Mansfield Marnicks romp it home at Crufts

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Members of Flyball team Mansfield Marnicks have a wag in their tails after scooping first and second place at Crufts.

The club, based in Sutton, is the first to win both spots and is now the fastest in the country.

Flyball is a dog sport in which teams race against each other from a start line over a line of hurdles to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught by the dog.

The animal then races back to its handlers while carrying the ball.

Marnicks captain Margaret Greaves (62) said she and her team-mates were over the moon.

“We have re-written history,” said Margaret.

“We have had teams from Belgium and Australia congratulating us.

“It was brilliant - an absolutely amazing buzz.”

The club fielded two teams this year - Mansfield Marnicks and the Four Paws Fliers, who took the top prize last year.

The teams were two of just 16 to qualify for the prestigious competition.

The Marnicks have been going since 2005 and have 15 members.

“The best part of the sport is the excitement and the buzz of working with the dogs,” said Margaret.

“It is so much better than just going for a walk - the dogs absolutely love it.

“They have so much adrenaline going through them when they do it.

“It is really, really exciting - when you go to the arena and see the dogs racing - but it can be quite complex.”

Any breed of dog can take part in flyball and the Marnicks’ teams are comprised of various types, including Border Collies, a Kelpie and a staffie cross.

But if a dog has no interest in running after a tennis ball they will never play flyball, says Margaret.

The Marnicks hold training sessions for anyone interested in the sport.

Said Margaret: “We have to think of the dogs’ safety first.

“People see our dogs racing and think their dog will do that straight away but there is a training process first.

“People have to just get past that bit first, because it is quite boring.”

Mother-of-six Margaret is looking for sponsors to help pay for uniforms and other vital equipment.

If you can help or would like more information you can find the club on Facebook.