In her first ever competitive ploughing match, 14 year-old Emily Watson from Cranbrook stole both the limelight and the silverware at the 2019 Romney Marsh Ploughing and Cultivations Society (RMPCS) ploughing competition near Ham Street last Sunday (September 1).
A very proud father watched her progress all day and said “This was her first ever match and she was doubting herself all morning but she’s done us proud!”. Emily, a member of the High Weald School Young Farmers Club, had been driving her Dad’s Fordson Standard tractor in a strong Novice Class which included a 2018 award winner, Jack Wrout, from Lydd.
“I can’t believe it!” exclaimed a beaming Emily after she picked up not just the Novice Class Vigor Cup, but two special awards, the Bob Marshall Trophy for Best Novice, and the Rye Oils Cup for Best Under 25 Year Old.
At the other end of the age spectrum, 72 year old Will Jury from Icklesham was enjoying a true family day out competing against son James and grandsons Kevin and Ed. “I’ve been ploughing all my life” he said. ”It’s a lovely day out with the boys”.
The ability to plough a straight and even furrow remains a highly skilled craft. Judges scrutinise many aspects including straightness, uniformity, depth, firmness and
“‘trash” (weeds, grass, and stubble) control. Over 70 entries contested the nine classes with a range of machinery representing a journey through farming history. Vintage Ransomes, Fords and Fergusons may have dominated the furrows, but horses, steam ploughs and manual implements ensured all aspects of ploughing heritage were on display.
This year’s event also hosted the Area Vintage Ploughing Finals, with winning entrants from the Trailer, Mounted and Classic classes qualifying for the National Finals taking place in the north of England in 2020.
The ever popular Fun Dog Show and an increasing number of rural, craft and trade stands added value to this, the first of the season’s ploughing competitions in the South East.
“We’re indebted to all the farmers on Romney Marsh who make this event happen” said Chairman of RMPCS, Alan Higgs. “We’ve had well over 300 people through the gate, raised funds for the RNLI and the Kent Air Ambulance, and we’ve seen people of all ages and from different backgrounds, take part. It’s fabulous what young Emily has achieved today and really bodes well for the future of farming. It’s been a great day!”
Image Credits: Chris Lawson .