20 March 2022 Committee Cup
Normally fished in July this invitation only match was postponed after Thames Water decided to dig up access to the pond. Ten anglers ventured out for this one and it looked like the going could be hard as there was an early frost and it was a bright, sunny day with no wind. A flat mirror-like surface greeted us for the draw.
Bob Steele got off to an absolute flier on peg 17, landing a bream on the first put-in and going on to win with 11lb 15oz, consisting of a few bream and bits. Peter Constable (your humble correspondent) managed second place with 4 bream, a crucian and 2 roach for 11lb 2oz from peg 3, this is despite facing the prospect of an embarrassing blank for over 2 hours, not having a bite until after 10am.
Third was Bill Hailey with 8lb 8oz opposite Bob on peg 6. It must be noted that had Vicky Knowlson landed either of the 2 carp that she hooked the results table could have looked very different.
It was also good to know that some things remain perennial and one of those is Danny's ability to kepp a string of complaint going throughout the match, I feel sorry for Nathan who was drawn opposite him.
That's it for this 2021/22 season . Let us hope for at least 2 things for 2022/23:
Firstly that we are not all laid-low or locked down because of a pandemic and,
Secondly, that Thames Water stop digging up the access to the pond.
I take this opportunity to wish all members good health and tight lines for the coming year (and beyond)
13 March 2022 Last Chance
Traditionally this is the last match of the old fishing season, giving anglers one "last-chance" to fish before the close season.arrived, those rules have now gone (for still waters) but this match is still held close to the old season finishing date of 14 March.
Nine anglers turned out on a breezy but mild day and of those, eight took fish to the scales. The winner was Rob Wilkinson with 13lb 8oz from peg 20, exactly two pounds behind, and in second place, was Tony Brooker who had 11lb 8oz out of peg 3 and third was Bill Hailey on peg 15 with 8lb 10oz.
23 January 2022 Blind Pairs
Ten anglers turned up for the blind pairs, no great weights were expected and that's what the results proved. Top on the day was Danny Dance with 5lb 9oz from peg 18. He was only just a single ounce clear of Vicky Knowlson who took 5lb 8oz from peg 9. Pegged next to Vicky on peg 10 was Nathan Steele who took third spot on the day with 5lb 3oz.
For the pairs trophy, Vicky Knowlson was paired with Derek Wilby they and took the honours with a total of 16 points (9 for Vicky and 7 for Derek), Danny Dance and Rob Wilkinson were just a single point adrift with a total of 15 points (10 and 5 respectively).
You do have to feel sorry for Robert Campbell and Pascal Hogan, paired together and both blanked! It's a rum old do when neither of a pair can get a point.
12 December 2021 Christmas match
Of the 20 members who qualified for this match 14 turned out, the weather was fine for the time of year, overcast but mild and with a gentle zephyr blowing from the south.
The match was won by Bob Steele from peg 2 with a fine piece of match angling....No! not "match angling", I mean specimen hunting! With no one in peg 1 or opposite him in pegs 21 or 22 he took a gamble at the start of the match - impaled a worm on a big hook to 8lb line and had a carp within the first 10 minutes. After that everyone else was playing catch-up. Vicky Knowlson was second with 7lb 2oz from peg 16, next-pegging Nathan Steele in peg 15 by a single ounce, who finished third with 7lb 1oz. This made it a 1, 2 3 for the Steele clan.
Our sympathies go to Joe Bowman in peg 19, who it appears, failed to tighten one of the legs on his seat box, this duly collaped as he leant over whilst landing a bream, taking out a pole section and his landing net handle, he gamely hung on and landed the fish but will have to hope that father Christmas is especially generous and brings him a replacement section.
All in all this was a great match, held in good spirits and poor ol' Pascal the only one not to catch. Then onwards to the pub for a meal and a few pints.
28 November 2021 10th Aggregate - Grove pond
The weather had been awful for a few days before the match with clear skies and overnight frosts. The prediction was that the lb column in the results sheet would be little troubled and that proved to be the case, 14 anglers fished, only 5 caught more than 1lb and there were 4 empty nets! Stuart Harrop took the day, winning easily with 14lb 1oz of bream and bits from peg 8. Derek Wilby was second, almost opposite Stuart on peg 17 with 5lb 2oz and third, fishing next to Stuart on peg 7, was Jim Routledge with 4lb 10oz. Deep water seemed to be the key here to putting any sort of weight together.
This strong performance from Jim Routledge, earning himself 20 points, meant that he sealed the deal and took the aggregate trophy with a total of 163 points, just 6 points clear of Tony Brooker who managed 157 points. Third was last year's winner, Vicky Knowlson, with 145 points.
Our congratulations go to Jim for a fine overall performance, he won the first 5 matches he fished this year making it difficult for him to be overtaken, however, it was a strong and consistent set of results from Stuart that allowed him to take the contest to the last match.
Thanks to all who fished this series of matches and we can now look forwards to next year's series.
14 November 2021 9th Aggregate - Grove pond
There was a much stronger turnout than for the last aggregate, but, to be fair, the weather was nothing like October's howling gales. The day was warm (for November) overcast and calm.
Seventeen anglers turned out so the pond was quite busy. The winner came from peg 1 where Derek Wilby put 6lb 14oz on the scales. Only 2 ounces separated Steve Ferris in second place with 5lb 15oz from peg 20 and Bill Hailey with 5lb 13oz out of peg 7. The shock of the day was Jim Routledge who trailed the rest of the field, taking just a single ounce from peg 22.
That shocker from Jim has turned what seemed a procession for the aggregate trophy into a much tighter finish. After 9 matches (and dropping their worst score to date) leaves Tony Brooker (who was 8th on the day) with 155 points, 6 points clear of Jim Routledge on 149 points. Last year's winner, Vicky Knowlson, is in third place with 136 points and she now can't catch the top two.
It's really close at the top, if Jim finishes in the top 3 then he wins the aggregate. However, if Jim finishes outside of the top 3 then the maths gets really tricky and it could go anyway. Watch this space for details after the nail-biting climax on the 24 November. Draw at 7:30 - don't miss it!
31 October 2021 8th Aggregate - Grove pond
Ten brave anglers ventured to the pond for this match and, given the conditions, I'm surprised it was that many. In a match that will go down in the annals of history as "Brolly-geddon". Four anglers had their umbrellas trashed by the wind, poor ol' Billy had his turned completely inside-out but somehow the rest of the anglers didn't quite see him as an alternative Mary Poppins. Fortunately only one pole got broken, Nathan cracked his No.2 trying to unstick his top sections. The match was a real two-halver, attriocious conditions in the first couple of hours gave way to clear skies, rising temperatures and gentle breezes at the close.
The winner on the day was Tony Brooker who managed 2 carp from peg 15 for a run-away 19lb 7oz. He was 12lb clear of Vicky Knowlson in second with 7lb 11oz from peg 2. Third (and framing for the first time this year) was Pascal Hogan who took 4lb 10oz from peg 19. Respect to Pascal who turns up match after match, it's good to see him with his name in lights.
On the aggregate front, Tony Brooker remains ahead of Jim Routledge by 155 points to 143. Vicky Knowlson's second place on the day has propelled her to third with 128 points, overtaking Steve Ferris on the way, pushing him down to fourth.
17 October 2021 7th Aggregate - Grove pond
Fourteen anglers turned up for this round in the aggregate trophy, the fidshing promised to be good, it was very warm for the time of year and overcast. However, as in all things fishing, the fish didn't see things that way and played hard-ball. After two early carp it all went quite for a few hours but things perked up in the last two hours and Vicky Knowlson won the day with 4 tench, a couple of small carp and a few silvers for 15lb 6oz from peg 1. She also managed to lose what was described as "a real lump" in the lilies. Second and third place both had a single carp early in the match and then backed up with small bream and silvers. Matt Andrew took second spot from peg 20 with 12lb 1oz and Gerry Austin was third from corner peg 15 with 10lb 8oz. Tony Brooker managed to get the bream going and had 9lb 9oz in peg 22 (opposite Vicky), but it was too late to catch the others.
For the first time this year Jim Routledge didn't take top spot, coming seventh with 4lb 6oz but was pleased to have pipped Danny Dance by just 4oz.
There is no change to the top three on the leader board but still lots to play for with three matches remaining.
3 October 2021 6th Aggregate - Grove pond
Another run-away victory on the day for Jim Routledge who took 13lb 12oz from peg 15, this was made up from a single carp and a few pounds of slivers. A certain ribald cat-calling was heard when our erstwhile chair, Matt Andrew, shipped out 14 metres of his new pole to try to dislodge a carp from the lilies on peg 19 only to hear the ominous sound of splintering carbon as his No.2 section gave way. That was just one of three carp that Matt lost on the day but he still managed to take 7lb 11oz of silvers for second place. He was just 3 ounces ahead of Derek Wilby in third place with 7lb 8oz from peg 11..
After 6 matches of the aggregate trophy Tony Brooker (who managed 4th place on the day taking 19 points) is still in the lead with 114 points but is being hunted down by Jim Routledge who keep up his unbeaten run, winning every one of his five matches fished, accumulating 110 points along the way. Third is Steve Ferris with 99 points and Vicky Knowlson, last year's champion, is fourth with 85 points.
19 September 2021 5th Aggregate - Thames, Newbridge
Fifteen anglers turned out to face a stale and lifeless river that desperately needed rain. On top of a lack of water the far-bank trees in the middle meadow had been unsympathetically chopped back, apparently to make room for the boats, paddle-boarders etc to pass. As expected, no consideration is given to the environment below the surface, out-of-sight is out-of-mind to those responsible for managing the environment. Trees were left bare and snags littered the river bed.
Despite the conditions all anglers caught, Jim Routledge took top honours with 7lb 12oz from much-fancied peg 6. Running Jim a close second was Stuart Harrop from peg 23, he was just 2 ounces short of the pace with 7lb 10oz. Third was Daniel Brooks with an even 5lb from peg 8.
With 5 matches now fished in the aggregate series there is an ominous feeling about the leader board. Whilst Tony Brooker leads this with 95 points, having fished all 5 matches so far, he is being hunted down by Jim Routledge with a remarkable series of winning all 4 of the matches he has fished, posting 88 points in the process.
Stuart Harrop's performance for third place would be notable for its consistency, (83 points from 4 matches) were it not for Jim's set of results.
12 September 2021 Wantage and Grove versus The Plough -- 2nd leg
Oh! To have been there - to witness the bunting, the ticker-tape reception, the marching band that welcomed home the Konwlson/Steele household after their all-conquering one/two in this match held at Plough pond, Hanney. Not only taking top two spots but leading from the front to see Wantage and Grove home to a victory over the two legs.
This was marred slightly by The Plough claming victory on the day, but the lead built up by W&G on the home leg couldn't be retrieved by The Plough. Due to holidays and other factors W&G were only able to field 7 anglers on the day so the lowest score from The Plough was dropped to even out the numbers.
On the day top honours went to Bob Steele with 15lb 8oz consisting of 3 good bream plus a few bits from peg 19, Vicky Knowlson took second place from peg 15 with a carp of about 8lb and a 3lb tench in her net of 12lb 8oz.
The next three places all went to Plough anglers headed by Pete Howse who worked hard to take 101 fish to the scales for his 6lb 2oz from peg 18, averaging an ounce per fish.
On the day The plough scored 71 points to Wantage and Grove's 62 but the overall contest went to W&G by a narrow 3 points: 136 to 133.
21 August 2021 Memorial Match - Grove pond
It's been a few weeks since the last match and the weather threatened to rain on this parade but thankfully it mostly held off for the match - but made up for the missed opportunjity to come down on some poor anglers whilst fishing and descended in torrents as the all-out was called, making packing up a damp and dreary affair.
Ten anglers turned up to fish and honours on the day went to Bob Alder who took a very respectable 38lb 14oz of carp and bream from peg 20. Tony Brooker came second with 27lb 14oz from end peg 22. Both Bob and Tony took a couple of carp early on and from then on the rest of the field was playing catch-up. Third place went to Ray Rolfe from corner peg 11 with 15lb 12oz, mainly bream with a few obligatory crucians.
All anglers caught fish but Steve Ferris and Gerry Austin decided not to trouble the scales team with their catches.
£50 was raisded for Cancer Research UK from the peg fees, Ray Rolfe also kindly donated his sweep winnings to take the total to £60.
25 July 2021 Wantage and Grove versus The Plough -- 1st leg
Victory goes to the fine anglers from Wantage and Grove by 74 points to 61 (this is one point better that the corresponding fixture last year) and puts W&G in a strong position to take the trophy over the two rounds when the away leg is fished on the 12th September at Hanney pond.
On the day Gary Cramp (The Plough) took top honours with a carp and F1 catch of 38lb 11oz from peg 22, he was run a close second by Ray Rolfe (W&G) who alos had a mainly carp and F1 net of 34lb 12oz opposite Gary on peg 1.
The next 3 places all went to W&G anglers, efectively sealing the club victory, Jim Routledge was 3rd, with a mainly crucian haul of 17lb 9oz from peg 9, Vicky Knowlson was 4th and Bob Steele, 5th.
18 July 2021 4th Aggregate - Grove pond
What a fine little fishery this is, under ferocious weather conditions (blazing hot, cloudless and windless) and on a match (which always depresses catches) anglers still managed an average of over 12lb.
Top of the tree, once again, was Jim Routledge who muscled 38lb 1oz from peg 19. Eight pounds separated Jim from second place Stuart Harrop with 20lb 6oz from the ever reliable peg 1. Third with 24lb 5oz from peg 11 was Tony Brooker, Tony's catch included a nice tench of 3lb 3oz. Meanwhile, Gerry Austin had a chub of 1lb 5oz, these fish rarely make an appearance on the bank.
The overall leader board is interesting, it is topped by Tony Brooker on 77 points, then there are no fewer than 3 anglers on 66 points, Steve Ferris, Nathan Steele & Jim Routledge. Just off the pace, with 62 points is last year's winner, Vicky Knowlson, who shares her position on the leader board with Stuart Harrop.
However, Jim's 66 points come from just 3 matches, all of which he has won, methinks we'll need a handicap system for Jim. Superglue his bait boxes closed? Blunt all his hooks? - Any suggestions gratefully received.
3 July 2021 New Forest Challenge - Orchard Lakes
Half a dozen members descended on the lakes on Friday to get a feel for the place and have a bit of a social fish-in. This was followed by a convivial evening with a little drinking and great enjoyment before an early night ready for the match on the Saturday. The original six were joined by four day-trippers for the match so there was plenty of space for all and the club was able to double space most of the pegs.
This was a day to be a Steele - Nathan Steele drew flier peg 18 and proceeded to plunder 53lb 11oz from it to take honours on the day. Just 2 pegs away, on 16, was Bob Steele who managed second place, exaclty 4lb behind Nathan with 49lb 11oz. Third place went to Jim Routledge from unfancied peg 2, whilst most anglers catch was predominantly carp, Jim managed 23lb of silvers in his total of 42lb 6oz.
Unlike last year all anglers took a reasonable weight to the scales and the average was just over 30lb each. The weather was a great improvement on 2020, whilst there was a little rain it didn't last long and the wind was the merest zephyr compare to last year's gales.
3 July 2021 New Forest Challenge - Orchard Lakes - commentary
Just goes to show what a difference the weather made, your humble correspondent drew the same peg 8 for 2 years running, last year so little graced the net that it wasn't worth bothering the scales, this year - 42lb, all on top 2 sections only, in the margins. Not being a pole angler by inclination (or ability) I bounced lots of fish on the strike and lost 4 good carp to hook pulls. I feel a 20 elastic was too much and I could really do with a little education on this matter (YouTube here I come).
Danny's dislike of the rain has been noted before in these commentaries and I've come up with a cunning plan to see the club increase its funds, just instigate a swear box and Danny's contribution will swell the coffers to the extent that none of us ever need pay membership fees.
It was as Jim was being weighed-in that the angling equivalent of VAR (or hawkeye - choose your ball sport) came into play. Jim's weight was originally announced as 41lb 6oz, on a recount a pound hadn't been carried when adding the 2 nets and his total went to 42lb 6oz. This was a fine piece of fishing by Jim, His weight included 23lb of silvers and to take those at 16m takes dedication, determination and skill.
27 June 2021 3rd Aggregate - Grove pond
Overall this was a well attended, well fished match, the top weights were high, all fairly tightly grouped and there were no empty nets. There was an impressive 219lb of fish caught, with an average over 12lb per angler.
The winner on the day taking his 22 points was Jim Routledge, despite losing 2 carp from peg 22 he still landed 34lb 5oz of fish. 31lb 9 oz was enough to secure Stuart Harrop second place from peg 19, just half a pound behind was Daniel Brooks, fishing peg 15 he took a mainly bream catch of 31lb 1oz to the scales.
Honourable mentions go to Vicky Knowlson and Nathan Steele. Vicky was 4th with one ounce short of 24lb from peg 1, had she not lost 6 carp she'd have been standing proudly on the winner's podium, Nathan broke with tradition and took 14lb of silvers fishing shallow, had he started to come up in the water a couple of hours earlier the results table could have had a very different look to it.
If Vicky and Nathan get an honourable mention it is probably unfair of this reported to highlight Bob Steele propping up the results table with 6oz from peg 3.
It's a bit early to read much into the points table but for the record: Tony Brooker leads with 57 points from 3 matches, second is Steve Ferris on 52 and third Nathan Steele on 47. One to watch (as always) is Jim Routledge who hasn't dropped a point from his 2 matches fished so far.
13 June 2021 Committee Cup
Thanks to the tender ministrations of Thames Water the track to the pond is not useable.
This match will have to be rearranged.
Bless them and all those who manage our beloved water company.
30 May 2021 2nd Aggregate - Grove pond - Update
My undercover reporter has been kind enough to provide some additional details (or digging the dirt - your call!) on the goings-on at the pond during the match. Names have been changed to protect the guilty!. Roy Wolfe in peg 5 managed to lose his keepnet into the depths of the pond just a couple of minutes before the match started. Whilst the net retreival operation was going on Robert Irons, our venerable match secretary, spotted an opportunity and called "All-In", creating a mad rush back to swims to get fishing.
As the match progressed, our favourite Mercedes driver, Will Bailey, saw one of his pole sections roll gently into the pond, at which point Brainy Dooks rushed to his rescue desperately trying to catch the disappearing section in his landing net. Not one to ever be flustered (or lend a hand) Will carried on fishing as if nothing was happening - see - that's what a lifetime in management does to you. Will's section was eventually retrieved by Randy Dancer who claimed his 10% recovery fee, he's awaiting the cheque and thank-you card from Will.
Bob Wilko, who had drawn a platform peg at the north end of the pond decided in his wisdom to fish rod & line, against the advise of his caring fellow members. As it turned out this was sound advise, the floating "fluff" from tree seeds managed to clog his rod-rings resulting in more than one hooked carp being allowed the freedom to wrap itself around the supporting scaffolding poles and effect its escape.
30 May 2021 2nd Aggregate - Grove pond
Well, that confused me - and no mistake! I got the hand-written sheet for the match results from Bob and matched it up to our membership (the published results sheets work in the background from membership number) and I couldn't find an Elianna Harrop. Were my records wrong? Did we have a non-member fish a match? No, of course, Elianna married Stuart last week and her surname is now Harrop, nee Edwards. Our congratulations to the happy couple and we are delighted that they thought a honeymoon at Grove pond was better than the planned 2 weeks in the Carribean - sensible people!
Anyway, onto the results, Bob Alder took first place with an impressive 32lb 3oz from peg 10, Bob's catch consisted of just five fish (three carp and two bream). Bob "next-pegged" Tony Brooker in peg 9 by 15lb, Tony took second with 16lb 14oz, there followed 2 more 16lb bags, Stuart Harrop showed the disappointment of a cancelled Carribean holiday was no impediment to taking third place from peg 16 with 16lb 9oz and was 7oz clear of Steve Ferris.
With only 2 matches fished so far it's a little early to put much importance on the leader board but, just for the record, both Tony Brooker and Bob Alder are tied on 42 points (technically Bob has pride of place having more match wins than Tony).
19 anglers took at total of 176lb, there were no dry nets and the average was slightly up on the first aggregate at 9lb 4oz.
16 May 2021 1st Aggregate - Grove pond
At last, back to matches! This one, the first of the year, kicked-off according to the match calendar, covid didn't throw any unexpected hurdles in the way. Turnout was rather lower than was originally anticipated, 16 anglers fished and it's possible the forecast put some anglers off, however, the worst of the rain kept off until mid-afternoon. (Matt was on Ikea furniture-assembly duty).
The winner by a clear 8lb margin was Jim Routledge, he took 22lb 10oz from peg 17, runner-up was Tony Brooker who, on peg 18, got "next-pegged by Jim. Third was Bob Alder, just 6 oz behind Tony, with 14lb 3oz, from peg 5.
A total of 144lb 10oz was taken to the scales, there were no dry nets giving an average of 9lb per angler.
13 May 2021 Match Fishing count-down
Excitement is building to fever pitch as the first match for ages approaches. Some members have been down to the pond "pleasure fishing" but we know, we know (Billy, Nathan & Phil to name but 3).... it is actually practice for the big day on Sunday.
Such a day, and so many unanswered questions........
Will it rain and will Danny swear at the weather?
Will Vicky repeat her glorious triumph of last year and take the aggregate trophy?
Will Billy join the pools?
Will Matt get the best from his new top-of-the-range Daiwa pole?
And.....most importantly.....has he told Rachel how much it cost?
7 May 2021 Match Fishing count-down
Anticipation builds as the date ot the first match approaches. It could be a big turnout and even your humble correspondent, although no match fisher, is eagerly looking forwards to recommencement of the friendly rivalry because, if nothing else, it is yet another step on the way back to normality.
Bring it on!
8 April 2021 Match Fishing resumed
At long last......Hooray!......Yippe! etc. etc.Match fishing is back on!
There's a new match claendar with the match season kicking off on Sunday 16 May with the first aggregate at Grove pond.
I know the match venues are heavily weighted towards Grove pond (with only 3 that aren't on there) but with all the uncertainty about travel restrictions and fishery closures that could still yet be put back in place, it was felt easier to fish home waters, at least giving the club some measure of control.
See here for the match calendar
8 April 2021 Match Rules
Before fishing any match please make sure you are fully acquainted with the rules. There have been discontented rumblings in the last year or so, in particular about swim boundaries. The rules will be enforced this year so make sure you don't break any and get yourself disqualified.
See here for the rules