Rule breach costs matchman a £1,500 payout

A top match angler lost out on a £1,500 prize after being disqualified for rule breaking.

Daiwa and Guru angler Andy Bennett was competing in the five day festival at Staffordshire’s Heronbrook Fisheries and accumulated a brace of section wins in the first two days.

His form continued into day three when he bagged 277lb from peg 7 on Match Lake but controversy struck when bosses accused him of cheating.

Before the tournament had begun owner Neil Dale told entrants that cutting back any vegetation was forbidden. “I made it clear this would not be tolerated and I caught Andy trimming reeds in his swim,” he said. “Every peg is fishable and anyone caught cheating will have their result from that match wiped off.”

Despite the incident, Andy fished the two final days and bagged zonal victories in each. The disqualification, however, meant he dropped down the leaderboard and missed out on overall glory.

“I was outside when it was announced that cutting swims was banned and although I admit I tried to do it, I never actually removed anything from my swim,” explained Andy, who was adamant he was treated harshly.

“All my fish were caught on the long pole and I didn’t catch a single fish in the margins. I’ve blatantly been robbed of the victory,” he added.