A record-breaking number of visitors attended this year’s Weald of Kent ploughing match held on Saturday 15 September at Four Oaks Farm in Headcorn, by kind permission of the Hawkes family and JPF Farms.

Alongside 70 tractors competing in nine modern and vintage ploughing classes, the event’s 5,000 visitors were also able to watch the popular horse and steam ploughing demonstrations and could participate in the tossing-the-sheaf and clay pigeon shooting competitions.

The overall winners of the match, which is sponsored each year by BTF Partnership, gathered in the main ring at the end of the day, where they were presented with certificates, trophies and a bottle of English sparkling wine from Biddenden Vineyards.

Competing in his second match of the season, the overall conventional champion was awarded to Chris Fryer from East Sussex who was ploughing with a 1965 International 414 and Ransomes Robin dating back to around the early 1950s.

Trevor Bennett, whose 5455 Massey Ferguson and Lemken DL 110 plough were sponsored by J and A Engineers Ltd, won the overall reversible class. Trevor, who has been ploughing since 2012, aims to compete at all the local Kent matches and commented that the ground had ploughed better than expected at this year’s Weald of Kent match.

Having travelled all the way from Southampton, Russ Berry was presented the award for the overall horticultural champion. Ploughing with a Trusty Tractor plough which he hadn’t used for over two years, Russ said that winning came as bit of a surprise.

Finally, for the first time in about 30 years, the winner of the best trade stand, sponsored by South East Farmer, was awarded to BTF Partnership. As well as decorating the stand with Wealden hops, grown by Frank and Ian Tipples in Staplehurst, BTF also provided a selection of local refreshments for clients to enjoy, including beer from the Rother Valley brewery and wine from Biddenden.

After 23 years of organising everything from ploughing entries to score cards, schedules and the site plans, secretary Karen Wheeler will be handing over the baton to Liz Copping. While 2018 will mark her last year in this role, Karen will continue to play an active role on the Weald of Kent ploughing match committee. James Forknall is also stepping down as chairman this year.

The ploughing prize giving, and all-important annual Kent hop competition, will take place on the evening of 21 November 2018 at Marden Sports Club.

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