2013 Internation

Official Press Release

Date: Saturday 19th October 2013

From: Chris Brookshaw, Press Officer

Great Britain beat Ireland in Annual Pike Challenge

The British Pike Squad emerged victorious in this years International Pike Challenge against The Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs, held on the River Wye, Hereford on the 7-8th October 2013.

It was an opportunity that the BPS had been waiting for since they were on the wrong end of a convincing loss in County Monoghan 12 months previous. Having fished the same venue for their qualification match in September, Great Britian were confident that home advantage and local knowledge might play a crucial part against an Irish team that contained only 2 anglers, Francis Crosbie and Jerome Fisher, that hadnt cut their teeth at this level previosuly.

Having spent a few days in the local area and practicing on a variety of waters it was evident that the conditions would play their part. The renowned town and rowing club stretches that provides deepers holes and good numbers of pike through the winter were yet to see scores of roach and dace move in for the winter. With 15miles of bank to occupy the teams over the 2 day contest BPS Team Manager Glenn Neave adopted a balanced approach and spread his anglers evenly within the boundaries, under the instruction to work in small groups to try and locate the feeding predators.

Heavy rain over the few days leading up to the event had meant the river was rising, pushing through quickly in places and starting to colour, all bad omens for adopting the usual method used in such competitions, wobbled deadbaits. Nobody had told BPS captain Andy Waller though, the Stourport based rod latching into a nice fish of 9lbs-5oz within the first 10 minutes before news started to filter through later that debutant Rob Cook had landed a 20lb-02oz esox not far away on the Home Farm stretch of water to put Great Britian off to a flyer. This stretch was producing lots of action for the 3 British anglers that were resident there and more importantly, no Irish competitiors had followed. Colin Telfer lost and nice fish estimated around 15lbs at the net and had also had his hooks straightened by something bigger.

Veteran Paul Higginson of Cumbria managed a nice double of 12lb-14oz nearer to the town stretch. Irish angler, Fran Crosbie was working the margins on his way to the areas that were producing and was unfortuntate to miss a decent sized fish on the strike and Ireland were starting to trouble the stewards, but crucially they were only small jacks in the shape of Jerome Fisher 1lb-04oz and Eddie McGuirk 2-15oz, the latter working a slack area at the back of a dead arm late in the day to give Ireland hope with a 10-13 fish. Rob Cooks patient approach was paying off for him as he landed a pike of 12lb-10oz late in the piece that would see Great Britain to a commanding lead at the end of the first day, but nobody would dare count their chickens just yet, as this was a competitive and experienced Ireland team.

Optimism grabbed everyone on the morning of day 2, the river had dropped and was now moving much slower with only a tinge of colour to the water. Could the Irish overturn 40lb in the 5 hours remaining? The stamp of fish being caught yesterday would suggest that this was easily possible, especially given the improved conditions.

The management of both teams wasted little time deploying several anglers to the areas that had been productive the day before and it wasn't long before Colin Telfer made ammends for his lost fish on the first day, getting off the mark with 6lb-08oz.

However, the drama was yet to unfold as we entered the early afternoon. The Irish fought back hard and had soon carded 4 fish in the space of half an hour; Eddle McGuirk leading the way again to land a fine 16lb-01oz specimen, backed up by Jody Keirnan 13lb-02oz, Andrej Duran 8lb-12oz and Sean Markey 1lb-08oz. If the pike had started to turn on then Ireland were certainly enjoying the better of the action and had the momentum with them. An average sized fish seperated the teams until the final hour of competiton until the reliable Wayne Gorringe steadied British nerves with 9lb-13oz and bank partner Adam Holmes landed a small jack of 2lb-3oz.

British Pike Squad Team Manager, Glenn Neave said: "It was a hard fought contest in difficult conditions and local knowledge was certainly a crucial factor for us. I'd like to thank both the committee and team for their hard work in making the event a success and look forward to defending the trophy in Ireland next year".

Following the presentation ceremony outgoing chairman Andy Waller officially stood down after several years good service and welcomed Wayne Lees into the role. Andy will continue to be an active BPS member and will support Wayne over the coming months.

New British Pike Squad Chairman, Wayne Lees said: "It's a honour to be elected as the new chairman for the BPS. I look forward to working alongside the committee in promoting our style of pike angling over the next few years. Preparations for next years trophy defence start tomorrow!"

British Pike Squad 2013

  • Andy Waller
  • Mark Groom
  • Paul Higginson
  • Mike Fretwell
  • Rob Cook
  • Adam Holmes
  • Wayne Gorringe
  • ColinTelfer
  • Peter Timmis
  • Mark Lloyd

Report courtesy of Chris Brookshaw