Just a single point separated three of the country’s top teams in the last round of the Warwickshire winter league on a frozen Coventry Canal.
It was the powerful Shakespeare Superteam side who took the eventual honours and booked themselves a ticket to the southern semi final on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Pewsey.
Consistency was definitely the winner on a day when half the side came back with top three in section, with 6th place their worse result, to total 37 points. Mick Hatchard put on a captain’s performance as well with sixth place overall.
Despite a fifth-round blow-out, which could have cost them dearly, the Shakespeare squad were fitting league champions after winning four of the six rounds. They must now fancy their chances after winning the semi final fixture when it was last held at Pewsey in 2006.
Making the long trip to the Monk Lakes semi final in Kent will be Manchester-based Drennan North West, who just pipped Fox Match Tipton to the post.
Individual honours on the day went to local lad Rob Mallabone (Atherstone), who drew in front of Canal Farm marina and used the unconventional canal tactics of a chopped worm feeder to snare three skimmers and a perch totalling 6-3-6.
Round 6 Teams
1st Shakespeare Superteam, 37 points
2nd Drennan North West, 44
3rd Sensas Dams & Lock, 45
4th Fox Match Tipton, 47
5th Atherstone, 58
Round 6 Individuals
1st Rob Mallabone (Atherstone) 6-3-6
2nd Simon Preece (WB Clarke VDE) 5-3-4
3rd Stuart Conroy (Drennan NW) 4-13-4
4th Ted Yearby (Sensas Dams & Locks) 4-12-4
5th Jon Arthur (Shakespeare) 4-6-14
6th Mick Hatchard (Shakespeare) 4-1-0
1st Shakespeare Superteam, 13 points
2nd Drennan North West, 14
3rd Fox Match Tipton VDE, 15
4th Browning Central, 29
5th= WB Clarke VDE, 30
5th= Sensas NW, 30
7th Sensas Dams & Lock, 40
8th Atherstone, 44
9th Team Eclipse, 47
10th Attleborough, 58
1st S.Faux Team Eclipse 17
2nd D.Massey Shakespeare 18
3rd R.Middleton Shakespeare 18
4th C.Smith Browning Central 18
5th R.Holt Sensas NW 19
6th M.Forster Sensas NW 21
7th L.Breeze Sensas NW 21
8th I.Moulton Drennan NW 22
9th D.Carter Fox Match Tipton 22
10th L.Woodhouse WB Clarke VDE 23
11th I Crossman Browning Central 24
12th M.Hodgetts Browning Central 24
13th R.Quinn Shakespeare 24
14th Stuart Conroy Drennan NW 24
15th R.Gardom Sensas NW 25
16th R.Guest Fox Match Tipton 25
17th D.Lewis Fox Match Tipton 25
18th M.Owen Fox Match Tipton 25
19th J.Arthur Shakespeare 26