Lavelle takes individual honours at this year's Angling Times Team Championships

If the team result had quite a margin of victory at the Angling Times Team Championships final, the individual race was a whole lot closer with just 1lb 13oz separating first place from sixth, with former England Youth international Kev Lavelle winning with a 13-8-0 roach haul to keep Dorking star William Raison at bay in second some 8oz behind.

Behind them another man with international experience, Sean Ashby, came in third on 12-12-0, followed by Hot Rods’ Steve Welford with 12-10-0 of hemp roach, while Starlets pairing Kian Wardle and Scott Geens completed the frame with joint fifth on 11-11-0 each.

To kick off his peg at Railworld, peg 570 jut 12 away from William, Saints team man Kevin followed his team plan and balled-in 15 balls of groundbait filled with caster and joker at 13m, also feeding hemp at 6m for later on in the match when the expected quality roach in the area would show.

“I started on the 13m line and stayed on it for about an hour-and-a-half catching around 2lb of small fish,” Kev explained. “This was made up of small perch and roach on single and double bloodworm fished on a 1.5g rig with an 0.08mm hooklength and a size 18 hook. When the bites slowed down, I swapped to the hemp line and caught straight away with roach up to 10oz fishing a lighter 0.6g rig with the same lines and hook.”

Unfortunately, this didn’t last and Kev had to switch swims several times during the match to keep the fish coming, with a few pike also causing trouble close in, hooking fish several times and only getting a few back! While out on his 13m line Kev continued to feed the hemp swim, and when he felt that the fish had returned and started to feed confidently he had a look back over it.

After European Champs silver last weekend, William Raison picked up another big-match second place seven days later as the Daiwa Dorking ace tipped back 13-0-0 to finish as runner-up on the Nene, enjoying a great second half of the match, catching big roach from peg 582 on the Railworld section.

A slow start saw the 2008 world champ with a handful of small fish in the net after 90 minutes, but then the better fish started to show on his 12.5m line as roach to 10oz, plus a bonus 2lb perch, helped his cause no end and he finished just one better fish off catching winner Kev Lavelle.

“I knew the area I was in had produced quality fish in practice, so I felt that I didn’t need to get loads of bites,” William explained. “There wasn’t much doing until an hour-and-a-half in, but after that I began to pick off better roach between 6oz and 10oz on triple bloodworm, finishing with around 60 roach and that perch – so you can see the stamp of fish they were.”

Balling -in Sensas Gros Gardons with 300ml of joker and 300ml of hemp on to the long line in almost 11ft of water, William fished a 1g Sensas Jean Francois float to 0.10 mainline, an 0.08mm hooklength and a size 20 hook, topping up with soil containing lots of joker as well as constantly flicking in a few grains of hemp.

“I did try hemp but missed a few bites on it and I felt it wasn’t really happening,” he explained. “With the hammer the river has taken in practice I think the fish were a little bit fed up of the stuff and preferred the bloodworm instead. I still didn’t think I had 13lb though – the fish really did weigh heavy!”

Individual result

1 K Lavelle, Saints, 13-8-0
2 W Raison, Daiwa Dorking, 13-0-0
3 S Ashby, Kamasan Starlets, 12-15-0
4 S Welford, Browning Hot Rods, 12-10-0
jt5 K Wardle and S Geens, both Kamasan Starlets, both 11-11-0