Team Selection Final - 2012

After approximately 12 months since their last opportunity, all the hopefuls for this years team selection final descended upon Peterborough for the weekend of Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September. The ultimate prize being a place in the team to represent Great Britain on home soil against our Irish counterparts the Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs (IFPAC) in 2013.

Some anglers arrived at our chosen base The Bull Hotel as early as the Wednesday afternoon prior to the event, keen to give themselves the opportunity of extra practice and relaxation following a long journey. Unfortunately, team regulars Paul Danby, Gary Edwards and John Currie were all unable to attend for the weekend, so this potentially looked like being a wide open contest, but with plenty of decent anglers registered it would be interesting to see who made the final cut come Sunday afternoon.

Issues with weed on some of the chosen match waters meant that local stewards Stuart Parker and Wayne Gorringe had been doing a sterling job and regularly monitoring the situation for some weeks.

Team Selection Final Day 1 - Saturday 8th September

Having been up early for breakfast, the scale accuracy checks finally finished and more new arrivals in place, everyone headed to Boston in convoy. There was a confident mood that was boosted further by the overcast sky. Unfortunately though, they didnít last very long and we were in for yet another scorcher.

Arriving in Boston the water conditions looked decent and this is a fantastic match venue for its layout, providing all the competitors with plenty of space over four main drains covering 30 miles, some of which offer smaller side drains along route - but which way was going to produce the goods?

Starting off and 10.30am and with the small matter of 6 and a half hours fishing to get through, most were keen to pace themselves given the conditions and some were rewarded instantly from the car park stretch of the sibsey trader with Peter Watson, Mike Fretwell and Chris Brookshaw all banking fish very early on. Peter Timmis had also missed a couple of takes so the signs of a productive day, with healthy weights were in the offing.

Andy Waller, Colin Telfer, Paul Higginson, Mark Groom and Glenn Neave had disappeared some distance up the trader to stretches that had produced big weights on our previous visit here, leaving others in their wake. Stuart Parker and Louise Hunns had doubled back on themselves to fish the opposite bank and had caught a few small fish between them.

Steve Roberts and Roy Rushbrook had remained around the golf course area without any reported success so far, whilst Mark Lloyd, Paul Christian, Mike Fretwell and Wayne Lees had decided to risk the steeper banks of the Frith with most of the group being rewarded by a better stamp of fish. Adam Holmes and Wayne Gorringe had travelled some distance up the West Fen, an area that Adam knew well from the previous years international, both catching steadilly.

The mid afternoon heat had started to take its toll on most competitors as water supplies of 1.5 litres had already been consumed and the fractic activity of the first hour had become a distant memory. Anglers were scurrying along the banks, route marching in different directions, trying all manner of baits and tactics, searching for that bonus fish or two that would climb them up the leader board.

Ian Johnson, Peter Watson and Richard Harvey were slowly working the trader banks in the hope that the fish there would turn back on. Chris Brookshaw and Peter Timmis headed to the Frith and passed Rob Cook and Mick Dodd, who had been unsuccessful on the town stretch and were heading in the direction of the West Fen. Derek Lowe was working back the other way having lost a few and Mike Fretwell left the masses to try his luck nearer the town.

Most headed back to the car park stretch, with full banks, but no further fish landed the match was over for the first day. Those that had stuck to their guns and continued along their chosen stretches reaped the rewards most. Andy Waller took the overnight lead with 3 nice fish for 24lb - 5oz, whilst Adam Holmes was left to bemoan a lost near double at the death, still things could have been worse as he scaled a challenging 22lb - 1oz. The reality being that those with weights in excess of 20lb could sleep a little easier tonight, but for everyone else all was still to play for in the morning.

Team Selection Final Day 1 - Results

Total fish caught - 75

  1. Andy Waller 24lb - 5oz.
  2. Adam Holmes 22lb - 1oz.
  3. Mark Groom 21lb - 10oz.
  4. Mark Lloyd 16lb - 8oz.
  5. Mike Fretwell 15lb - 8oz.
  6. Colin Telfer 12lb - 14oz.
  7. Wayne Gorringe 10lb - 1oz.
  8. Glenn Neave 10lb - 0oz.
  9. Paul Higginson 9lb - 8oz.
  10. Stuart Parker 6lb - 4oz

Team Selection Final Day 2 - Saturday 9th September

Weed problems on the BPS section of the 16ft had forced a change of venue to the Whittlesey AA stretch of the 20ft river from Goosetree Corner to Poplar Bridge, competitors having to decide starting points of either Goosetree Corner or Beggars Bridge. Another 10.30am start would give anglers until 3pm and 4 and a half hours to either hold on, or make a late charge for the team places.

The weather conditions were hotter than the previous day and more like those you would normally encounter abroad on holiday, not the fens in September, still there was more breeze today and with a shorter contest and so much at stake, everyone was sure to leave nothing in the tank.

Most anglers chose the Beggars Bridge end and worked either the Poplar section or back up towards the dog kennels. Waiting for the starting signal, some were eagerly observing the clear water and were treated to viewing some fine coarse specimens, including Roach, Bream shoals and Carp (it only became apparent in conversation between Chris Brookshaw and Steve Roberts after the match, that both also thought they had seen Barbel - perhaps some of the locals could confirm if this was a possibility?).

Andy Waller, Adam Holmes, Mark Lloyd, Paul Christian, Mick Dodd, Rob Cook and Colin Telfer were the only competitors to start from Goosetree Corner - had they pulled a masterstroke? Colin Telfer lost an early fish, so it appeared so.

Paul Higginson, Glenn Neave, Wayne Gorringe, Richard Harvey, Louise Hunns, Stuart Parker, Roy Rushbrook and Steve Roberts all wasted no time, putting in some distance towards the dog kennel stretch. This left Mike Fretwell, Chris Brookshaw, Wayne Lees, Peter Timmis and Peter Watson to work the area slowly, this is an area renowned for producing good weights of fish in the ACA static competition each year - but as of yet, nobody had told the Pike.

Peter Timmis was in action early, with a follow and a missed take. Pockets of fish were being found and it appeared they were having slightly larger Roach and Smelt baits today. Chris Brookshaw, his fishing partner for the weekend made a tactical switch to smelt and was rewarded instantly with 3 fish in the 2-3lb bracket. Could he be one to emerge and make a late assault on the top 10? It appeared not as turning back to fish a previous section again Mike Fretwell and Wayne Lees passed having both caught and news filtered through that Rob Cook was amassing a commanding total up at the other end of the match, with plenty of time left.

Under the railway bridge and on the Poplar section Derek Lowe was having success on his Denovo lures, whilst Peter Watson had back tracked to join him and was resorting to fishing static Mackerel having missed a take from a fish in excess of 10lb.

Into the final hour of the weekend and again anglers were scurrying around in panic mode. Some people knew they were only a half decent fish away. Word on the bank was that Paul Higginson, Glenn Neave, Stuart Parker, Mike Fretwell, Wayne Lees and Richard Harvey had all caught a few fish each; whilst up at the other end Mick Dodd had lost 4 decent sized Pike.

Peter Timmis managed to land a 9lb fish as the clock ran down, this would ultimately see him win the days event. Colin Telfer also snatched a jack in the final minutes. Match over and back to the hotel so that people could learn their fate, in what turned out to be a very close contest (particularly for those placed between 8th and 15th where a single fish could have changed things dramatically).

Andy Waller was crowned the overall winner, managing to fend of a stern challenge from Mark Groom, both anglers being rewarded for their consistency over a testing 2 days. Special mentions to Rob Cook who finished in the team places for the first time and will now make his debut for Great Britian alongside Mike Fretwell, who relinquished his place in the 2012 team pending the arrival of his first child. Also Louise Hunns, who sportingly handed her rod to her partner Stuart Parker part way through the match when his unfortunately broke.

Best wishes to all those making the trip to Ireland in October to defend the trophy won last year on home soil and tight lines in anticipation of seeing everyone again soon in Ireland in October for the international.

Team Selection Final Day 2 - Results

Total fish caught - 50

  1. Peter Timmis 18lb - 15oz.
  2. Rob Cook 16lb - 12oz.
  3. Paul Higginson 14lb - 6oz.
  4. Andy Waller 14lb - 4oz.
  5. Wayne Gorringe 12lb - 4oz.
  6. Wayne Lees 10lb - 12oz.
  7. Richard Harvey 9lb - 7oz.
  8. Mark Groome 9lb - 0oz.
  9. Chris Brookshaw 7lb - 11oz.
  10. Stuart Parker 6lb - 11oz.

Team Selection - Overall Results

  1. (Captain) Andy Waller 38lb - 9oz.
  2. Mark Groome 30lb - 10oz.
  3. Paul Higginson 23lb - 14oz.
  4. Peter Timmis 23lb - 10oz.
  5. Wayne Gorringe 22lb - 5oz.
  6. Adam Holmes 22lb - 1oz.
  7. Mike Fretwell 21lb - 1oz.
  8. Rob Cook 17lb - 12oz.
  9. Mark Lloyd 16lb - 8oz.
  10. Colin Telfer 15lb - 13oz.
  11. Stuart Parker 12lb - 15oz.
  12. Glenn Neave 11lb - 14oz.

Report courtesy of Chris Brookshaw