• Peter

Matches 2020/21

22 January 2021 All remaining 2020 matches cancelled

The decision has been taken that all remining matches from the 2020/21 calendar will be cancelled. That involves the 2 remaining aggregate matches, the blind pairs and last-chance.

So, it is with great fanfare that the club can announce that the winner of the aggregate trophy is Vicky Knowlson, with 130 points, followed by Phil Mansbridge on 125 and Ray Rolfe third on 120.

Our congratulations go to Vicky on a consistently good performance. Go to the match results page for full details.

The fixture list for the 2021/22 season will not be published until there is certainty about what's happening with covid, that restrictions are lifted and there confidence they won't be reinstated.

7 January 2021 Fishing now allowed

To the tune of the hokey-cokey:

You put the fishing ban on, you take the fishing ban off!

Seriously, though, big shout out to the Angling Trust for getting fishing classed as exercise, this allows it to resume.

You are urged to do nothing that could endanger this situation, stay local, keep social distancing, don't night fish, as the Angling Trust say "With infection rates and death tolls rising we must stick to the Government’s rules and ensure that angling remains part of the solution and does not cause problems".

Matches are considered as organised sporting events so remain banned

Stay up to date by regularly visiting the website, or joining the WhatsApp or Facebook groups, see the website for details.

6 January 2021 All fishing banned

Here we go again..........National lockdown because of Covid.......and this time all forms of fishing are banned.

Who knows when we'll be out of this? Let us hope that the vaccine programme is rolled-out quickly and that life can start returning to normal.

Until then the pond and swift ditch are closed, but on the up-side, just think what pristine condition all your tackle will be in when we go fishing again....there's nothing to do but sort out your tackle box, respool your reels, tidy your winders, get all the mud off of your seatbox, etc. etc.

This also means, of course, that all matches are postponed until further notice, we'll have to sort out what to do about the aggregate trophy as only 8 of the 10 matches have been fished.

13 December 2020 Christmas Match - Grove Pond

18 members had qualified and 16 of those fished the match.

The winner was Joe Bowman who managed a mainly bream catch of 12lb 11oz from peg 2 (an end peg as peg 1 wasn't drawn). Ray Rolfe was second fishing almost opposite Joe, he also had a few bream to bring 11lb 2oz to the scales..

Deciding to ignore the bream (or did they ignore him) Matt Andrew came third with a 7lb 5oz net of roach from the deep water peg 14, including a beauty of 1lb 5oz. The roach are really coming on well in the pond.

All anglers except one managed to get fish to the scales, Gerry Austin in peg 20 didn't bother the scalesman and was well and truly next-pegged by the winner opposite him and second place in the next swim.

Unfortunately the Covid restrictions meant that the post-match Christmas meal was cancelled. We can only hope that next year returns to some form of normality (I don't think many people, me included, like this current "new normal") and we can get back to a bit more socialising.

I'll sign off for now, this will probably be the last blog entry before the turn of the year. I wish you all a very happy Christmas, stay safe, stay healthy and we'll resume in 2021.

5 December 2020 2nd Aggregate - Grove Pond

I know! I know! What is match 2 doing in this list after matches 3-9, as if you needed to ask! Covid has played merry-hell with the fixture list and we're all grateful to Bob & Vicky for sticking with it through the year. We were going to have matches 1 and 2 to replace the lost matches at the start of the first lockdown, but then the second lockdown came along and we lost matches 1 and 10. Confused? I'm not surprised.

The upshot is that the club has now fished 8 of the 10 aggregate matches and the entry for the Christmas match on Sunday 13 December has been reduced to 3 matches fished (from 4), A full list is available on the match pages of this website.

Anyway - onto the serious business of the match report, it was a grueller! Cold, very cold, the mercury never climbed beyond 5 degrees and it was damp, misty and overcast. 13 anglers fished, of which 2 blanked and 6 weighed-in less than 1lb.

The match was won by Matt Andrew who conjured 6lb 7oz from peg 19, followed by Bob Alder with 5lb 15oz from peg 17, Nathan Steele was third, sitting between 1st and 2nd in peg 18 with 5lb 13oz.

For the aggregate championship so far, Vicky Knowlson remains at the top of the leader board with 130 points, Phil Mansbridge is second with 125 and with a pleasing symmetry, on 120 points is Ray Rolfe in third. However, the "best 8 from 10" rule kicks in for the next 2 matches, each angler drops their lowest scoring matches and only the best 8 count, so all could change - stay tuned for the next exciting episode (whenever Covid allows them to be fished).

4 November 2020 Matches banned

Well, we're back to a national lockdown, at least we can still go fishing but matches are banned. This will be effective from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2nd December (unless the resrictions are extended).

Once a decision is confirmed about the fixture list, the aggregate trophy and eligibility for the Christmas match the appropriate changes will be published.

1 November 2020 9th Aggregate - Grove Pond

What a day, storm Aiden (who comes up with these names?) blew in from mid-Atlantic straight down the pond making tackle control tricky, to say the least.

Triskaidekaphobic anglers won't have liked this match as thirteen anglers turned out in their best wind-proof garments to do battle. Despite the wind it was a very warm (for November) day, night-time temperatures were above ten degrees rising to fourteen as the day wore on.

Top honours went to Joe Bowman who weighed in an impressive 17lb 2oz. Joe's catch consisted of half a dozen bream backed up by a few perch and roach. He fed just one ball of groundbait but kept the chopped worm going in through the day, fishing worm on the hook to finish over 8lb clear of second placed Pascal Hogan, who also fished worm with chopped worm to end up with exactly 9lb. Third was Ray Rolfe with 8lb 5oz.

Joe's performance was doubly impressive as this is just his second match back from major surgery, we all wish him a continued recovery, but if he can do this on just his second match back what's he capable of by next season?

Danny Dance, in peg 22 had just one small carp and a few bits when he managed to lose a big carp, it's a case of "what if", but that fish would have made a big difference to the overall result.

Jim Routledge uncharacteristically finished well down the list on the day in tenth place (picking up 13 points). Meanwhile, Vicky Knowlson picked up 17 points (her 4lb 9oz giving her 6th place on the day) allowing her to slip into top spot on the overall leader board with 115 points, just 3 points clear of Jim. However, Jim remains favourite for the aggregate trophy as he will be in top place once the top 8 from 10 positions are taken into account at the end of the championship. Third in the aggregate standings is Phil Mansbridge with 107 points.

Following the government's decision to reimpose national lockdown from Thursday 5 November there is much concern about the status of angling. As things stand at time of writing (Monday 2 Nov) fishing can continue, the rules state that outdoor recreation at ‘parks and gardens’ and ‘in the ‘countryside’ will be allowed. Whether that also applies to match fishing we will have to wait and see.

18 October 2020 8th Aggregate - Grove Pond

Normal service is resumed, all back to the pond for round 8 of the aggregate trophy - but as we all know, this is really only the 6th match!

The day dawned still, cloudy and cold and stayed that way throughout, it encouraged a good turnout with 17 anglers being given their peg numbers via a Covid-19 compliant process.

The winner on the day was Ray Rolfe from the deep water peg 10, this was virtually an end peg as 11, 12, 13 & 14 weren't fished. He took a respectable 13lb 11oz to end up 2lb clear of second placed Vicky Knowlson who managed to take 11lb 8oz to the scales from peg 4. Vicky finished three and a half pounds ahead of Les Teale, fishing virtually opposite Vicky in peg 17 he weighed-in exactly 8lb.

These results sharpened competition for the aggregate trophy, Jim Routledge remains in first place with 99 points but that is now just 1 point clear of Vicky Knowlson. Tony Brooker is third on 91 points but there are a bevvy of angflers still in with a shout.

4 October 2020 7th Aggregate - River Thames - Newbridge

Brave men and woman have blanched in the face of better weather forecasts. Two days of near constant rain had pushed the flow from a canal-like 1 ton of water per second the previous week to a respectable 8 tons by Friday, 10 tons by Saturday morning and still rising. The match from 8am to 1pm had a mere 80% chance of rain compared to the near certainty of >95% overnight.

Six hardy souls ventured out to the bleak and open fields of the Thames at Newbridge which was running at 12 tons a second to start, difficult but not unfishable.

All anglers were pegged on the first meadow from pegs 4 to 9, Rob Wilkinson took honours with 2lb 7oz from peg 7, Bob Steele was second from peg 5 with 1lb 14oz. Phil Mansbridge and Danny Dance shared third place with 14oz each. This was a difficult day, rotten weather and a dirty rising river, those who turned out to fish have my admiration (or my referral to a psychiatric unit), the total weight of fish caught was 6lb 5oz.

Most fish came in the first few hours after which the river started rising again and bites all but ceased.

Water measurements come from the brilliant Gaugemap.co.uk and were taken at Farmoor https://www.gaugemap.co.uk/#!Map/Summary/1001/1037. The gaugemap web site also has flow gauges for the Thames at Reading and the Kennet at Newbury thereby allowing you to check out river conditions before you go fishing (unfortunately, the flow gauge at Sutton Courtenay stopped transmitting in November last year). You'll have to work out yourselves what constitutes a fishable flow rate but personally I think anything above 15 tons per second at Farmoor makes Newbridge unfishable. post-match note - on the morning of Monday 5 October the Thames at Farmoor was pushing through at 35 tons a second.

Little has changed on the overall leader board, Jim Routledge remains at the top with 82 points but his lead is now cut to just 2 points with Phil Mansbridge closing fast. Vicky Knowlson is third, still a few points ahead of Bob Steele. All back to Grove pond for round 8 on 18th October.

13 September 2020 6th Aggregate - River Thames - Newbridge

Running water for the first time this year, but "running" may be putting a spin on what was a low and sluggish river Thames. Bill Hailey drew peg 5, near the bottom end of of the first meadow and won the match easily with 8lb 12oz, Second was Ray Rolfe from the peg upstream of Bill, he took 4lb 15oz, closely followed by Tony Brooker with 4lb 10oz, also in the first meadow in peg 9.

True to form, Billy missed out on sweeping the pools as he didn't enter them, consequently Ray picked up the winner's payout.

Jim Routledge was 4th on the day (4lb 7oz, peg 21) and his 19 points kept him at the head of the leader board, Tony Brooker and Nathan Steele remain in contention as we head back to the same venue on 4th October for round 7.

6 September 2020 Wantage & Grove versus The Plough - 2nd Leg

After a great win in the first round on 19 July Wantage and Grove were full of hope that a decent set of results would secure the inter-club trophy for the first time in quite a few years. The W&G anglers certainly delivered on the day, the overall winner was our very own chair Matt Andrew who romped home to a commanding win with 13lb 4oz from peg 12, his weight included a nice carp of 12lb 4oz. Second was Nathan Steele, also W&G, who took 8lb 10oz to the scales from peg 17, this was bolstered by a 5lb 12oz bream. Gerry Austin completed a clean 1-2-3 sweep for W&G who fished peg 4 and weighed-in 5lb 6oz.

W&G won the match with 76 points to The Plough's 60 and took the 2 leg competition by 150 points to 122.

It's worth noting that even without Matt and Nathan's big fish W&G would still have scraped home to win the match and take the trophy. So well done - congratulations to all and good luck for next year.

22 August 2020 Memorial Match - Grove Pond

A decent turnout for the new format of amalgamating the memorial matches into a day of activity, however, due to Covid the social and barbeque that should have followed the match was cancelled. Hopefully, things will be back to normal next year and we can follow the match with a decent barbeque and a pint (or two).

Anyway – onto the fishing. The winner by a clear margin was Bob Alder with 43lb 4oz, mainly carp, from corner peg 11. Second was Tony Brooker who had 17lb 9oz from peg 9 (peg 10 was empty).

Third was a well camouflaged Danny Dance (pictured), who weighed 13lb 11oz from end peg 22.

Next match is the return fixture against The Plough at Hanney pond on 6 September. Wantage and Grove take a good lead into the second leg and hopefully can take honours for the first time in a few years.

2 August 2020 5th Aggregate - Grove Pond

This should have been an action-packed thriller on a commercial at Court Farm in Aldermaston, but regrettably the fishery owners became very uncommunicative and as Bob was unable to confirm the booking we had to move the fixture to the pond.

So....this was the first use of the pond for the aggregate trophy this year and it provided consistent sport fairly evenly spread around all pegs. Jim Routledge on end peg 20 racked up back to back wins, taking 30lb 8oz of bream and F1s, second was Matt Andrew on peg 4 who took a number of bream early on to finish with 20lb 5oz, he was closely followed by Steve Ferris next door on peg 3 who finished just 6oz behind Matt with 19lb 15oz.

All anglers weighed in bringing a total of over 152lb to the scales. Even Bob Steele managed to net a few fish which, given his birthday celebrations the night before was no mean feat!

The consistent performance of Jim Routledge (a 4th and two wins so far) have him opening quite a gap at the top of the leader board, he has 63 points, followed by Nathan Steele and Tony Brooker, both with 52 points.

Next aggregate match is on running water, Thames at Newbridge on 13 September

19 July 2020 Wantage & Grove versus The Plough - 1st Leg

A fine (and rare) victory for Wantage and Grove AC in the first leg of this keenly fought annual event held on Wantage and Grove's home water. After Saturday's rain which refreshed the water, Sunday dawned clear and cooler than of late, but a good day was expected. W&G managed to have a substitute angler available, was that careful planning or Bob's oversight not including Vicky in his original list? We'll never know for sure.

The 8-a-side match saw a total of over 210lb brought to the scales, the best weights came from the north (shallow) end of the pond with Matt Andrew (W&G) taking a mixed bag for 35lb 5oz from peg 20, mainly bream, with a few nice roach to a pound and one F1, all on maggot, he lost one proper carp, it was through the peg next door before Matt realised. Second was Matt Cramp (Plough) with 30lb 14oz from peg 3. Les Teale (Plough) came third with 24lb 14oz from peg 1 consisting of about 8lb of roach, 3 carp, (best at 6lb and 2 around the 1lb mark) and a few F1s, 4 or 5 carp were lost in the lillies.

Most anglers had mixed bags, there were a lot of bream at the weigh-in, with quite a few tench, the odd F1 and proper carp, and lots of nice roach, these are really packing on the weight recently. However, losing carp at the north end seemed to be a consistent theme, Nathan Steele in peg 22 also got done by a few lumps.

Wantage and Grove took the honours overall, managing 74 points to The Plough's 62. Onto the second leg which will be held at Hanney pond on 6 September.

12 July 2020 4th Aggregate - Buscot Park

And so onto a big natural water for this match, the conditions were a great improvement on the previous year where a strong wind played havoc with poles and bait presentation. Despite this, the average weight of fish, at 9lb 10oz per angler, was only a few ounces greater than 2019. Twelve anglers fished this year and 11 weighed-in.

On the day Jim Routledge took top honours with 34lb 2oz from peg 16, his net included 3 carp, the best a lump of 12lb 14oz. Jim finished well ahead of second place Paul Harrop in peg 31, who weighed in a mixed bag of 17lb 8oz. Third was Nathan Steele with 16lb 7oz from peg 10.

Overall that puts Jim Routledge in the lead for the aggregate trophy with 41 points, followed by Tony Brooker with 37 and Nathan Steele just one behind on 36.

Next is Court Farm, Aldermaston, on 2 August, another commercial stuffed with fish. You'll probably need over a ton just to frame! Places are limited so if you'd like to fish contact Bob and get your name down.

4 July 2020 New Forest Challenge

I know I don't normally report on non-aggregate matches but as I fished this one I thought I'd make an exception, when I say "fished" what I really mean is "made a complete hash of it".

It was blowing a hooley (official Met office term - between a gale and a hurricane). It was a "wet" wind, when it wasn't raining it carried the threat and just felt damp all day.

Phil "The Mallet" Mansbridge came equipped with his own windbreak which he proceeded to hammer into the ground, thereby scaring every fish within 2 miles. Phil - just because the fishery had a Bournemouth postcode doesn't mean to say we come equipped for the beach.

Matt was wearing his lucky odd-shoes, given the results someone should have told him it was an even-numbered day, the blue goes on the left, Doh! - schoolboy error.

As for the fishing, well, just look at the results! Winner, second, third and fourth came all in a row from the end of the pond sheltered from the worst of the wind. Whereas most of us dealt with waves that wouldn't disgrace the Atlantic, these pegs were an oasis of calm.

Notwithstanding this there was some fine fishing on exhibition, you still have to make the best of what's in front of you and those anglers certainly did. Paul Smith won with 69lb 7oz from peg 12, mainly carp in the 4-5lb region, almost all caught in the margin in the last couple of hours, Paul described the margins towards the end of the match as "Carp soup".

Second was Bob Steele, next to Paul on peg 14 (only even pegs were in) with 57lb 4oz, third was Vicky Knowlson 46lb 13oz from peg 16 and fourth was Dave Simmonds; 24lb 6oz peg 18. All had carp the same sort of stamp as Paul's but Vicky had a real proper one that looked every ounce of 8lb.

Both Vicky and Matt managed to have their elastic broken during the day. To save embarrassment I didn't weigh in - I won't say if that's to save mine or Matt's embarrassment who also didn't bother the scalesman from the peg next to me.

We all know this can fish much better than it did, next year hopefully all the hotels & pubs will be open and we can make a full Friday/Saturday social event of it.

28 June 2020 3rd Aggregate - Ivy House

OK, so I know this is the first aggregate match actually fished this year, but as we are now in the new-normal, those that are third shall come first (fished). Aggregates 1 and 2 will follow as soon as they are re-arranged.

Anyway - onto Heron Lake at Ivy House, it is said that good things come to those who wait, and we had to wait for the 1st aggregate but was it good? Despite a few strange fishery rules there were a heck of a lot of fish caught, 16 anglers fished for a total of 966lb, averaging over 60lb per angler.

The match was comprehensively won by Sam Wilson with 120lb 6oz from peg 4, even though he'd fished the lake twice this year it was a fine performance putting him 40lb clear of Tony Brooker in 2nd place fishing next to the winner on peg 3 with 80lb 2oz. Tony was closely followed by Paul Smith with 77lb 12oz from peg 16.

Lots of mini peg-to-peg matches took place within the main match, primary of which was that of Vicky and Bob (pegs 13 & 11 with peg 12 empty), Vicky won bragging rights taking 53lb 4oz, beating Bob by 1lb 4oz and winning the prize of putting her feet up whilst Bob cooked dinner.

Meanwhile, on pegs 17 & 16, your honourable correspondent was locked in a tussle with Paul Smith, I had a lot of fish and both Paul and I thought I'd taken it, but my fish were obviously of a smaller stamp and Paul stuffed me by 7lb - I put a brave face on it but really? No - gutted!

Next match is the New Forest challenge on Saturday 4 July, this should have been a Friday fish-in social, with an overnight stay at a local hotel, but, of course hotels don't open until Saturday! Maybe next year.

The next aggregate (4) is at Buscot lake on Sunday 12 July, pegs are limited so contact Bob if you'd like to fish.

7 June 2020 Committee Cup

The committee cup was comprehensively won by Nathan Steele with 29lb 3oz from peg 19. This isn't normally an end peg but with pegs 20 onwards closed we're all in a new normal, now. Second was Bill Hailey with 18lb 4oz from peg 16. Matt Andrew (pictured - the one on the land) was third with 18lb 13oz.

Eleven anglers fished for a total of 161lb 6oz. Bob experimented with a new draw and weigh-in system to ensure social distancing was observed. Generally, it was agreed this went well.

After the end of the match Matt managed to lose 2 sections from his pole, Robert Clarkson went in for them - reckon Matt owes Robert a pint or two.

Next match is scheduled as the 3rd aggregate on Ivy House Lakes on 28 June (aggregate 1 & 2 were postponed and new arrangements will be updated soon). Ivy House has limited pegs so contact Bob if you would like to fish.

2 June 2020

A big "Hooray" from all the match anglers, matches are to restart on Sunday 7 June with the committee cup on the pond. This is invitation only. Bob's in charge, his word is writ on match days so behave yourselves.

10 May 2020

Hi all, welcome to the first post of match updates for the 2020/21 season. Thanks to Covid-19, we have all been locked down and denied our inalienable right to dangle a worm.

Consequently, the date of the first aggregate match of the season has been and gone, postponed to a later date, as have the next aggregate match and the committee cup (scheduled for 24 May and 7 June respectively).

The pond, apparently, looks marvellous. The banks have been trimmed, the carp are feeding (or were before the cold snap).

As soon as the government allows groups of people to gather we'll get the waters open for matches, in the meanwhile the match types will just have to console themselves by joining the pleasure anglers.

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