Daiwa Gordon League celebrate after winning Kennet and Avon Canal Team Champs semi final

Daiwa Gordon League put their money where captain Mark Treasure’s mouth was to win this second semi final and make good Mark’s irritation in a recent magazine article about his talented South West team not getting the recognition they deserve.

Fishing against some fine canal teams, Gordon League finished with their noses just in front of a crazy three-way tie on points for second, third and fourth, eventually decided on section countback and putting Drennan Oxford/GOT Baits, Kamasan Starlets and Garbolino Blackmore Vale MG through to the final.

Despite carrying a last in section and having to replace an angler at the 11th hour, Gordon League posted 51 points on a canal hit hard by overnight frosts that reached -6ºC in the countryside sections, conditions that made the event more of a bloodworm and joker than the hoped-for breadpunch match.

“I wrote recently that I felt we didn’t get the recognition we deserved compared to the likes of Starlets, so hopefully this result will help change that,” Mark explained.

“We always do well on this canal and we didn’t see why this match should be any different.”

Carrying a blend of youth and experience, Gordon League fished positively given the moods of the venue, kicking off with breadpunch but also including some joker here to give them two possible baits to catch on in 3ft of water where other teams stuck to just the bread.

“We also very much had one eye on big fish,” Mark continued. “Last year showed us the potential for the canal in terms of perch and skimmers and three of the lads were going into the last two hours of the match in trouble needing a bonus to get them out of it and they did just that ¬ that’s where the experience in not losing your head and keeping the job in hand at the front of your mind really comes in.”

Just like Gordon League, runners-up Drennan Oxford/GOT Baits also fancied their chances of doing a bit of damage and got the nod thanks to more section thirds following that tie on 53 points, skipper Martin Phipps explaining that his team were fishing well, were decent on canals with good knowledge of worm and joker fishing. Why shouldn’t they qualify?

“We were happy with the cold weather in the run-up to the match because we knew this would make breadpunch a less important bait and bring bloodworm to the fore,” Martin said. “We simply fished it on three lines on the long pole in 3ft of water, fishing in front and at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock in the swim feeding a 250ml pot of joker in molehill soil as a binder. We all agreed that we would try not to top up unless the peg was absolutely dead.”

That might have been taking a bit of a gamble with no real contingency plan for big fish in the Drennan locker, but they always felt that they could catch enough fish to get the job done on bloodworm and they did ¬ but in the tightest of finishes imaginable.

Team result (top four qualify)

1 Daiwa Gordon League, 51pts
2 Drennan Oxford/GOT Baits, 53 (section countback)
3 Kamasan Starlets, 53 (section countback)
4 Garbolino Blackmore Vale MG, 53
5 Milo Bordon Angling, 55
6 Fox Match Black Horse, 59
7 Maver Image Van Den Eynde, 61
8 Sensas Bathampton Avon Aquatics, 63
9 Passies White, 66
10 Fox Match Arun, 74
11 Browning Crowsports, 75