SOME of the nations top teams were sensationally knocked-out of the three exciting Builder Center/NFA Team Knockout semi finals fished on Saturday (April 3, 2004). In the nail-baiting South-West event held at Stubpond Fishery near East Grinstead, competition favourites, Daiwa Dorking, failed to make the runner-up spot (and a guaranteed place in the Grand Final) by 50 grams! In the Midlands thriller at Lakeview Fishery, near Melton Mowbray, three top teams, Middy Matchmen, Starlets Sensas MAP ‘A’ and Starlets Sensas MAP ‘B’ all failed to make the top two and in the North-East stunner at Worsborough Reservoir near Barnsley, the classy Saints outfit, along with Elton Tackle, giant killers Warrington (Gold) and local favourites Thorne and District, all failed to qualify.


The popular £11,000 team knockout competition has been fished on weight in every round including the semi finals. “We did this to give the smaller clubs a chance in the early rounds, but the Grand Final will be fished on a points basis,” commented Mick Turner, the tournament director for the NFA. Two teams of five from each region qualified for the all expenses paid Grand Final at White Acres Holiday Park on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17/18/19. Thirteen teams of five (65 anglers) competed in each of the three regional semi-finals.


Mountsorrel, Leicestershire joiner, Tony Marshall, 34, led his Quorn Van Den Eynde (Gold) team to a stunning Midland Region victory at the in-form Lakeview Fishing Estate. Although he had not fished the ‘Oasis’ lake before Tony knew peg E13 was a hot peg. He beat 70 carp to 2lb offering pellet or maggot on a size 20 or 22 hook fishing at 12m in front or tight up to the right bank. “I had a really great first and last hour when I caught most of my fish,” said the Quorn skipper who celebrated his previous days birthday with a winning catch totalling 18.260kg.


Individual runner-up, Steve Conway, 34, from Lichfield, Staffs fished at peg E5 opposite the winner and he netted 36 carp and eight skimmer bream totalling 15.560kg. He used a 13-metre pole with a prototype pellet on a 20 hook and the Shimano Tipton Van Den Eynde member caught the bulk of his catch during the middle two hours when he assured his team of a place in the lucrative Grand Final.


Third placed Adam Wakelin, 22, from Mansfield, was involved in some mid-match drama when he broke his £1,000 pole. “I had caught the majority of my 13.120kg catch (30 carp) at peg E1 when my pole smashed. It cost my team, Middy Matchmen, a qualifying place. I would easily have caught enough fish to have earned us second place,” said the disappointed Mansfield ace.


Quorn VDE (Gold) recorded a total of 48.600kg from their five men which put them more than three kilos ahead of Shimano Tipton VDE who returned 45.260kg. Quorn skipper Tony Marshall said: “We are not at our best with this type of fishing but we spent the last two weeks practising and it paid off. This has been a fantastic competition and we can’t wait for the final.” Shimano Tipton VDE captain, Richard Noakes said; “We practised on the water four times and used a prototype pellet on the day. We have loved every minute of the competition and we fancy our chances in the Grand Final.”

NFA President Ken Ball attended the Midland Region final and commented: “It’s great to see the Team Knockout back. No other competition creates the friendly rivalry and nail biting like this one. Hopefully, we can get an earlier start to the next series and attract even more teams.”


Individuals: 1/ T. Marshall, Quorn VDE (Gold) 18.260kg: 2/ S. Conway, Shimano Tipton VDE 15.560;     3/ A. Wakelin, Middy Matchmen 13.120kg; 4/ M. Firmstone, Lincs County Chubbers 12.600kg; 5/ S. Ballard., Shimano Tipton VDE 11.460kg; 6/ D. Petch, Quorn VDE (Gold) 11.020kg.

Two qualifying teams: 1/ Quorn VDE (Gold) 48.600kg:  2/ Shimano Tipton VDE 45.260kg.


VENUE regular, Barry Upperton, (Meatbashers) claimed the top individual spot in the South-West Region clash at Stubpond Fisheries near East Grinstead, Surrey with an impressive 23.880kg taken on a difficult day from peg A4. This convincing catch guaranteed a shock victory for the Meatbashers team who returned a total of 45.920kg. Runner-up Tommy Hillier (Daiwa Dorking) netted 19.600kg to give his team of red hot favourites a glowing start but England golden boy, Will Raison, could only put 60 grams on the scales, and the team boasting three England Internationals finished third – missing the second qualifying place by 50 grams! Milton Keynes Sensas netted the second spot with 40.760kg to Daiwa Dorking’s 40.710kg.

Individuals: 1/ B. Upperton, Meatbashers 23.880kg;  2/ T. Hillier, Daiwa Dorking 19.600kg;  3/ T. Frost, Thames Angling Megabait 15.280kg;  4/ T. Rowe, ALS Van Den Eynde 14.280kg;  5/ D. Gladwin, DELCAC 14.140kg;  6/ P. Bardell, Milton Keynes Sensas 13.860kg.

Two qualifying teams: 1/ Meatbashers (Surrey) 45.920kg;  2/ Milton Keynes Sensas 40.760kg


ROY OXLEY (Edgley Sports Fossils) from Stockport was a convincing winner in the North-East Region encounter fished on a wind swept Worsborough Reservoir near Barnsley, with 8.750kg taken from peg E3 and his team snatched the runner-up spot with 15.170kg. The much fancied Elton Tackle, Thorne and District and the legendary Saints team, all failed to qualify in the harsh conditions, resulting in 13 dry nets. Darren Hall (Thorne and District AA) was the individual runner-up with 7.600kg from peg 12. Despite having one dry net, Derby Hot Rods claimed the top spot with 15.830kg.

Individuals: 1/ R. Oxley, Edgley Sports Fossils (Stockport) 8.750kg;  2/ D. Hall, Thorne & District AA, 7.600kg;  3/ G. Almond, Hull Works Sports Assoc. 6.720kg;  4/ D. Smith, Elton Tackle 5.500kg;  5/ R. Ball, Derby Hot Rods 5.260kg;  6/ M. McGough, Derby Hot Rods 5.250kgs.

Two qualifying teams: 1/ Derby Hot Rods 15.830kg;  2/ Edgley Sports Fossils 15.170kg.


Build Center Sales and Marketing manager, Stuart Evers, commented: “I am pleased to hear that the semi finals were successful and helped to create the bonding between the competitors that we encourage. Clearly there will be a lot of preparation before the Builder Center Grand Final next month and it is encouraging for us to know that this event is regarded in such high esteem by the anglers.”


The all-expenses paid Builder Center/NFA Team Knockout Final is being fished over two match days (Tuesday/Wednesday, May 18/19) with a practice day on Monday (17) at White Acres Holiday Park, Cornwall. The six qualifying teams of five (30 anglers) will compete for the three team prizes of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000. All 30 competitors, plus the 18 reserves, will receive a commemorative medal of the event.