IT may be darker and more wintery now, but Somerset Young Farmers recently held the annual Harvest Thanksgiving Service in the splendid Wells Cathedral.

More than 400 members, associates, students, town dignitaries and guests attended the Service.

Rob Walrond, the Rural Life Advisor for Diocese of Bath and Wells, assisted members with the reflection asking them the impact the drought had on their farming enterprises during the summer and autumn.

Tom Pope of Ilminster YFC, Nicola Palfrey of Wellington & Taunton YFC, and Eve Hooper of Polden Hills YFC spoke about their personal experiences of farming during the seasons.

The Reverend Ben Flenley Area Dean, Quantock Deanery delivered a wonderful address, focusing on Brexit, farming and the new agricultural policy.

The procession of harvest gifts to be blessed at the alter was carried out by 14 Young Farmers from across the county, dressed in white coats carrying their produce.

Following the Service, 150 guests of Somerset YFC enjoyed a sumptuous buffet supper in the palatial Bishops Palace.

The sports competitions programme has begun in earnest, starting with a Mixed Netball competition.

Netball is not usually a traditional male sport, but one that the lads have latched onto, especially trying to wrestle a ball off the girls!

Ilminster Young Farmers shooting skills were the most successful.

They are now heading to the area rounds in Weymouth. Joining them at area finals is Wincanton Young Farmers.

The club have retained their place as the victorious county finalists for Rush Hockey.

As the 2nd placed national team last year, they were out to prove they were streets above the competition.

It turned out to be a hard fought title with Farrington Gurney YFC meeting them in the final.

The score line at full time was 2-2. The next golden goal was deemed the winner and thumping the ball into the opposition’s net, Wincanton YFC was declared the winners.

Ilminster YFC was 3rd with Bridgwater YFC also putting in some good hockey skills in the round robin stages. This was one of the most exciting and closely fought hockey competitions in a few years.

County training is playing an important part in the autumn calendar.

Club officer training for all post holders is currently being delivered around the county at group level.

An extremely well supported cash management training module, aimed at all new treasurers saw a 90 per cent uptake by clubs.

This training was delivered with the assistance of NatWest agricultural managers Chris Barrington and Wayne Sugg which helped treasurers plan their year and manage budgets and cash flow.