South Yorkshire are the inaugural County Champs kings after beating off the challenge of 43 other counties at Barston and Packington to pocket the £10,000 winner takes all prize and be the undisputed top match fishing country in the United Kingdom!
The five man team of Andy Kinder, Daz Oldham, Jamie Masson, Paul McIntyre and Nick Speed returned a final points tally of 47 to take victory by 10 points from the Northamptonshire outfit spearheaded by the Ringer brothers, the collective might of Wales completing the top three with 60 points as the competition was heralded a resounding success.
All but three of the eligible team assembled at Barston for the draw only to find a hard overnight frost awaiting them and that got many tongues wagging as to how much of an effect the cold would have on both fisheries but for the winning Yorkshiremen they took it all in their stride, altering their approach only slightly to take them to victory.
“When a team comes together in this fashion you might not know or be confident in the abilities of some of the lads but we were lucky in that we all know each other and all know we’re good anglers that will do the job well,” said skipper Andy Kinder. “We said as soon as we’d qualified at Lindholme that we would have to fish as a team to try and win it as there was no money for second place so we fished with the intention of winning it and nothing else and that meant putting in practice and getting everything sorted out.”
Andy went to Barston with Paul McIntyre for an open match ahead of the final and the two men finished first and second while at Packington where so many different lakes were in use, South Yorkshire always knew getting the best of the place would be difficult.
“We got a bit of help from a few mates that fish there and we made sure we placed certain lads on certain lakes with fishing that would suit them,” Andy continued. “For example Jamie went on Little Geary’s, which is his type of fishing for F1s and small carp while I volunteered for Molands, which was going to be the hardest lake by far but we knew it would be a case of scratching about for a few fish on worm and caster, almost like a winter league match and that’s ideal for me while Daz Oldham went on the three lake section as we felt with the low weights needed and mix of fish, it’d be like fishing Hallcroft, which is Daz’s home water.”
After the draw the team went away happy with Daz on an end peg, Paul in a good area on Barston and Andy drawing on the fancied point on Molands but with the frost in the back of their minds, the watch word was to go carefully with the feed, take your time and feel your way into the peg.
“We felt that the Method would be the main approach on Barston and Paul finished fourth in his 44 peg section catching all of his fish on it but at Packington it was the complete opposite with polefishing small baits like maggot, chopped worm and caster with a bit of pellet,” Andy added. “We never set a target weight because we felt it’d be hard and as long as we were keeping a few fish coming, that’d be good. Basically we went to the peg and fished it as best we could, catching what we could, even if they were roach. We’re all good anglers and we all know how to catch fish!”
Joining up after the match back at Barston, Andy quickly totted up the scores for Packington, the final tally being an incredible 7 from a possible 132! Coupled with Paul’s four points from Barston’s golf course bank, the team felt they were in with a great shot at winning. Nick Speed though was admitting to 40 points after a tough day on the river bank at Barston and to Andy and the rest of the lads that felt like a kick in the teeth. Would they have enough to win?
“Honestly, I thought we’d blown it and thought Northamptonshire would beat us,” Andy admitted. “I spoke to Adam Rooney and said his side had won it but he said no, you have! We were all unsure up until the result was read out and we went absolutely mental when we were called out as winners. It’s been a great competition and I can only see it getting better.”
How the champions scored: A section – Nick Speed – 6-14-0 – Barston Lakes peg 30 – 36 points; B section – Paul McIntyre - 34-14-0 - Barston Lakes peg 122 – 4 points; C section – Andy Kinder – 17-9-0 - Moland’s Mere Pool peg 47 – 3 points; D section – Jamie Masson – 29-5-0 – Little Geary’s Pool peg 5 - 3 points; E section – Daz Oldham – 34-2-0 – Gratuities Pool peg 1 – 1 point;
Team result: 1 South Yorkshire, 47; 2 Northamptonshire, 57; 3 Wales, 60; jt4 Surrey, 68; jt4 Hertfordshire, 68; 6 Warwickshire, 71; 7 Merseyside, 72; 8 Hampshire, 83; 9 County Durham, 91; 10 Buckinghamshire, 88; 11 Sussex, 89; 12 London, 90; 13 Berkshire, 91; 14 Oxfordshire, 93; jt15 Lancashire, Kent, and Middlesex, all 95; jt18 West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, both 97; 20 Lincolnshire, 98; 21 Essex, 100; 22 Leicestershire, 103; 23 Cheshire, 113; 24 Derbyshire, 114; 25 Gloucestershire, 115; jt26 Somerset, and Worcestershire, both 116; 28 Staffordshire, 121; 29 Avon, 122; 30 West Midlands, 124; 31 North Yorkshire, 125; 32 Manchester, 126; 33 East Yorkshire, 131; 34 Cambridgeshire, 134; 35 Devon, 135; jt36 Suffolk and Norfolk, both 141; 38 Cleveland, 150; jt39 Shropshire andTyne & Wear, both 152; 41 Cornwall, 154; 42 Bedfordshire, 155; 43 Wiltshire, 170; 44 Herefordshire, 191.