Team Ossett staked a claim to be Yorkshire’s top match team with a convincing win in the 2015/16 Angling Trust Winter League Final at the weekend.
Ossett’s 45-point total saw them finish 11 points in front of runners-up Daiwa Dorking, with Maver Midlands third on 58.
Fished for the first time on two very different types of water – the silverfish-dominated Fen drains and carp-filled Decoy Lakes in Cambridgeshire – the match was a true test of the 34 competing teams’ versatility, a quality shown by Ossett in spades after triumphing on both waters.
With a biting easterly wind contributing to a tough day for some, Ossett clinched the £3,000 top prize after practice sessions on both the drains and Decoy gave them an insight into the waters’ moods.
The team’s captain, silverfish expert John Ibbotson, also revealed how he left the team plan for Decoy to former Barnsley Blacks man Steve Barraclough, allowing him to concentrate on the drains.
“With five of the 10 anglers on the drains and five on Decoy, we soon decided who would be on which venue, which allowed us to practice properly,” said John, who finished second in his section at Benwick with 2.920kg. “I looked after the drains and I left Steve to sort Decoy and, thankfully, both our plans worked.
“On the drains we fed two lines with groundbait, one positively with balls containing a lot of pinkies, and one negatively with hardly any feed in the balls. We then started on the positive line and caught a few roach quickly, but we found that this line would die at some point.
“That’s when we switched to the negative line, which wasn’t as quick, be we found we could keep fish coming in bursts for the rest of the match.
“Punch also came into our plans on a couple of sections on the Old Nene at March, while a few of the lads had some bonus perch on a chopped worm line. But roach definitely won it for us on the drains.”
Over at Decoy, Steve Barraclough explained how an ‘easy-does-it’ strategy led to another venue win.
“While most teams started on the long pole, we started much closer at 5-6m, feeding only a tiny pinch of micro pellets and fishing maggots over the top,” he said. “We fed nothing else, but we kept an eye on the anglers around us, who tended to feed a lot more. If they started to catch well, we could always up our feed. It soon became clear that it was going to be a tough day for many, and because we started close, we could move around our swims more, fishing further out and in different places as the fish moved around. Those teams who had started long had nowhere to go and were soon struggling. We also had a ‘throw-away’ close-in maggot swim that we fed quite heavily, and that worked for a couple of the lads.
“We fished really light – something we do a lot on carp lakes up here – with 0.10-0.12mm lines and size 18 hooks. We won it on the hard pegs. The good ones take care of themselves, but we did really well in the tougher areas.”
Ossett are no strangers to big-match wins, with a recent record to match that of arch rivals Drennan Barnsley Blacks.
“We have beaten Barnsley in our Winter League Division in the last two years, we’ve won the Division 1 National twice, and in Lee Saville we had the World Club Individual champion several years ago,” said John. “I know my team, and they are amazing. Not only have they the commitment to practice, but they also know how to work a swim on the day and how to feed according to the bites that they’re getting. I’m proud of them!”
Runners-up were regular Winter League champions Daiwa Dorking, who kept up their remarkable record in the event with a strong team card giving them 56 points. There wasn’t such good news for fancied Drennan Barnsley Blacks, though, in 5th, and for Kamasan Starlets, who finished a disastrous 20th.
Team result: 1 Team Ossett 45pts (170.330 kg); 2 Daiwa Dorking, 56 (116.166 kg); 3 Maver Midland, 58, (130.425kg); 4 Drennan North West, 70 (120.292kg); 5 Drennan Barnsley Black, 73 (109.790kg); 6 Preston Innovations Black Horse, 75 (87.472 kg); 7 Matrix Leigh Tackle, 76 (98.289)kg; 8 Arun Angling, 77, (83.650kg); 9 Saints, 81 (93.140kg); 10 Drennan Bordon, 81 (91.606kg); 11 Woodlands Colmic, 83 (108.700kg); 12 Frenzee South West, 83 (102.300kg); 13 Maver Image, 83 (85.920kg); 14 Drennan Oxford, 83 (82.850kg); 15 Scunthorpe Tackle, 85 (89.748kg); 16 Mosella Quaker, 87 (106.730kg); 17 Browning Hotrods, 87 (84.600kg); 18 Maver Bathampton, 90 (74.830kg); 19 Shakespeare Superteam, 91 (72.570kg); 20 Kamasan Starlets, 92 (88.650kg); 21 Maver Old Ghost, 93 (100.135kg); 22 Ted Carter Southport, 94 (65.596kg); 23 Sensas South East, 94 (64.111kg); 24 Quorn AS, 97 (75.195kg); 25 Devizes MG, 97 (66.140kg); 26 Sensas Black Country, 99 (78.933kg); 27 Preston Innovations Delcac, 100 (137.330kg); 28 Lincs Tidechasers, 102 (84.817kg); 29 Preston Innovations Thatchers, 109 (58.860kg); 30 Ted Carter Preston, 113 (58.206kg); 31 Maver/Colemans Match Pack, 115 (48.804kg); 32 Sensas A4, 118 (51.520kg); 33 Team Lobby, 127 (59.155kg); 34 Garbolino RAF, 136 (39.711kg).