The decade-long Team Champs stranglehold by matchfishing’s big four has been broken following Shakespeare Superteam’s comprehensive win on the River Nene this weekend.
Not since Daiwa Trentmen in 1999 has a team outside of Dorking, Barnsley,
Starlets and the now defunct Essex County lifted the silverware, but all that has changed with the West Midlands team’s result, their 31 points finishing 16 clear of Barnsley with Starlets third in a gin-clear river hit by weed.
That saw difficult fishing and when fish could be found, they were tiny roach and bleak that hardly registered at the scales. This was reflected in the individual weights where Shakespeare made it a double with Jon Arthur’s all-roach
15-7-0 topping the shop as the famed bream went AWOL.
However, given Shakespeare’s strengths, the result probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The team are famous for their river prowess and a very competent bloodworm and joker side, stronger still on tricky clear rivers where tiny fish are the target. Add that to a string of final appearances on the Nene in recent years and you’ve got the right mix for a championship-winning team.
“This win wasn’t really expected, but I’ll admit we had a good draw with people the right end of sections,” said vice-captain Paul Bick.
“We’re a bloodworm team and we know how to fish this sort of venue, but in the two practices on here we hadn’t set the place alight. This is a win for fishing to your strengths rather than copying what others are doing.”
While some teams may have gone easy on the feed, fearing a disaster on a tough river, Shakespeare did the opposite with an attacking policy involving regular topping up to encourage the better roach on the feed.
That gave them four section wins in their ranks, with only one angler finishing outside the top four in their sections.