The star-studded Daiwa Dorking added yet another title to their overflowing trophy cabinet as they claimed a resounding win in the Angling Trust Division 1 National.
Bright sunshine and high temperatures provided tricky conditions for the 44 teams competing on the Gloucester Canal, but the champions once again showed their skill and ended up recording a 354-point total, which was over 50 points better than the nearest chasers.
Team members referred to their draw as only ‘average’, but they turned on the style from the off, and all but one member of the squad – which included stars such as William Raison, Michael Buchwalder and Simon Willsmore - managed to come in the top 10 of their 44-peg sections.
Over two months of practice had helped them come up with what proved to be an unbeatable plan, and Dorking ace Des Shipp told Angling Times: “It is a phenomenal feeling to once again win the Division 1 National. We’ve put in a lot of effort to make sure we got our hands on the trophy, and it is all the sweeter when you consider the high calibre of opponents we had to fish against.
“The boiling-hot conditions on the day made the venue fish differently to what we had seen in practice, with a lot more colour in the water than we’d previously seen.
“We made a plan which relied upon starting on the feeder for a bonus fish or two, and then finding 10ft of water on the pole line and fishing for everything that fed.
“It was an attack that was based around putting fish in the net on a regular basis, and the result shows that we definitely made the right decision.”
Team-mate Ian Didcote lives only a stone’s throw from the venue and played a key part in putting together the winning formula, and he revealed that they were almost forced to fish with nine anglers instead of 10.
“Lee Edwards’s other half is due to have a baby any day now and it was touch and go as to whether he would be able to compete,” Ian said. “Thankfully, he was able to play his part, otherwise we had no stand in and we’d have been a man light. Our plan has worked a treat, and to win against such a talented field is a fantastic feeling.”
With the likes of Drennan Barnsley Blacks, Shakespeare Superteam and Kamasan Starlets also taking part, it was anyone’s guess who would secure the runners-up slot, but many were left surprised as Maver Image racked up a 298-point tally to bag the spot.
Captain Steve Clark was delighted at the result, but wasn’t as shocked at their achievement as others might have been. He said: “We’ve finished second on four occasions in recent years, and we have, once again, done ourselves proud.”
“With the likes of Simon Colclough and Pete Vasey in the squad we always knew we had the quality to match up with the best in the business. We’ve had no practice and worked on the basic information that we had to work out a plan.”
“We fed a 10m line with balls of groundbait packed with worms, casters and dead pinkies and kept fish going into the net and picked up an odd bonus along the way.”
Drennan Barnsley Blacks put up a brave fight to defend the title which they won on the River Trent in 2014, but managed to console themselves with the final place on the podium and a bronze medal.
Planning has already got underway for next year’s contest, and Angling Trust staff revealed at the presentation that the Tidal Trent would be the host for the 2016 effort on August 20.
The Division 2 National is likely to be run on the Fazeley Canal in Birmingham, although the deal is yet to be signed off.
Team result: 1 Daiwa Dorking, 354pts; 2 Maver Image, 298;
3 Drennan Barnsley Blacks, 291; 4 Kamasan Starlets, 287;
5 Shakespeare Superteam, 281; 6 Ted Carter Preston, 279;
7 Garbolino Blackmore Vale MG, 273; 8 Browning Hot Rods, 272; 9 Sensas Mark One, 265; 10 Bridgnorth AS, 258.