vickery and Michael Hole

Class 8 - Vintage Trailed: 1st David Cobb | 2nd Millie Johnston | 3rd Malcolm Trott 

Class 9 - Vintage Hydraulic: 1st Rodney Cuff | 2nd Michael Symonds | 3rd Geoff Fry

Class 10 – Match Ploughing: 1st Tim Frampton

Trophies & Special Prizes

  • Champion Vintage Ploughman and winner of The Jack Dare Memorial Trophy – David Cobb
  • Best Strike Out in Vintage classes – David Cobb
  • Best Finish in Vintage classes – David Cobb
  • Champion Ploughman in Vintage and match ploughing classes & winner of the Blandford & Webb Perpetual Challenge cup – David Cobb
  • Best Ins and Outs in classes – Rodney Cuff

Class 11 - Classic Tractor & Plough (without Q cab): Joint 1st David Lockyer & Malcom Selby and winner of the Tony Ascott Perpetual Challenge Cup | 2nd Tony Ascott | 3rd Colin Hawkins

Class 12 - Tractor & hydraulically operated 2 or 3 furrow plough: 1st Michael Fooks | 2nd John Harris | 3rd Robert Johnson

Class 13 – Tractor & hydraulically operated 4 or more plough: 1st John Shute | 2nd Will Doble | 3rd Barry Dennett

Class 14 – Contractor Challenge – reversible ploughs to use both left- and right-hand board: 1st Garry Stevens winner of Creed Brother’s Seaborough Salver | 2nd Bernard Hayball | 3rd Tom Baker

Trophies & Special Prizes

  • Champion Ploughman (Open) and winner of Col. Sir Stuart Mallinson cup – Michael Fooks
  • Champion Ploughman (Local) and winner of silver perpetual Challenge Cup – Michael Fooks
  • Winner of The Streatfeild Perpetual Cup to Best YFC Ploughman – Millie Johnston, Marshwood Vale YFC
  • Best Ins & Outs - Dave Lockyer
  • Best Strike out -John Harris
  • Best Finish – Robert Johnson
  • Best Ploughing with Case International Case or David Brown with Kverneland Plough presented with Silver Perpetual Challenge cup – Tm Frampton
  • Best Ploughing with Ford New Holland – John Shute
  • Best Ploughing with a John Deere Tractor presented with a special prize donated by Hunt Forest Group, Dorchester – Garry Stevens
  • Sam Dennett Perpetual Memorial Trophy presented by the family for the best finish with a four or five furrow plough – Bernard Hayball

Novice Ploughman: 1st Tom Baker | 2nd Millie Johnston

Best Turned-out Tractor & Plough (presented with a bottle of whisky donated by Mr Roy Vickery): Adrian Holloway

Hedgelaying Results

Chief Steward: Mrs Mandy Woodham


Mr Roger Parris, Honiton

Mr Roger Vickery, Thorncombe

Mr Peter Yeates, Bridport

Chainsaw Steward: Mr Mark Tilley

Class 1 – Hedgelayer – Local & Open class: 1st Steve Eldridge and winner of The Elizabeth Lady Williams Challenge Cup | 2nd Colin Risdon | 3rd Russell Woodham

The Cecil A Marsh Challenge Cup (presented to the best local competitor): Steve Eldridge

Class 2 – Novice Hedgelayer: 1st Michael Baker and winner of Marcus Beresford Trophy | 2nd Richard Baker | 3rd David Clark

Class 3 – Intermediate Hedgelayer: 1st Heath Cregan and winner of Bodger John Trophy | 2nd Neil Gemmell | 3rd Anthony Brown

Class 4 - Open Pairs: 1st Richard Hooker and George Pidgeon and winners of The Bartletts (Dorset) Ltd Cup | 2nd Simon and Milly Cullingford | 3rd Steven and Rosie McCulloch

Class 5 - Novice Pairs: 1st Catherine Carter and Theo Derewnick and winners of the Shedbush Farm Trophy

Trophies & Special Prizes

  • Champion Hedgelayer and winner of the Silver Perpetual Challenge Cup presented by Cleeves & Edwina Palmer – Steve Eldridge
  • The Philip Hardwill Trophy for highest placed Young Farmer – Reggie Saint & Jack Ferret, Beaminster YFC
  • The Russell Woodham Bill Hook Trophy for best hand tool competitor – Catherine Carter and Theo Derewnick
  • The Bill Hook Trophy for the best Lady competitor – Lydia Lee
  • Tidiest Kept Site – Simon and Milly Cullingford
  • Best work on a poor length of hedge – Heath Cregan
  • Overall Best Veteran competitor aged 65 years and over – Steve Eldridge

Mechanical Flail Hedge Cutting: 1st Richard Rowe | 2nd Nick Fooks | 3rd Stuart Curtis

We also hosted the Dorset Young Farmers hedgelaying competition and the results for this class are below:

Judge: Mr Kevin Goodfellow, Bridport

Chainsaw Steward: Mr Matt Bagwell

1st Owen Swatridge and Logan Hayball | 2nd William Fooks and George Goringe | 3rd Chloe Caddy and Zoe Raymond