Drennan Barnsley Blacks win Division 1 National by a point

Angling Trust Division One National 2014
River Trent, middle & tidal sections (42 teams)

Plenty of teams have gone into a National as favourites but few come away with the silverware – not Drennan Barnsley Blacks though, who were the overwhelming top pick to win this year’s match on the Trent but in the end it came down a lost fish here and a small gudgeon caught there to give the South Yorkshire side the title by just a point from last year’s winners Shakespeare Superteam.

Scoring 336 points, Barnsley just edged out the West Midlands side with Daiwa Dorking taking the bronze medal on 316 points and as the results were read out, there was an almighty roar from Barnsley as not only did the win mean the title, to go with the Winter League crown won a few weeks earlier but it also gives them another shot at the big event that has eluded them for many years – the World Club Championships.

Having spent the past few weeks practicing intensely on the river, Barnsley had worked out what was a big fish draw and what wasn’t and with pegs in hand, skipper Glenn Lawrence and his boys sat down and soon realised the day would be a small fish one with feeder rods in search of bream and barbel only set up as a last resort.

“The river has been low and clear for a long time now and big fish unreliable,” Glenn explained. “We didn’t get any real fliers and with the bright sunshine, we agreed that it’d be a roach match fishing the float. Going into a match as favourites can be a real danger as you can almost know too much about the river and get carried away with your bread and butter point scoring. We were well aware of this and knuckled down to catch small fish, keeping something going into the net and returning with as big a weight as the peg was worth.”

Strong winds would rule out the pole for much of the team and they fell back on the waggler, making full use of the space between pegs to attack their swims with up to five pints of loosefed maggots and with an explosion of small dace in the river, Barnsley were sure of good catches, even on the harder tidal sections.

“The tide was running off all day and that always means a float match on there,” Glenn revealed. “Our scores weren’t quite as good on these sections as they were on the middle reaches but as long as we didn’t have a horrendous blow out here, we felt we could absorb a high 20 point score with good results elsewhere. When lads are coming back with 7, 9 and 10 kilo weights, you know you’re in with a great shout of winning.”

Star turns of the champions were Ian Bowman with a section win in C section, thirds from Simon Fields in E and James Dent in B sections and a fourth from Mick Vials in A section and with six of the ten anglers finishing in the top ten of their sections, Barnsley could have been forgiven for thinking that their win would have been more resounding than it was!

Shakespeare were left huddled around after the presentation studying the results and seeing where it all went wrong but losing by just a point, there wasn’t really a finger of blame to point anywhere and captain Tony Barker was philosophical in defeat, putting to down to one of those things and how team match fishing can be.
“It really is one of those things and I don’t think we’ll beat ourselves up about it,” he said. “We’ve lost to the favourites, who are a brilliant team but of course we fancied it this morning as we’ve got just as good a river team but being local to the river, I looked at our pegs and felt we’d have to pull out a superb result to win as the draw wasn’t screaming out at me.”

“We knew the pegs well, knew the methods that were needed but much would depend on the strong wind blowing down the river and how that would hamper fishing the pole or float,” he continued. “For some it was a day fishing for bream, for some roach and others catching what was there – I caught 4 kilos of gudgeon for example so it was never going to be a one method one species match as the Trent is too varied for that.”

Top performers for Shakespeare were Steve Williams with third in A section, James Robbins with the same score in J section and Spig Powlowski who won a strong F section featuring the likes of Darren Cox and William Raison.

Team result: 1 Drennan Barnsley Blacks, 336pts; 2 Shakespeare Superteam, 335; 3 Daiwa Dorking, 316; 4 Kamasan Starlets, 276; 5 Daiwa Dons, 269 (weight); 6 Maver Image, 269 (weight); 7 Maver Bathampton, 269; 8 Lincs County, 263; 9 Preston Innovations Thatcher’s, 262; 10 Daiwa Gordon League, 257.

While conditions weren’t ideal for big nets of bream and barbel, there were areas where a few showed to produce the leading individual weights and while the tidal sections had largely been written off beforehand, it was one of these at Besthorpe which saw Phil Wintle earn his place in the record books with an 18-000 net of bream.

Drawing peg 33 in H section, the Maver Milton Keynes man added this title to the Division Three crown he win way back in 1988 on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, netting nine bream and a few skimmers on groundbait feeder tactics to finish a couple of kilos clear of runner-up Andy Anderson on 15-840 from B section.

“I hadn’t been up and practiced so the peg meant little to me but we’d gone with the plan of fishing for bream or barbel to begin with and seeing how it went,” said the 55-year-old from Northampton. “I saw a bream top before the start so was confident a few were about and within the first half an hour I’d caught two fish around 4lb apiece so that made up my mind to keep at it!”

Using a 3oz groundbait feeder packed with chopped worm, casters and micro pellets, Phil swapped between live and dead red maggots or two small worms on the hook, casting to midriver using a size 14 hook Tubertini Series 18, 6lb Maxima mainline and an 0.16mm hooklength, leaving the feeder in the swim for around five minutes at a time to ensure a good stream of bait was going into the peg.

“Even though the sun was out and the water was crystal clear, the fishing actually get better as the match went on and the only real problem I had was that the flow was strongest right in front of me so once I got a fish to within netting range, it was hard work to get them that final few yards,” he explained. “I broke two landing net handles in the process!”

Line bites and indications were numerous but when a bite came, it wasn’t hard to spot but what Phil wasn’t to know was that two fish for around 5 kilos in the last 15 minutes of the match effectively sealed the win.

Individual result: 1 P Wintle, Maver Milton Keynes, 18-000; 2 A Anderson, Clay Lane AC, 15-840; 3 I Pauley, Preston Innovations Thatcher’s, 15-130; 4 G Welton, Garbolino RAF, 14-380; 5 B Gibson, Sensas Mark One, 12-900; 6 M Harper, Preston Innovations Thatcher’s, 12-850.

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