Drennan Bordon captain Steve Barnett reports back from an enjoyable Angling Trust Winter League Final.
This year’s Angling Trust Winter League Final saw a new and improved structure to the event, with the top two sides from each national winter league division making a Grand Final. A total of 34 four teams of 10 anglers were involved, with five sections at Decoy Lakes in Peterborough and five sections on the Fenland Drains. With this in mind we decided the best option for our team was to split into two groups, with half the team concentrating on the commercial fishery at Decoy and the other half on the Fens, which is some of the best natural fishing that you can get!
On the lead up to the Final the ‘natural side’ managed to get on the opens that Fiz and Stan of Stanjay Tackle ran, plus the March opens that Bob Fitzjohn ran. Both very well organized and with helpful advice. This gave the lads some valuable insights into each of the sections. We also had a couple of lineups just to get used to each section and see where the fish were in each section, as this would be crucial.
Due to the time of year we felt it was best to leave the ‘carp side’ to practice as close to the day as possible, so the lads fished the venue the last four practice days. Again this was a good learning curve, as most of the team had not seen the venue before, let alone fished it!
Both groups had some good results and top sport leading up to the Final. Justin Mabere had a 4th place on the Benwick open from below the wires with 10-14-0. Alex Clements had a 17lb mixed net, which included a nice 5lb bream on one of the practice sessions and showed that big fish would play a big part. Dave Lewis took top spot on the Sunday open at Decoy with 187lb from peg 11 on Yew. Together with numerous section winners it showed that the lads were hopefully on the right track. However, we also knew that come the day the draw would play a major part, along with the wind!
The day of the final. Andy Quarmby, Shaun Barnett, Gavin Millis, Dave Lewis and Anthony Flint were selected for Decoy. Brett Cooper, Andy Gregory, Alex Clements, Mick Ellyatt and myself on the Fens. Having gone through the pegs we were happy with the draw. A mixed bag is probably best to describe it but no major bad pegs, which was a good start!
Decoy saw Andy on peg 13 on Six Islands and Gavin on Yew 21 which were good pegs plus couple of ok pegs. However, Dave was on a poor peg on Beastie 28. Plus we had two good draws on the Fens, with Alex end peg at Factory Bank and myself the right side of the split section on the Twenty Foot Drain. The other three pegs were nothing special.
A Captain’s Innings
My own match saw me on a good peg, E4 on the Twenty Foot, which was the right side of the bridge. I have to say it didn’t go straight to plan! Not being ready at the off for any match is not good, let alone a Final! Coupled with a mishap slipping up and breaking a No4 section just before the very start doesn’t put you in a right frame of mind!
Anyhow, having settled down to a nice rhythm on the whip and putting a string of roach together calm was restored. Alternating this plus another line at seven sections and a chopped worm swim kept the fish coming. This was cemented with a nice tench with an hour and half of the match to go! My total weight of 7.31kg was enough for a section win and surprisingly 2nd overall on the Fens. Happy days!
We had a mixed set of results that saw Andy 4th, Gavin 4th and Dave did amazingly well with a 5th from his poor peg. Pretty steady on the Fens with Alex and Brett recording 7th, Andy 10th along with my 1st place. Anthony and Shaun at Decoy and Mick on the Fens didn’t fair so well. This gave the team a total of 81 points and a respectable 10th place finish out of 34 teams. However, with the points so tight, we all felt a top-four finish was certainly possibly on the day.
A massive well done to Ossett on becoming Winter League Champions with an impresive 45 penalty points. Well done lads!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Drennan for their continued support which is invaluable. A big thank you has to go to Lee Kerry and the Angling Trust staff for organizing the event. Lee I take my hat off to you, I don’t know how you can run the match and fish it!
Also thanks to Ian Snook for running our Avon Valley division. The help and information that we received from Rob Hewison, Mark Pollard, Roy Whincup and Dale Stone was also very much appreciated.
Last but not least I personally would like to thank everyone of our squad at Drennan Bordon, not just for the work that you all put into the Final, but in getting there in the first place! Brilliant effort lads. Roll on next year. Can’t wait!
1st 45 points – Ossett – 170kg 33g
2nd 56 points – Diawa Dorking – 116kg 166g
3rd 58 points – Maver Midlands – 130kg 425g
4th 70 points – Drennan North West – 120kg 292g
5th 73 points – Drennan Barnsley Blacks – 109kg 790g
6th 75 points – Preston Innovations Black Horse – 87kg 472g
7th 76 points – Matrix Leigh Tackle – 98kg 289g
8th 77 points – Arun Angling – 83kg 650g
9th 81 points – Saints – 93kg 14g
10th 81 points – Drennan Bordon – 91kg 606g
11th 83 points – Woodlands Colmic – 108kg 70g
12th 83 points – Frenzee South West – 102kg 300g
13th 83 points – Maver Image – 85kg 920g
14th 83 points – Drennan Oxford – 82kg 850g
15th 85 points – Scunthorpe Tackle – 89kg 748g
16th 87 points – Mosella Quaker – 106kg 730g
17th 87 points – Browning Hotrods – 84kg 600g
18th 90 points – Maver Bathampton – 74kg 830g
19th 91 points – Shakespeare Superteam – 72kg 570g
20th 92 points – Kamasan Starlets – 88kg 65g
21st 93 points – Maver Old Ghost – 100kg 135g
22nd 94 points – Ted Carter Southport – 65kg 596g
23rd 94 points – Sensas South East – 64kg 111g
24th 97 points – Quorn AS – 75kg 195g
25th 97 points – Devizes MG – 66kg 140g
26th 99 points – Sensas Black Country – 78kg 933g
27th 100 points – Preston Innovations Delcac – 137kg 33g
28th 102 points – Lincs Tidechasers – 84kg 817g
29th 109 points – Preston Innovations Thatchers – 58kg 860g
30th 113 points – Ted Carter Preston – 58kg 206g
31st 115 points – Maver/Colemans Match Pack – 48kg 804g
32nd 118 points – Sensas A4 – 51kg 520g
33rd 127 points – Team Lobby – 59kg 155g
34th 136 points – Garbolino RAF – 39kg 711g