Shakespeare’s Neil McKinnon is £6000 better off thanks to a weight countback in the prestigious Ultimate League final held at Hartlebury venue Moorlands Farm over the bank holiday weekend.

Eighty of the best match anglers in the Midlands had qualified for the £20,000 event through a season of hard graft in opens Moorlands and Nottinghamshire venue Hallcroft Fishery.

The final took the form of three matches over two days, with anglers fishing in sections of five and the match decided on the lowest section points.

For the first time in the event’s history, nobody scored a perfect three sections wins, but two local anglers scored four points with two wins and a second to put them in the frame for the top prize.

The match went to a weight countback, with Great Barr’s Lee Richards coming second to Gloucester rod Neil. Dick Clegg Lifestyle backed Lee totalled 166-3-0 to Neil’s 230-15-0, but was delighted with his £3700 pay day.

In third place was another Birmingham angler, Bartley Green’s Paul Cahill. Paul had been considered an outsider in the event, but fished brilliantly for weights of 19-0-0, 90-14-0 and 40-0-0 for a tasty £3000 cheque.

The striking thing about the Jack Purchase Holidays sponsored event is that the payouts are big right down the list, and although defending champion Grant Albutt was a little disappointed with his ninth place, the Halesowen rod still pocketed £800.

Bookies’ favourite Grant (pictured above) must have been fancying his chances after section wins on the first two matches, but he blew it with a third in section on the final match on the Silver Carp Pool, getting soundly beaten of the next peg to boot.

The venue itself fished quite patchily thanks to a cocktail of the carp starting to spawn and strong winds, but there were still three ton-up weights, two of them from low draws on Meadow.

There had been speculation that following the death of Jack Purchase earlier this year, this would be the last of the Ultimate finals. But Moorlands owner John Talbot confirmed to Total-Fishing that it will continue next year.

The format will be slightly different with two finals next June, one at each water, with £3000 to the winner of each. The Ultimate used to be free to enter, rewarding those who put the most into their open fishing on the two venues. But from this year there will be an entry fee of £80.

Result:

1 Neil McKinnon, 4 pts, 230-15-0; 2 Lee Richards, 4pts, 166-3-0; 3 Paul Cahill, 4pts, 149-14-0; 4 Nigel Shipman, 4pts, 135-1-0; 4 Steve Rothery, 5pts, 176-8-0; 6 Martin Leferve, 5pts, 163-8-0; 7 Craig Reed, 5pts, 159-14-0; 8 Andy Newton, 5pts, 156-14-0; 8 Grant Albutt, 5pts, 156-5-0; 10 Paul Hodgkinson, 5pts, 111-0-0.

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