It’s the greatest match team ever!

Could this be the greatest match team ever assembled?

Angling Times readers have voted in their thousands over the last few weeks to compile a shortlist of the best competition anglers in the UK, with the crack outfit set to take on the specimen community in a battle to determine just who are the UK’s best anglers.

Top of the pile was reigning world champ Will Raison with 16 per cent of the total, but hot on his heels was AT columnist Steve Ringer and five times world champ Alan Scotthorne in third. Also making the team of six is Bob Nudd, Darren Cox and Tommy Pickering.

It is a mouth-watering line-up which will descend on Solihull’s Barston Lakes next month for a 10-hour contest to ultimately decide which discipline of the sport houses the best anglers – match or specimen.

The carp angling side of six is to be hand-picked by Rob Hughes after a trial involving 10 to 12 invited anglers.

“I’m expecting a very good match, and am currently looking at some of the best competition carp anglers, including Andy and Tom Maker, Bryan Jarrett, Billy Flowers and Jamie Londers. The British Carp Angling Champion of Champions competition was held at Barston last week and the winners Andy Maker and Kevin Reynolds caught 1,204lb 10oz of carp in 48 hours. That’s roughly 250lb in 10 hours, so the match lads better get their skates on!” joked Rob.

“If it fishes well, the speci boys won’t have a prayer!” taunted Will Raison. “Hopefully, it will be a level playing field as you cannot have a carp angler fishing two rods when you’ve only got one in next door, or you’re on the pole. There might be a big weight around the fountain area of the lake, but Barston is not noted for its large stocks of carp and in that Champion of Champions competition, some anglers only averaged 6lb per hour. There’s 50 to 70lb of mixed fish to be caught on the pole in five hours alone for each of the match team,” he added.

Specimen versus match angler head-to-heads are not a new concept. In 1953, Dick Walker famously took on Tom Sails. Nearly 40 years later, England team manager Dick Clegg fished against all-rounder John Wilson, and two years ago UKCarp magazine editor Steve Broad locked horns with commercial carp man Alex Bones.

In each instance, the outcome has been the same with the specimen angler emerging victorious so this time the match anglers have a definite score to settle...

Votes cast at have been joined with those taken over the phone and by post.