It was almost a case of déjà vu in pigeon racing circles on Monday when the West Cumberland Federation raced from Appleton.

Off at 9am in a light east wind the leading flocks tumbled in on time five minutes or so inside two hours.

But then came the gaps and after that a lot of the birds homed on their own with the late comers continuing to return throughout the day with the vast majority making it by nightfall.

It was virtually a re-run of the Derwent Valley Federation’s race from Appleton on Friday – good early returns, gaps and then birds finding their way back all day.

One experienced fancier said: ”I think both are typical examples of hawks getting among the birds and splitting up the flocks. Thankfully nearly all have got through in the end.”

Topping the Fed sheet, for the second time this Young Bird season were Billy Waddington and Phil Taylor from the Lowca club. Their winner covered the 91 miles at 48mph.

A chequer cock he was bred off birds given to the partners by Tomlinson and Banks, a prominent loft in Cleator Moor. As well as first club and Fed from Appleton he was second club and Fed from Garstang, beaten by a loft-mate.

Billy and Phil formed their partnership three years ago and have enjoyed a particularly good start to this young bird campaign with first, second and third Fed from Garstang; 2nd Fed from Charnock Richard and then Monday’s Fed win from Appleton 2.

“We would just like to thank Tomlinson and Banks for all their support over the years. They are true gents of the sport,” said Billy.

Second Fed, and first to clock flying three miles shorter at Egremont was David Harrison, who also had fourth Fed.

The bird taking second Fed is a blue hen bred in the stock loft through Willie Brennen's old bloodlines on the dams side and the sire is a son of John Kirkup's 2nd UNC Folkstone a few years ago.

David’s view was typical of how the race panned how. He said: "The race started very well but faltered after about three minutes in my case. I got 25 from 50 in three minutes then a 15 minute gap, before the odd one's and two's came.

“A lot of birds were missing at Egremont when the clocks were read an hour and a half after the first arrivals but a lot have dragged in before nightfall and only twos and threes missing.

“They have probably gone to ground and have been plucking up courage to run the gauntlet with the hawks.”

WEST CUMBERLAND FEDERATION (961 birds): 1,Waddington and Taylor (Lowca) 1416; 2, 4,D.Harrison and son (Egremont Rangers) 1415,1414.73; 3, Tomlinson and Banks (Cleator Moor) 1414.75;5, 6, S. and E. Chambers and daughter (Sandwith) 1414.03, 1413.

CLEATOR MOOR CENTRAL (10 sent 486): 1,Tomlinson and Banks 1417.2; 2,3,4,6, Nolan, Hetherington, Coultas and Easdon 1417.1, 1417.1, 1415, 1413; 5, P. and S. Byers 1414.

EGREMONT HS (93 birds): 1,2,4, D. Harrison and son 1415, 1414,1398; 3,5, 6,Wilson and Buchanan

1411, 1394,1393.

SANDWITH: 1,2,3,4,5, S. and E. Chambers and daughter 1414, 1413.82, 1413.82,1413.6, 1413.4;6, Pears ,grandson and Henderson 1413.06.