Avon Valley Winter League Champions

Drennan Bordon have just been crowned Avon Valley Winter League Champions. Here’s team captain Steve Barnett’s account of a very successful six-match series.


After coming runners up last season to Arun Angling, our Drennan Bordon team were determined to put things right this time around. The first match of the series was on Broadlands Fishery in Romsey. It was split between three sections on the match lake and seven sections on the main lake. With this in mind we organised several team practices. It became very apparent that the large head of bream and skimmers would play a major part on the main lake, though it came down to targeting them in the right areas. The match lake was clear and extremely hard in areas with pockets of carp, bream and skimmers.

Come the round, the lads didn’t disappoint, only dropping eight points on the main lake, with Anthony Flint leading the way with over 80lb of bream and skimmers on the feeder. Along with section wins from Peter Kay, Matt Barnett plus Andy Quarmby on the match lake it was job done and off to a good start!

anthony-flint-broadlands-1The next two rounds were back to back on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bedwyn. End pegs and feature pegs are definitely worth a few bonus fish on this venue, so we were hoping the draw would be kind to us. Our secret weapon in drawbag vice captain Nick Jones didn’t disappoint on Round 2, placing himself on the wires at Little Bedwyn. Nick came up trumps, winning his section with 6lb 14oz, astonishingly tying for sixth place along with team mates, Brett Cooper and Mick Eyllatt, who also won their sections. On the team front we did very well, winning the round with an impressive 67 out of 80 points.

brett-drennan-bordonBack on the K&A for Round 3 the weather had changed for the worst and with cold nights and an easterly wind this could have been a right banana skin. Even more so after our normally consistent drawing machine Nick let us down with a very average set of pegs! Not having any noted feature pegs it was just a matter of heads down lads and just put fish in the net. I thought we would do well to get a top-three finish, so was surprised when the results started to come in and a total of 60 points saw us win on the day. It was a very solid team performance with section wins from Peter Kay, Brett Cooper and Mick Ellyatt. Mick also took 3rd individually with 5lb 12oz of small fish, so not a bad day.

The Wey Navigation was our destination for Round 4 and the practice open the week before fished very patchy. The open match showed us where the good areas were and, even more importantly, where there were less fish. With this in mind we were able to pinpoint where to attack and also where to cut back and be negative. We also tried different mixes, which really helped the following week.

After the first proper frost we knew this was going to be a tough one. The previous week’s session really paid off as we recorded section wins from Andy Gregory, Matt Barnett and myself, plus in form Mick Eyllatt who made 4th individual spot with 5lb 3oz. Individual winner on the day was Brett Cooper with an excellent 11lb net of roach. This helped the team win with 64 points.

dave-lewis-bordonDespite winning four on the bounce we were not taking anything for granted with the last two rounds on the Basingstoke Canal, where anything could happen. After a practice open the phrase feast or famine sprang to mind! Our Welsh wizard Dave Lewis came out on top in the open with an impressive 19lb 4oz, which was made up of 11lb of roach plus four big perch. Peter Kay and Anthony Flint also framed but we also had some right gruellers.

We had a right mixed bag on Round 5 and despite having individual winner Andy Gregory with a cracking 21lb net of skimmers, roach and big perch and Matt Barnett also taking his section, our 49-point total was just 4th on the day. However, we did have the consolation of still securing our place in the Winter League Final with one round to spare.

So, safe in the knowledge that we were in the big Final, we wanted to go out with a bang on the last round. The lads didn’t disappoint and won the sixth and final round with 59 points, becoming Avon Valley Winter League Champions in style.

andy-quarmby-bordonVice captain Andy Quarmby took top individual spot with a net of skimmers and a bonus tench for 24lb 12oz. Andy Gregory also came up trumps with a 6lb 1oz section win, while Brett Cooper won his section with just 4oz – proving how difficult the Basy really is! A massive well done to Brett for also becoming the top individual champion with 43 points out of 48.

I must take this opportunity to thank all the lads in the Bordon team for all their hard work and effort practicing for this Winter League campaign. A massive thank you also to our team sponsor Drennan for its continued support, which the whole squad is grateful for. Last but not least Ian Snook and his helpers for the thankless task of running the league.

Next stop, the Winter League Final, which is once again on the Fenland Drains and Decoy Lakes. We shall be up against the cream of English match teams, but we are already looking forward to it and shall give it our best shot!